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5 Key Factors to Consider When Selecting an Industrial Actuator

5 Key Factors to Consider When Selecting an Industrial Actuator

Mar 20,2023
Industrial Actuators
Growing demand for industrial actuators is driving the market. They are gaining popularity in the industry due to their ability to provide high precision and control compared to other industrial actuators. Industrial actuators eliminate fluid leakage and high noise generation. These actuators are environmentally friendly, more energy efficient, and have low maintenance costs. Additionally, since industrial electric actuators can be networked and reprogrammed quickly, they are ideal for automation and IoT applications. Hence, it has increased usage in applications such as robotic dispensing and robotic spot welding.

According to forecasts, the industrial actuator market size is expected to be US$49.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach US$74.5 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 8.6% during 2019-2024.

Today, industries rely heavily on automated machines or processes compared to other manual or mechanized systems. Apart from providing superior performance, automated equipment helps minimize unsafe assemblies and industrial processes that require human intervention. As the use of automated machinery or systems increases, so does the demand for industrial actuators, which play a vital role in the functionality of automated equipment.

There are many different types of industrial actuators with different strokes, speeds, shapes, capacities, and sizes to best suit the application or achieve the best actuation. Industrial actuators, which are responsible for moving, controlling, or positioning mechanisms or systems, make working with automated equipment seamless and very easy.

There are several factors to consider when selecting an industrial actuator for the most efficient automation system.

Selection of Industrial Actuators

A) Stroke Length

Selecting the proper stroke length is one of the most important steps in finding the perfect actuator. Typically, customers know what type of unit they want and how much force is required in terms of stroke size. Therefore, before proceeding, we must place more emphasis on how the stroke size is chosen and how it will affect the size of the actuator. 

When selecting the stroke of an industrial actuator, the size of the actuator needs to be considered, especially the length from mounting hole to mounting hole and end-to-end. Once you have these dimensions, it will be easier to select the stroke and determine the overall length of the unit. Each type of industrial actuator has its range limit, usually 50-250mm.

B) Mounting Bracket

Mounting brackets are designed specifically for linear actuators and customers can choose from a number of different options. Brackets can be installed along the travel of some actuators, while some actuators offer a more robust option for those high-force applications. Every industrial actuator has two mounting holes - one on the bottom of the actuator and one on the top. This makes the installation of the actuator easy and each bracket comes with all the hardware needed for proper installation.

Since the bracket allows you a full 180┬░rotation on either end of the actuator, it's easy to mount at almost any angle you need. In addition, each bracket is designed to fit a specific actuator, so it takes the stress out of choosing one. You just need to find the actuator you have and match it with the correct bracket. Customization and pricing are the two main factors in selecting a bracket for an industrial actuator.

C) Connections and Cables

Connecting a linear actuator to a controller is a very simple and easy process. Very few actuators have 4-pin connectors. So, it's just a matter of plugging everything in and going on your way. However, if your actuator doesn't have a 4-pin actuator, you'll need to use a slightly different approach. Typically, most actuators are not equipped with a 4-pin connector. If yours does not have a connector, you will need to purchase an additional connector, which is available in 6' and 2' lengths.

If you have a connector, then you should have an actuator with bare wire on the end. Strip the wires until you have enough room and if you need more room connect your 4-pin connector. You should now be able to connect the linear actuator to the 4-pin connector. Twist the connections together and cover them with electrical tape. The last thing you can do is plug in the 4-pin connector, plug the control box into a power source, and test it out.

D)Feedback And/or Limit Switches

Due to the ease of installation, robust design, and harsh environment, limit switches are suitable for a wide range of applications and harsh environments on the factory floor. Typically, limit switches are used in physical contact applications that cause wear on the switch actuator and electrical contacts. Therefore, more than two operations per second should be avoided.

When selecting a limit switch, the application and actuation method should be considered first, as these are usually the clearer determining factors. Integrating limit switches is the most common method of preventing the actuator from running to the end of its stroke. A limit switch is nothing more than a circuit that stops the motor at a desired or programmed travel position and only allows it to start in the opposite direction.

This means that the actuator will avoid the mechanical stress that occurs when it encounters a mechanical or physical stop. There are some key considerations when using limit switches. The selection criteria for limit switches are usually - repeatability, operating force, contact configuration, actuation method, environmental requirements, and operating and return travel.

E) Strength

Force refers to the torque requirement of the valve. This means the amount of force required to move the valve from the open position to the closed position. The force required is a linear push-pull force in a sliding valve stem, while a multi-turn or part-turn valve requires a rotational force. Many factors such as - minimum and maximum supply pressure, actuator type, failure mode, and valve torque are required to determine the amount of force required.

Beyond that, there are other considerations such as media temperature, valve size, and design, stem packing friction, the differential pressure across the valve, and stem and valve mechanical characteristics. If your application involves force or sudden stops, you may need to account for impact forces to properly install and isolate your system. Knowing the speed and force of the application is critical because it affects the selection of other components of the linear actuator, such as the nut, ball screw, and motor. The impact force will help you determine the inertial force to use for cushioning, while the total force will help you understand the desired motion you're trying to generate and help select the right size motor and actuator.

The above introduces the 5 main factors to consider when choosing an industrial actuator, if you want to buy an actuator, please contact us, our professional staff will help you choose the most suitable actuator.

UG Controls is a custom valve actuator and accessories manufacturer. We use our engineering expertise and industry experience to continuously improve our products, striving to provide efficient solutions and competitive prices. UG is also a global supplier of highly engineered actuators and accessories to the Oil & Gas, Mining, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Water & Power, Food & Beverage, and general industrial markets.
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