Today pneumatic drives are widely used to perform various motion tasks. They distinguish themselves through low purchase price and robust design, but show high energy consumption in comparison with electric drives. Existing energy saving measures lead to the reduction of energy consumption, but at the same time they cause the increase of the life cycle costs. All in all, the selection of pneumatic drives has to be done regarding their functionality, efficiency and costs. In this paper the novel Exonomy approach is presented for the selection of the most cost-effective pneumatic drive solution. Developed analysis enables 3 steps. First step includes the new approach for the sizing of pneumatic cylinders based on exergy-energy balance. The term Sizing Factor (SF) is introduced to perform the grade of over sizing of the actuator due to the loss occurred in the system. The second step provides the information about energy consumption. The last step enables the information about life cycle costs of the system and gains the data about amortization time based on Life Cycle Costs (LCC). In the current study all steps of Exonomy analysis has been applied to the vertical as well as to the horizontal pneumatic drives. This study has identified SF for various loading mass and velocities, typical for handling machines. The simulation models were validated with the help of the measurement results. Summarizing, a new formula is proposed to choose the design parameters of the drive. And finally, the quid-line is presented to choose the most cost-effective drive solution.

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