Proper actuator installation is key for the best performance.
If your linear actuator has been installed correctly, it'll perform better over time and live through its complete life cycle. Use our tips as a checklist before you turn on your project. The risks of improper actuator installation mean two things. First, your actuator may not perform the way you want it to. It may not have enough room, it could bind, or it could stop working altogether. Second, improper installation could mean your actuator lasts for much less of its expected life than you thought.
Never install your load away from the center of gravity. If you're mounting your actuator device on an angle, make sure the load gets pushed so that an equal amount of pressure is placed on both sides. Over time, an uneven load can wear away on one side and significantly reduce the lifespan of your actuator in the form of binding.
Avoid side loading. Sideloading puts too much stress on the actuator and will cause binding over time. Sideloading means that the load is being mounted off-center and perpendicular to the actuator, causing pressure to build upon one side of the actuator and this will damage the device.
Before installing an actuator and turning it on, always make sure the duty cycle of your actuator can handle what you're asking of it. Progressive Automations' actuators run a duty cycle of up to 25%. If you need a better understanding of what duty cycle is and why it matters, you can visit this page for more information.
Those internal limit switches tell your actuators it's time to stop and move the other way. If a limit switch isn't working correctly, the actuator might run past its length and do damage to your project. This can be a problem if the area your actuator is installed in has limited space requirements. If you find your limit switches aren't working correctly or they aren't set where you want them to be, think about purchasing external limit switches. These can be installed on the outer portion of the device, anywhere along the stroke.
Is your application going to be operating outside? Extreme weather conditions have an effect on how well your actuator will work. All electric actuators have a minimum and a maximum operational temperature. Your manufacturer will be able to let you know what those are.
Finally, before you turn everything on, is your actuator truly spec'd correctly? Depending on the type of device you have and your application, you may have your own unique specifications. Double-check your speed, voltage, stroke length, IP rating, dimensions, and your other specs to make sure everything will run smooth once you turn it on. Unforeseen consequences can be costly.