7 reasons for using pneumatic solutions in the transportation industry

14 décembre 2017

Motor applications

Pneumatic motors are used in many industrial applications for various reasons linked to their compact size, operating characteristics, resistance to high torques, compatibility with explosive atmospheres, etc.… But if there is one industrial sector where the use of a pneumatic motor presents many advantages, it is the transportation industry, be it for tarp systems, landing legs, opening of hopper trailers or other uses. These solutions are more and more implemented on trailers, railroad freight cars and agricultural vehicles.

Drivers and operators are required to perform many checks and manipulations between each move and delivery.  Whether they relate to hitching, tarping or untarping a trailer, these actions can be repetitive and tiring and constitute “idle time” during which the load is not moving while the driver gets tired.  They are nevertheless essential to people and material safety, starting with the driver.  A good way to reduce idle time and to improve drivers working conditions is to install motorized assistance to perform these tasks.

The most common motorization solutions are electric or pneumatic.  Electrical solutions quickly show their limits given the particularly difficult environment in which they must operate.

  • Risk of overheating and therefore risk of fire during repetitive operations (many start / stop cycles) or operations in which the motor can face high torques (risk of motor stall if stones block the system, for example).
  • Excessive weight since an electric motor is heavy (it is primarily copper!) and always oversized relative to the work required (to reduce the risks described above). Not to mention the battery required for these motors. Heavier weight means more fuel consumption.
  • More fuel consumption is also required to recharge the battery.


Here are 7 reasons why one should use air solutions in the transportation industry:

1. Reason #1

On a truck, a freight car or a trailer, compressed air is available.  It is not necessary to add an electrical network to run the motor.

2. Reason #2

Air motors are easy to use and do not present any risk for the driver during operation.  In the event of a malfunction it is easy to determine the cause of the problem and often resolving it does not require any particular qualification or certification.

3. Reason #3 

For a given power, air motors are 5 times lighter and smaller than electric motors, and do not require a battery.  In an industry where energy costs dominate the operating costs, weight is a strong argument!

4. Reason #4 

One can use portable pneumatic tools that will avoid the need for stationary motorization of all trailers or freight cars and carry multiple functions (landing legs operation, tarping).

5. Reason #5 

No risk of sparks on the cable harness, no faulty connection, no risk of overheating due to a blockage and therefore no risk of electrical tripping… In short! The risk of fire is eliminated! The implementation and use of air motors eliminates these risks and makes the system more reliable.

6. Reason #6 

Air motors can run as long as required without risk of damage or overheating.  Thus it is not necessary to put in place time limit switches or overcurrent detection systems.  Again implementation is simplified.

7. Reason #7 

Robust and simple by design, air motors are resistant to outdoor harsh environments. Water splashes, extreme temperatures or corrosive products used for road maintenance or trailers washing don’t impair the functioning of a well-designed pneumatic motor.  Maintenance is minimal and inexpensive.

It is clear that the advantages linked to the use of a compressed air motor in the transportation industry are many, be it in the areas of security, reliability or cost.

In addition, they can be easily installed instead of and in the place of existing manual or motorized systems.


Bruno Martin
Bruno Martin

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