As one of the most readily available and cleanest forms of the actuator in the market, electric actuators are used in a vast variety of applications. Given the fact that there is no use of oil or any other lubricant, electric actuators are widely used for several applications. They provide precise, smooth, and dependable movement in various heavy duty applications and no wonder why they are preferred by many industries.
What is an Electric Actuator?
It is a device that is used to convert electrical energy into applicable mechanical torque. Electric actuators are known for providing accurate positioning and control, assisting machines in completing complex and flexible processes with fair ease.
It comprises of an acme, ball or roller screw that is connected to an electric motor through a coupler. The piston that is connected to the carriage or rod moves whenever a screw turns. The load is moved by the carriage or rod. The performance of an electric actuator depends on the used materials.
- Electrical actuators are known for providing the best precision-control positioning
- The setups of electrical actuators are smooth, quiet, repeatable, and scalable for any requirement
- They are known for offering quick feedback for maintenance and diagnostics
- They can be reprogrammed and networked quite easily and quickly
- Full control of motion profiles are provided by electrical actuators
- They can include encoders for the purpose of controlling torque, velocity, applied force, and position
- There are no environmental hazards because there is no leaking of fluids
- They are quieter as compared to hydraulic or pneumatic actuators
- There is less maintenance required
- They offer better repeatability, positioning, and instant reaction time
- They offer better control as compared to others and for variable speed control there is the use of pulse width modulation (PWM) as well
- Electrical actuator’s initial unit and setup cost is more as compared to hydraulic or pneumatic actuators
- Unlike pneumatic actuators that are suitable for flammable or hazardous areas, electrical actuators are not deemed as suitable for all environments
- The reduction gear of an electrical actuator can experience wear and tear over time and motor can overheat due to running continuously
Role of Electric Actuators in Mobile Equipment Industry
There are several ways in which electrical actuators benefit mobile equipment industry such as enhancing the power density and increasing the efficiency. Some of the benefits are:
- They are known for offering minimal exposure to high pressure and temperature fluids while operating quietly
- They provide increased power density and have more conversion efficiency as compared to other technologies
- Between electric actuators and control devices, point-to-point connections are provided with fair ease and overall complexity of the system is reduced as well
- One of the main reasons why these actuators are used in mobile equipment industry is because of their use of less energy
- Producing and repairing time of electric actuators is less as compared to others
Applications of Electric Actuators
Electric actuators are widely used for various applications such as packaging, automotive, laser cutting, electronics, pharmaceutical, high-speed scanning, switch testing, soldering, dispersing, glass cutting, spot welding, medical assembly etc. Electrical actuators are preferred over pneumatic actuators because they offer advantages where others don’t. For instance, in offices the only practical power source is electricity and that is why using electric actuators is a more obvious choice. There are some military applications that require only electricity and this is where electric actuators come into play. It is worth mentioning here that electric actuators are widely known for providing flexible motion-profiles (programmable) and steady, manageable speed over the repeatable and precise positioning for transitional stops and end-of-stroke. On top of all this, electric actuators only need power when it is actually working.
Whenever a programmable and linear motion needed, electric actuators can help in applications such as scanning and tracking, feed to length, tool feed calibration, stretching etc.
The Bottom Line
Due to many applications, it can be said with certainty that an electric actuator can pneumatic and hydraulic actuators. The wide range of control provided by them makes them an obvious choice. However, they are not fit for all applications and that is why it is best to have an application defined before choosing between electric, pneumatic or hydraulic actuators.