MRO Magazine

Focus on Linear Motion: Applications Broaden for Rodless Cylinders

While its name is a bit confusing, when it comes to applications, there's no underestimating how much rodless cylinder technology is helping those in the automotive assembly, packaging, food productio...

November 1, 2003 | By MRO Magazine

While its name is a bit confusing, when it comes to applications, there’s no underestimating how much rodless cylinder technology is helping those in the automotive assembly, packaging, food production, pharmaceutical, bottling and electronics industries, especially this past year, says Howard Simmons, president, Harold Simmons Industrials Ltd., Toronto.

“Rodless cylinder technology has been available for over two decades, but we are now seeing increased growth and new niche markets developing as more industries discover how this technology can help them,” says Simmons.

His company specializes in material dispensing and automated lubrication systems, fluid-handling equipment, air operated pumps and pneumatic components, and is the Canadian distributor for Hoerbiger-Origa Corp. of Filderstadt, Germany, a manufacturer of rodless cylinder technology.

Hoerbiger-Origa is a division of the automation technology business sector of the Hoerbiger Group of Companies, which has over 70 individual and operating plants worldwide, more than 500 employees in 13 countries, and distributors in 35 countries.


A rodless cylinder can be described as a self-contained linear actuator, or system, that uses compressed air. It mounts in any position and provides controlled, precise movements with integral support and guidance. “Rodless cylinders are also very space efficient,” says Simmons.

“When it comes to linear motion manufacturing, demand for rodless cylinder technology has increased in the Canadian market by 65 per cent compared to the same period last year,” he says. “We’re receiving more inquiries, especially from people in automotive, food production, bottling and pharmaceutical companies, who are concerned about cleanliness and contamination from lubricants.”

To complement this technology, Hoerbiger-Origa has developed a sensing device to detect obstructions during equipment use, as well as a wide range of specialty products. “Calls from production people usually relate to reliability and their concern for minimal component maintenance to avoid production downtime. Rodless cylinder technology is becoming the main choice for these applications,” says Simmons.

“We’re also seeing more interest from companies who operate paper mills, ceramics and spray booths where space is a premium. To meet requirements for greater flexibility in continuous processing and manufacturing, rodless cylinder technology is evolving into a complete package, including valves, accessories and controls.”

The benefits of rodless cylinder technology include:

Cost effective and practical in many different applications

Self-guiding (no expensive external guides are required)

Inherently rigid (can become part of the structure)

Accepts cantilever loads (lifts on a vertical axis)

Available in any stroke length (moves inches, up to 120 ft)

Equal speed and force in either direction (better control and more efficient operation)

Offers up to 50 per cent space savings (able to work in tight spaces)

Wide range of specialty products available to support rodless cylinder technology

Attractive option for linear motion systems

Clean lines and compact design of rodless cylinders enhance appearance of system

More modular in nature and self-contained than alternatives.

For more information, visit www.haroldsimmonsindustrials or call 416-745-5020.


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