Linear Electromechanical Actuators and Effective Preplanning

Many different linear actuators that people in industrial automation are familiar with provide straight-line motion. Rollon’s Bob Ward, Regional Manager, and Christopher Hirsch, Actuator Project Manager, spoke about the linear electromechanical actuator gaining popularity.

“We’re definitely in a growth-spurt market right now,” Ward said. “We see an increased focus by our customers for factory automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence applications where you’re advancing the work inside a lot of factories into robotic cells or automation cells.” Thus, the need for electromechanical linear actuators to drive these devices is increasing.

Precision is one of the primary benefits of using an electromechanical linear actuator rather than a pneumatic actuator, which makes it harder to achieve exact positioning, according to Hirsch. “You have much more repeatable and accurate precision using an electric actuator.”

Ward added that these actuators are typically power-dense compared to other types of actuators, meaning they can handle the movement of heavy payloads. “The only one that would be more power dense would be a hydraulic cylinder.”

When considering the proper electromechanical actuator for the job, it is crucial to determine certain factors, such as how much weight the actuator needs to carry and how fast it needs to go. Determining these needs late into a project could induce project headaches, so Ward and Hirsch recommend consulting with an actuator project expert ahead of time.

“You’re never going to get a 100% of the information first time,” Ward said. “And, even if you do, it’s not going to be 100%  correct. It’s an iterative process, but the key is to capture the important information and guide the customer to the optimal product for them.”

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