Why choose a Single Acting Actuator?

By Martin Lissenburg, Product Specialist

Wednesday 26 April 2017

What is a single acting actuator or cylinder and why choose one? This article introduces single acting cylinders and advises when you should select single acting over double acting.

As the name suggests a single acting actuator, also known as a single acting cylinder, uses air (pneumatic pressure) to drive the piston rod in one direction only; the return action is achieved using a spring.

So, there are two possible rest positions for the actuator:

  • Sprung In, where the piston is fully retracted at rest; and
  • Sprung Out, where the piston rod is fully extended at rest.

Why choose a single acting cylinder over a double acting cylinder?

There are four principle reasons why a single acting cylinder can be a more effective and/or efficient option:

  • Fail safe - where safety may be a critical consideration, the single acting cylinder has a defined rest position in the event of a power failure
  • Resets to a known position - the known rest position also makes for an easier reset sequence
  • Consumes less air - because air is used in one direction only, there is less consumption compared to a double acting actuator; this gives optimum efficiency and lower operating cost.
  • Easier to control - finally, control is relatively simple using a 3/2 way pneumatic valve; air flow from port 1 to port 2 extends (sprung in) or retracts (sprung out) the piston rod and exhausting air from port 2 to port 3 allows the spring to return the piston rod to its rest position.
Why choose IMI Norgren actuators?

We offer a very comprehensive range of single acting cylinders, with roundline, compact, clamping, profile and tie-rod variants, many carried in-stock.

All carry the high-performance specification you'd expect from an IMI Norgren product; magnetic piston and adjustable cushioning as standard or available, a 2-year warranty and ISO 6432, ISO 21287 and ISO 15552 options.

What accessories are available?

We have a wide range of accessories available to ensure a complete system build. A comprehensive set of mountings; a full range of fittings and tubing for connection; reed switches to give position sensing and switching and service kits to allow maintenance

More information

Find out more by viewing some of our single acting actuator ranges.

Find out more

Please enter your details below