Pneumatics, DIN Ports, and Camozzi

I got introduced to pneumatics back in my freshman year and learned about them from fiddling with the cylinders lying around in the lab and learning from some seniors about what they did and how they worked. Last year I got my first cylinder from none other than Camozzi. I was checking out some local aerospace companies and I found out that they had struck a massive deal with a sister company of Camozzi Automation called Ingersoll to buy a large amount of tooling for making composite airframes. I saw this logo and I'm like hold up that’s too familiar. So I did some digging and found out that there is a group of companies that belong to the Camozzi group. The Camozzi group was founded in Italy in 1964 by the recently deceased founder Attilio Camozzi. It encompasses Camozzi Automation, Ingersoll, a textile company and several small manufacturing firms in Italy, Europe and America including a center for Camozzi Automation right here in Mckinney. Ingersoll is a pretty big deal in the composites machining industry, as they supply aerospace grade machining tools in addition to having developed the WHAM jointly with the ORNL (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), which was at one point the world’s largest 3d printer that prints in thermoplastic carbon fiber, which in itself is quite a feat, not to mention the absolute behemoth scale that they operate at. I imagine that although the CEO of Firefly Aerospace was tight lipped about the specifics, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say they were manufacturing their all carbon fiber airframe with this WHAM printer. So back to Camozzi, they supply automation tools including solenoids, pneumatics, lines, pretty much anything related to pneumatics and running pneumatic systems. Earlier last week I got my hands on the 25mm bore, 75mm stroke 145psi cylinder that they donated to our project and I was wiring it when I found something rather puzzling.

It was a plastic piece that was black and almost entirely encased and would mount to the prongs to which the wires would be connected to on the solenoids. This piece seemed just like a rather unique and unnecessary connector for a port I didn’t have access to, but it was actually something called a DIN port, which stands for some combination of 3 long german words that boil down to the Dutch Institute of Normung, which is the regulating body for engineering standards in Germany similar to how the ASTM standards apply for American engineers. This port turns out could be taken apart and inside there were some screw terminals to which one would attach wires. These wires would then power and control the solenoid. The function of the DIN port is to protect the electrical connections from oil or other corrosive environments and similar hazards.

Pneumatics in general is the field of air powered things, which normally consist, if we think of the equivalency of a basic motor circuit involving motor, battery and controller/potentiometer, the pneumatic equivalents of that would be air tank, battery, solenoid and cylinder. The air tank holds all of the air at the desired pressure which can be set system-wide and is selectively pushed to the cylinder which when the solenoid (the controller of the cylinder) gives the signal, the cylinder opens or actuates, most of the time this is just the cylinder extending to the specified stroke length. The battery provides power to the solenoid to give the electrical signal and can often be programmed or controlled via an arduino or a basic IC. Pneumatics are a lot of fun, it was certainly reassuring to be working with giants in the industry, I didn’t realize they were so huge. And then there’s Emerson but that’s a story for another time.