What brand of pneumatics do you use?

In the past we have used SMC. However last your we had some problems at competition and it seemed nobody else used them. So i am just wondering what is popular among other teams.

EDIT: We did not have problems with the SMC parts themselves. We did not stock spare parts properly and when we broke one of the solenoids by striping out one of the screw we couldn’t find any teams that had any spare parts at competition. The reason for this thread is to find what other teams are using so that we can use what other teams are using for better support at competition.

Personally I have never had much of an issue using Bimba products.

Bimba/Pneumadyne.

Have not had any issues thus far.

We used mainly Bimba for cylinders, because they’re more readily available (produced stateside), and offer more customization options. You can configure a cylinder on their site, and have a CAD model ready to test instantly.

We used to use FESTO, but have swapped over to Humphrey for solenoids, as their balanced series switch faster, and have better flow in a smaller package.

For fittings, we had a mix of SMC/Parker, which were swapped over to Norgren (Norgren has the inside of the fitting hex broached, so you can tighten them with an allen wrench, a lifesaver in tight spaces)

Through FRC, I now work for a fluidics (Hydraulic and pneumatic) distributor. If you have any questions, or are looking for a certain part, I’d be happy to help

Plus, they donate a voucher for two free cylinders. Can’t go wrong supporting a company that gives back!

We use cylinders from Automation Direct (forgot the exact brand) because they’re cheaper than Bimba, who we used to use. We still use Bimba for CAD models and oddball sizes, but stick to AD for most everything else.

EDIT: Apparently they are NITRA brand.

SMC, Festo, Automation Direct, at least one other which Andymark sells. Pretty much it depends on what we need in a given year.

What problems did you have?

I am surprised you had problems with SMC. They make good stuff. We use mostly Automation Direct. Nitra is their house brand not an actual MFR. AD has good customer service, good prices, and fast shipping (free for orders over $49).

We did not have problems with the SMC parts themselves. We did not stock spare parts properly and when we broke one of the solenoids by striping out one of the screw we couldn’t find any teams that had any spare parts at competition. The reason for this thread is to find what other teams are using so that we can use what other teams are using for better support at competition.

We also use many Bimba products

We use Clippard pneumatics - exclusively. Extensive parts catalog, quick orders. Of course, they’re one of our team sponsors and hire many of our students.

Clippard, Bimba and Baccara (a local manufacturer).

Bimba cylinders, Festo solenoids, Clippard tanks, McMaster tubing. Kinda just the standard stuff that comes in the kit, with the occasional order from McMaster or Bimba for custom stuff.
Fun fact, a few years back, one of our mentors ordered like a 3" bore 36" stroke cylinder to test the limits of what Bimba can make.

If you’re using really really standard sizes (e.g. recommended cylinder for a COTS shifter or butterfly module), you might find a spare, but even coming off the Bimba voucher, there are several dozen combinations of stroke and diameter, so it is unlikely that anyone will have a match on hand. if you’re using a cylinder that isn’t on the voucher or recommended for a COTS subsystem, it’s a long shot in the dark. We build “twin” robots to have one for practice and tweaking, and if nothing else, we always bring the pneumatic cylinders from the practice robot, and usually the compressor, solenoid valves, and other COTS parts.

We use mostly Bimba as well; their online CAD generator is great! Even though we didn’t CAD our launcher last year, we were able to use the CAD to build a model of the cylinder we used to stretch the springs, so we were able to build the rest of the launcher to fit. This was essential, as our cylinders last year did not arrive until after stop build. These were custom cylinders ordered around mid-build season.

I have, sitting at my desk right now, a 30" stroke, 3" bore reverse acting cylinder. It’s spring extend, and air pressure to retract, and could be used as a jousting lance.