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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Select the right Actuator
2.1.
Speed
2.2.
Force/Torque 
2.3.
Duty cycle
2.4.
Load 
2.5.
Environment 
2.6.
Stroke length 
2.7.
Mounting Style
3.
FAQs 
3.1.
What are the advantages of using a Pneumatic actuator?
3.2.
What are the advantages of using an electric actuator?
4.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Choose the right Actuator

Author Yashesvinee V
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Introduction

Industries use various types of actuators for different purposes. No machine equipment can function without an actuator, which is why its presence is very much necessary in automation. Every project requires a specific type of actuator based on the project’s design and work. Actuators need to be chosen based on the task they are required to perform. Thus, choosing the right actuator for the right machine is an important task. One must take into consideration the strokes, forces, leverage etc in order to get it select the right one for a particular task. 

Select the right Actuator

In general, there are 5 main factors to consider when choosing an appropriate actuator.

Speed

It is important to define the speed at which the actuator needs to perform to see if it works well with the machine. For a linear actuator, the speed is calculated as distance per second. Pneumatic actuators are known for their speed. Devices that require fast and rapid movements can use Pneumatic actuators. Motors are a prime example where high-speed actuators are required.

Force/Torque 

It is extremely important to determine the force required to perform a particular movement. Torque rating helps determine the type of applications in which a specific actuator can be used. For example, if an actuator has insufficient torque to turn a valve, the valve may not open or can get stuck mid-stroke. Thus, torque rating entirely depends on the type of work the machine is set to do. Hydraulic and electric actuators are capable of producing movements with high torque.

Duty cycle

The duty cycle refers to a machine’s on-time and off-time. This varies from one device to another. For example, actuators can overheat or break down unexpectedly, thus consuming time to cool down and restart. The duty cycle is set to a limit to prevent overheating issues that may eventually cause damage to other components. A load of an actuator and its duty cycle are inversely proportional. This means that the duty cycle increases if load or speed is reduced.

Load 

The primary function of an actuator is to move the load. Determining the amount of force that an actuator is expected to produce is essential. Heavy loads require more power and force. The size and weight of the load and the direction of moving the load are a few things to be considered before choosing an actuator.

Environment 

The environment in which the actuator functions is also important. For instance, electric actuators can easily trigger explosions and are avoided in areas next to flammable substances. They can be replaced by hydraulic or pneumatic actuators.

Stroke length 

Stroke length refers to how far the linear actuator moves in a direction. It is equal to the total length of the actuator when extended minus the total length of the actuator when retracted. The dimensions of an actuator determine the stroke length.

Mounting Style

Mounting plays a vital role in setting the proper configuration for the actuator in the final design. Most actuators are mounted at the arm end or the end of a motor. Saddle clamps can be positioned anywhere along the length of the actuator tube to make them ideal for adapting to most mounts. This helps create a shorter minimum arm length, thus providing a sturdier choice for high force applications.

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FAQs 

What are the advantages of using a Pneumatic actuator?

A pneumatic actuator converts the energy stored by compressed air into mechanical energy. Pneumatic actuators limit the risk of explosion and fire. They are also frequently used in automated industrial systems. They are mainly used for high-speed machines. They also have a long life expectancy and are easy to install.

What are the advantages of using an electric actuator?

Electric actuators are easy to integrate and provide more straightforward automation techniques than other actuators. It produces movements with high torque and is safe to use in all environments except near flammable substances. It has higher accuracy with controlling motion and produces movements with great precision.

Conclusion

In this article, we have extensively discussed the factors to be considered when selecting actuators for any purpose. We started with a brief introduction to actuators and then moved on to explore the various properties of actuators.

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