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How to select the right air motor

November 23, 2021

Expert Corner Air Motors

The benefits of air motors are well known to OEMs and machine builders, as they provide simple and reliable power. They are compact but powerful, tough yet versatile, and safe to use in hazardous environments. But with over 100 to choose from, it can sometimes be a challenge to know which air motor is best suited to your application and will provide you with the most efficient operation. 

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Selecting the most appropriate air motor can typically be a time-intensive manual process as you need to calculate the power required, plot the power curve, and figure out where the working point is. Historically this can take up to approximately an hour. Additionally, the time to set up the air motor correctly and to reach a good working point can take between one and two hours.

So, where is the best place to start when it comes to choosing an air motor and how can you select the right one quickly? Here are our top tips.

Initially, it helps to look at the specific requirements of your application – what does the motor need to do, and what are the operating conditions?

1. What torque, speed, or power are needed?

Do you know the operating torque, starting torque, or stall torque necessary, or are you aware of the operating speed or free speed? Does the application require a consistent motor speed? Simply knowing two out of the three parameters, means the third can be calculated. And you can make calculations even more precise if you can specify the type of torque or speed.

2. What shaft type do you need?

There are various options to choose between including keyed shaft, threaded, hexagonal, or square depending on the application.

3. Consider the environment

If the application is in the food or chemical industry where hygiene and cleanliness are critical, with no risk of contamination, you will need a stainless-steel version. Or if the application is in a hostile environment, you may need an ATEX-certified air motor. Our air motors are ATEX certified for use in zone 2 hazardous areas since they generate no heat and there is no risk of sparks.

4. Which direction is the rotation?

The rotation of direction will either be clockwise or reversible.

5. Use an online selector to give you the best option

Our online selector can help drastically reduce the time taken to choose the right motor. Our selector is simple and straightforward to use and makes the working point on the curve easily understandable. Furthermore, using the selector eliminates the need for manual calculations and the associated risk of human error. In just three quick steps, taking only a couple of minutes, you know which motor is right for your application – enabling you to operate most efficiently. By simply entering a few details online, such as torque, power or speed, shaft type, and body material, the selector automatically analyses which motors are most suitable, and recommends one to fully meet your requirements. It also makes recommendations on how the air motor can be optimized. In addition, the selector suggests a variety of accessories such as mounting flanges, silencers, and chucks, to best help with the application. Moreover, it provides graphs showing different specifications and the performance of each air motor. Not only does this mean that you can save time and money when selecting and during set-up, but you will also save on energy and associated costs in the running of your machine since the motor will be perfectly sized.

A vast range of air motors

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At Chicago Pneumatic we have nine models of motors in our air motor range providing power from 0.16 kW (0.21HP) to 1.8 kW (2.45HP), maximum output torques of up to 299 Nm (221 ft. lbs.), and speeds of up to 21,500 rpm. We want to make it as quick and easy as possible for you to specify the right equipment for the job so you can remain focused on your expertise.
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Select the right air motor

Visit the online selector or get in touch with our experts if you'd like more information on how to properly select the right air motor.

Visit the online selector

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