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The Benefits of Instron's Side-Acting Pneumatic Grips 

Instron owners often come to us with questions about how to improve their productivity, replace their old equipment, or change their testing application. Our recommendation in many of these cases is often the same: replace your existing grips with Instron's side-acting pneumatic grips. Why should you consider a pneumatic side-acting grip, and what sets Instron's products apart from those of other manufacturers? We believe that our pneumatic grips offer optimum versatility, repeatability, productivity, reliability, and ease of use. As with all of our other products, Instron pneumatic grips are backed by our commitment to continuous improvement, research and development, and global support.

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Suitable for Many Applications

Instron's 2712 series pneumatic grips are designed to be flexible enough to use across a wide variety of applications. They are intended to test materials requiring up to 10kN of force, with low force models in 250 N and 50 N capacities and mid-range models in 1, 2, 5, and 10 kN capacities. We also offer pneumatic solutions for those testing in extreme hot and cold temperature environments.

A major benefit of Instron's pneumatic side-action grips is their quick-change jaw face feature. Because different specimens and materials require different jaw face surfaces, labs that use their test systems for a variety of different applications can greatly benefit from being able to quickly and simply change out their jaw faces between tests. This versatility allows our pneumatic side-acting grips to test elastomers, soft and rigid polymers, metals, composites, films, foils, paper, textiles, components, and finished products across all industries. To cope with this vast array of materials, jaw face surfaces are available as smooth, rubber, serrated, wavy, brake lining, line contacting, and vee serrated. 

Possibly the greatest benefit to side-action pneumatic grips is their adjustable gripping force designed to accommodate many different material types and minimize the risk of failure where the jaw faces and specimen meet. Once this force is set to suit the material being tested, the gripping pressure remains consistent and repeatable for each of the subsequent tests. Whereas the pressure of side-acting manual grips will decrease as a specimen elongates axially and reduces in thickness, pneumatic grips continually adjust during testing to maintain a consistent gripping pressure. This feature, coupled with good specimen preparation and alignment, can reduce scatter in the results.

Instron has recently added a 2 kN and 10 kN side acting pneumatic grip suitable for use inside an Instron environmental chamber. The adjustable pressure feature of these grips allows for adjustment when testing materials at different temperatures. Many engineering materials behave differently at different temperatures, and with pneumatic grips and the appropriate jaw faces, gripping pressure can be easily changed or adjusted to suit the temperature at which the test is being performed.

10 kN Model | 2712-046
5 kN Model | 2712-045


Productivity is critical for many testing labs, and efficient test systems can free up operators to focus on other value-added tasks. In quality control environments, testing machines need to be able to keep up with the pace of production. Instron has many ways to increase the speed of your testing cycle, including automatic extensometers, quick change or piggyback load cell adapters, Bluehill Universal software, and the Operator Dashboard. The 2712 Series pneumatic side-action grips also include many features to improve productivity, including the following:

  • Quick-change jaw faces save time when moving from one type of material to another
  • Specimen alignment device enables quicker and easier specimen insertion and removes the need to eyeball alignment
  • Notched jaw face guards for aligning wires, strings, yarns, small tubes, and other similar specimens
  • Enclosed mechanism reduces requirement for maintenance when compared with Instron Legacy grips
  • Quick release rotatable air hose makes it simple to disconnect and reconnect the air supply
  • Jaw face shield has alignment gradations for flat specimens and a notch for wires
  • Adjustable airflow allows users to change the opening and closing speed of the jaw faces
  • Adjustable Opening is a feature that reduces the risk of finger pinch incidents by allowing the user to close the jaw face opening to be as close to specimen thickness as possible
  • Large throat size allows specimens to be inserted quicker and more easily than in previous generations


While Instron grips last for decades, sooner or later all lab equipment needs to be upgraded or replaced. This is true for grips as well as test system frames: anybody using older Instron grips that look like this should be aware that these older style pneumatic grips are in Phase 4 of our product life cycle, and now is the time to make plans for their replacement. Our newest generation of 2712 Series grips feature many benefits that their predecessors did not, including:

  • Quick change jaw faces
  • Adjustable hose run
  • Safety shield
  • Specimen alignment
  • Enclosed mechanism
  • Ergonomic lock nut
  • Ability to reduce initial jaw face opening
  • Specimen holding device allows users to remove their hands from the test space prior to closing the grips
  • 5 and 10 kN models have jaw faces that can be offset, making them suitable for lap shear testing.
  • The new grips can often use your existing air-kit

The Future of Pneumatic Grips

As part of Instron's continuous improvement plan, our latest Instron single column and table model test systems feature Smart-Close air kits. The Smart-Close system allows pneumatic grips to maintain a safe gripping pressure during test setup and only enables their full gripping pressure once testing has begun. The Smart-Close system includes the following features:

  • Test pressure is saved within the test method, increasing repeatability by ensuring gripping pressure is consistent for each test. 
  • Grip closure can be activated using the ergonomic IP-65 rated dual pedal footswitch
  • Gripping force can be linked to different specimens, which allows the clamping force to automatically change depending on the specimen being used
  • When setting up for a test, the pneumatic pressure and closing speed is limited to minimize pinch hazards. Full test pressure is activated by the Virtual Interlock after specimens are safely inserted into the grips
  • The air kit is fully integrated into the system’s emergency stop, ensuring that the grips will release when the E-stop is engaged
6800 series