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Work cylinders with which compressed air is used to perform work are called pneumatic cylinders. In their cylindrical interior, potential energy is converted to mechanical work by means of compressed air which moves a piston whose head exactly fits the cylinder back and forth. Depending on whether the cylinder admits compressed air on one or both sides, the is a rough distinction between one-sided and two-sided cylinders. Because air, unlike the liquid in hydraulic cylinders, is compressible, their is a limit to positioning precision. On the other hand, cylinders are capable of generating a great deal of power relative to their stroke. Cylinders find a wide range of uses that encompasses work processes such as pivoting, ejecting, lifting, lowering, punching, pressing, or opening a hatch.

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