What are air motors used for?

Although it sounds like an illusion initially, air motors are the basis of the internal combustion engine as we know it today and contribute to its operation. In the internal combustion engine, a spark initiates fuel combustion, causing an explosion in the cylinder that moves the pistons. In the air engine, the expansion of compressed air propels the piston engines, initiating movement in the piston. Subsequently, the connecting rod and the crankshaft are set into motion.

Transport vehicles (cars, buses, trains, boats, etc.) equipped with these engines use a combination of atmospheric and pressurized air distributed in cylinders, similar to natural gas or hydrogen, as fuel. The combined atmospheric and pressurized air offer the advantage of being an innocuous gas without danger of explosion or contamination.  

Concerning emissions from this engine, they transform air cleaner than the surrounding atmosphere. The prevention of environmental harm is of utmost importance. Therefore, the initial intake phase must go through a filtering system to ensure the desired outcome.

Air motor at a glance 

Air motor, otherwise known as pneumatic motors, use pressurized air to generate power. Designing air motor for durability, reliability, and lightweight construction ensures they provide significant torque output with minimal maintenance requirements. They are devices that convert compressed air into mechanical motion.   

Air motors typically consist of a cylinder and a piston, which move back and forth inside the cylinder.

Introducing compressed air into the cylinder propels the piston, initiating its movement and generating mechanical motion. This resultant motion finds utility in driving various machinery, including conveyor belts, robotic arms, and diverse equipment.

What are the advantages of using air motor

One of the critical advantages of air motors is that they can operate in environments where other engines may not be suitable. For example, you can use an air motor in hazardous or explosive environments where the presence of flammable gases or combustible materials may pose a risk to other engines. 

Another advantage of air motors is their ability to operate in a wide range of temperatures. Unlike electric motors, which can overheat and fail under extreme temperatures, they can maintain their performance even in very cold or hot environments. 

Air motors are also known for their high torque output. This makes them well-suited for applications that require high levels of force or power, such as heavy machinery or industrial equipment. 

One of the major uses of air motors is in manufacturing and industrial applications.  

Air motors also find applications in high-performance vehicles, including race cars and motorcycles. They power the engine or drivetrain in these applications, providing power and performance. 

Power tools like drills, saws, grinders, and other equipment often employ air motors to supply the necessary rotational force for their operation.

Power tools equipped with an air motor require connection to a compressed air source. The air motor receives compressed air through a hose or another air supply line.

An air motor is what you need to convert compressed air into mechanical movement. The mechanical movement is then transmitted to your tool through gears or other mechanical parts. This provides the rotational force needed to power the tool and perform your desired task.

One advantage of air motors in power tools is that they provide a high torque output with minimal maintenance requirements. This makes them well-suited for applications that require a lot of force or power, such as drilling through tough materials or cutting through thick objects. Air motors find useful applications in the following:

  • Operating conveyor systems and pumps in manufacturing and industrial settings 
  • Providing power for engine and drivetrain systems in high-performance vehicles  
  • Operating valve actuators in industrial and manufacturing processes 
  • Providing power for hoists and other lifting equipment in construction and heavy machinery 
  • Operating blowers and fans in HVAC systems 
  • Providing power for air compressors and other pneumatic equipment 


Air motors are also used in the construction industry. They are commonly found on jackhammers, drills, and other tools requiring high torque. In addition to providing power, air motors produce minimal vibration, making them ideal for precision tasks. 

The transportation industry extensively employs air motors, commonly installing them in buses and trains for powering doors and related equipment. Additionally, air motors play a role in forklifts and various material-handling machinery.

Apart from their industrial applications, air motors also feature prominently in a range of consumer products. They are prevalent in air-powered toys like cars and planes, as well as in air-powered tools such as screwdrivers and impact wrenches.

Overall, air motors are a versatile and reliable source of power for a wide variety of applications. They can operate in hazardous environments and provide a high level of torque, making them an essential component in many industries. 

Air motors serve as secure and robust drive systems, applied in scenarios requiring potent and overload-resistant propulsion. They find particular utility in situations where conventional drive technology proves inadequate.

Depending on the application, air motors must be oil-free, sealed, and impervious to cleaning solvents, especially for the food industry. Medical engines must be sterilizable, and they for specialized applications, such as our drain and mill robot and ATEX-compliant total systems, including air motor, brakes, and gears, are ready for use in explosion-hazardous environments. 

We select the most economical and safest drive solution that best suits your application, regardless of whether the answer is an air motor from our catalog program or a complex custom system. 

Finally, from the above discussion, you should know that air motors are used because they offer several key advantages over other motors. They can operate in environments where other motors may not be suitable, maintain their performance in a wide range of temperatures, and provide a high torque output with minimal maintenance requirements. Additionally, air motors are relatively lightweight, durable, reliable, often less expensive to purchase, and operate better than other motors. These advantages make it an essential tool for many industrial and manufacturing applications and for powering some high-performance vehicles. 

If you have questions or need more information, please reach out to us.