How to Choose a Quality Linear Actuator

As technology advances, quality linear actuators are more and more necessary to keep equipment doing the job it’s supposed to be doing. While it is true that most linear actuators are made with the same motor – a twelve volt – possibly as means of making it easier to replace the equipment when it becomes necessary, in reality the job done by any equipment is done best when the linear actuator which is incorporated into it is one which is the type for the task at hand. Anybody who is trying to buy a linear actuator will be given a huge variety to choose from, and (particularly if this is the first time buying), will need to select their specific quality electric linear actuator from the list. Anybody who is buying an actuator for a specific task needs to make sure that they don’t get bogged down in all the choices, so that they can be sure they are making the right choice.

This may seem self-explanatory, but it is the best policy to choose an actuator which suits your equipment, and the purpose you want it to serve. Break the process down into two steps: first, choose the type of actuator which would be most likely to fit with the existing equipment, and ignore the rest of the actuators on offer. A linear actuator for a vacuum cleaner will look vastly different from one which will be used in large-scale industrial applications, after all.

Once you have narrowed down the field which would be suited to your task, then it is time to get into the more technical details of the actuators, such as the force (determined by how much weight the equipment will need to bear), speed requirements (again, quite self-explanatory – how fast the equipment will need to run), stroke length (how much the actuator can move – smaller actuators will be able to move less, and will be more suited to smaller spaces, while bigger ones allow for a wider range of movement), and more.

An important point to remember when choosing quality linear actuator is this: what kind of power supply will you be using? Not only do you have to choose between AC and DC, but also whether the actuator will be connected to a power source or not.

Basic Specifications of Quality Linear Actuators

When in the process of buying new or replacing old linear actuators, it is best to go as in-depth as possible with your specifications. Any reputable firm which sells this equipment will be willing to listen to your specifications and help you to find linear actuators which are closer to what you need. At this stage in the process, keep things basic, try to be as close to your goal as possible. Remember that, even if the company itself does not offer a linear actuator which meets your needs, they can most likely build it for you.

  • Force – how much force does your linear actuator need? Remember that the more force an actuator has, the more weight it can take.
  • Direction – what direction does your actuator need to move in? Up or down, left or right, that will determine how the gears move within the equipment.
  • Distance – how far does the actuator need to move? This will determine both how big the actuator will need to be, or how small, depending on whether or not space is cramped, and whether or not a limit switch will be needed (see below). Remember that the length is usually expressed in millimeters.
  • Speed – how quickly does the actuator need to move? This will be dependent on how quickly the task needs to be carried out – an assembly line will need to be quicker than, for example, a TV lift.
  • Life cycle – how long do you want the equipment to last? If the tasks being done are prolonged and involve a lot of stress, then perhaps a linear actuator which is more hardwearing should be your goal.
  • Environment – Are there any environmental problems to consider when getting an actuator? Consider getting one which is either dustproof or waterproof.
  • Space – what kind of space is the actuator going to be in? Will there be enough room for it to move, or will the specifications need to be changed on certain equipment?
  • Power – how is the power going to be supplied to the actuator? Is the actuator AC or DC? Will there be a battery installed, or will it be connected to an outside power source?

Quality Electric Actuators Should Meet the Needs of your Project

Briefly, a linear actuator is a piece of equipment which uses an external energy source as the means to produce linear motion. It does not matter where this electricity comes from, so long as it is compatible with the overall voltage of the equipment itself (either AC or DC), so this electricity can be generated through hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanics, or electricity itself.

Linear actuators can be and are used in many different types of equipment, in many industries. There are many different types of good quality actuators specifically because of this wide use across industries, and while the proliferation of speeds, sizes, voltages, strokes, and more, can be incredibly useful in detailing the level of control and level of accuracy which would be needed in any of the various industries of agriculture and medicine, among others, the sheer number of actuators which this creates can be confusing. Different industries will have different requirements for suitable electric linear actuators:

  • Home applications – generally classic, mini and high-speed linear actuators are used here, as the tasks they are required for are smaller and less stressful than in other industries.
  • Medical use – this line of work would be more likely to use industrial linear actuators since the work they are used for would involve a lot of weight on a daily basis.
  • Industrial use – again, heavy duty actuators would be in use here, with there also being an emphasis on precision and control, as the tasks will be repetitive and prolonged, and will need to be accurate at all times.

Features of High Quality Electric Actuators

A truly quality electric linear actuator is one which has a number of features, yes, but it is also something which includes the finest materials, and is built with the assumption that people who buy the equipment to use it are expecting better things from the equipment than from other linear actuators.

  • It should be quiet – fortunately, electric actuators are quieter than their counterparts, as they do not rely on forms of power which are themselves quite noisy, and also should be built to operate as smoothly as possible.
  • It should have a limit switch – a limit switch is used with all types of actuators as a means of limiting the movement which is possible along the linear motion.
  • Be made of aluminium – being made of this material allows the actuator to be lightweight without sacrificing much in the way of strength.
  • Have a positioner – a positioner is a piece of equipment used with actuators to turn a signal into a valve position.
  • Have options for control boxes – a control box is useful because it allows for remote control of the actuator
  • Have options for the control box to be attached to the actuator – while having a remote control is useful, being able to attach both pieces of equipment together will be useful for many reasons.
  • Micro-switch – the use of this switch allows for finer control over the movement of the spindle
  • Have options for controlling the speed – this works by controlling the voltage which is supplied to the motor, allowing for it to speed up or slow down as needed.
  • It should be built to be smooth – smooth functioning will allow it to keep working for longer, as there will be less friction between the components.
  • There should be options for customization – actuators are at their best when they can be customized, allowing for different tasks to be fulfilled without the need for an entirely new actuator to be purchased.

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