Pneumatics driving energy efficiency

New technology is driving evolution and technology advancement in the pneumatics industry. There is an untapped opportunity to utilize the growth of Industry 4.0 and use it to revolutionize pneumatics.

By Morgan Green September 19, 2022
Luca Pagni, Owner and CEO of Cy.Pag. S.p.A, discusses advancements, or lack thereof, in the pneumatics industry at IMTS 2022 held in Chicago. Courtesy: Morgan Green, CFE Media


Learning Objectives

  • The pneumatics industry has long been behind on technological advancements and efforts to reach and maintain energy efficiency goals.
  • Compressed air is not free, and drives up energy costs and usage.
  • Technological advancements can help companies reach their energy efficiency and carbon neutral goals.

Pneumatics Insights

  • The pneumatics industry is behind on technological advancements and efforts to reach and maintain energy efficiency goals.
  • Compressed air is not free and drives up energy costs and usage.
  • Pneumatic technology advances can help companies reach their energy efficiency and carbon neutral goals.

The pneumatics industry has been working on driving energy efficiency advancements forward. However, Luca Pagni, CEO and Owner of Cy.Pag. S.p.A, argued there is a significant lack of evolution in the pneumatics industry compared to other industries. While there have been some advances, Pagni has contributed to technology he hopes will continue to increase compliance with energy efficiency standards and practices.

Lack of evolution in the pneumatics industry

At a presentation titled, “Energy efficiency in pneumatics,” held at the IMTS 2022 conference in Chicago, Pagni discussed why he believes the pneumatics industry has faltered in terms of evolution. “From my view, the pneumatics industry has not evolved” since the 1960s, said Pagni.

There is plenty of room for technological advancement within the pneumatics industry, especially with the evolution of Industry 4.0 and the growing efforts to reduce and eliminate energy inefficiencies, according to Frost & Sullivan. “Energy-efficiency is a key end-user requirement, not only because of worldwide government crackdowns on industrial energy consumption, but also for reducing energy costs that represent a significant portion of operational costs in pneumatic systems.”

Despite the failure to keep up with other industries in terms of compliance, Pagni said, “Something is changing, there is increased awareness, costs are rising, and there is compliance.”

Knowledge and compliance in pneumatics

One detrimental factor to the pneumatic industry’s energy efficiency goals, according to Pagni, is the lack of knowledge surrounding the real costs of compressed air. “A lot of companies think compressed air is free, it’s not, the machines use a lot of energy,” Pagni said.

Compressed air accounts for 20 to 30% of energy costs in manufacturing. Some sectors, like those in Europe, don’t use compressed air at all, but others are still learning that compressed air is both a money and energy pit. Given the rising energy costs, this can cause problems for companies, but this has also motivated them to prioritize compliance within the pneumatics industry.

Compliance is motivated by rising costs, but the pressure to comply with standards is what is driving companies to comply more and more. With new ISO standards in development and funding being exclusively offered to companies with a positive sustainability rating, companies are being influenced to comply, which ultimately benefits energy efficiency and climate change efforts.

New technology on the horizon

Pagni, along with his team, have been working on their own projects in an effort to contribute to evolution and energy efficient goals in the pneumatics industry.

Inspired, in part, by Pagni’s decision to buy his daughter a Fiat 500 over a large truck, C.y.Pag. asked the question, “How do we make the pickup truck consume less air?” in hopes of mitigating costs of compressed air. Starting in 2018, C.y.Pag. began developing Optimisair, an air quality management system that optimizes air compression by reducing energy costs.

Pagni has seen a strong market interest, especially from companies who have carbon neutral goals and want to reduce compressed air consumption. However, companies expressed concern about being unable to determine if a machine is going to malfunction or break.

In response, C.y.Pag. created the “little brother” of Optimisair coined CYDEYECTOR, a small, attachable part that protects the anomaly of a cylinder. “It’s a simple way to predict, or prevent, failures, which is extremely important in the industry today,” Pagni said.

Pagni hopes these in-house developments will drive energy efficiency goals in the pneumatics industry forward and increase overall product lifetime value.

Morgan Green, associate editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology,


Keywords: pneumatic cylinders, compressed air


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Author Bio: Morgan Green, associate editor, CFE Media and Technology.