Understanding Firing Mechanisms for Air Cannons in a Commercial Building

15 September 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Material flow problems are bound to occur in various installations in your commercial building. It could be in sinks, bathtubs, plumbing supply lines, gas lines or air conditioning systems. In such cases, you need a a way to deal with the blockage or at least reduce its impact before the technicians arrive. An air cannon is a reliable unblocking solution that you can try. They are connected to the vessel or equipment that needs to be unblocked using strategically located nozzles and pipes. The pipes and nozzles release a blast of energy in the direction of flow of the particular equipment that needs unblocking, blowing away the unwanted stuff. Here is a look at the firing mechanisms you can use for your air cannons:

Combustion Guns

Just as their name suggests, combustion guns rely on fire to initiate the blasting motion of the air toward the material blocking your pipework. They have a gas chamber filled with combustible gas such as propane, hair spray or a flammable aerosol that is ignited using a spark. Since the combustible gas is stored under pressure, it helps to add to the force needed to propel the jet air used to clear the blockage. This eliminates the need for a large storage tank, making these air cannons rather small. On the downside, they are not ideal for installation near places like a kitchen due to the elevated risk of a fire breakout.

Pneumatic Guns

Pneumatic guns are air cannons that generate their power from compressed air. They have an air tank or pump, which is filled with pressurised gas. The pressure is key to enabling them to generate the required force that blows away whatever is clogging your supply lines. When you release the trigger holding the gas in the tank or pump, the pressure fires the compressed air toward the blocking agents in the piping. The good thing with pneumatic guns is their quiet operation, which makes them suitable for using in places that need lots of calm such as offices and hospitals.


Hybrid air cannons combine the features of the combustion and pneumatic guns. They rely on the combustion of pressurised gases, a mechanism that allows an oxidiser and fuel to react in the storage chamber. The hybrid technique generates a lot of pressure, and they come in handy when dealing with large installations where pneumatic guns and combustion guns cannot meet your unblocking needs.