future of linear actuators

The Future Of Linear Actuators

Gregory Kimbell
Gregory Kimbell
PA Engineer

As industries continue to incorporate linear actuators, we begin to see how they are being re-designed and modified to achieve full automation. The solar industry continues to grow as the standardized renewable resource. They utilize linear actuators produced with high load force ratings along with feedback signals to be programmed, tracking the sun for optimal productivity and maneuverability throughout the day. Once the design is in place, modifying the various aspects such as weight, duty cycle, speed, force, and accessibility can all provide insight on how linear actuators may evolve.

Carbon fiber has been tested to provide durability while staying lightweight. This material would play a great role for producing the actuator housing, which will also allow the actuator to be used where weight is a critical factor (aircrafts, high performance vehicles, aeronautics, or handheld equipment).

Another aspect of how linear actuators may evolve is the duty cycle of an actuator. Brushed DC motors can only run continuously for so long until they require a cool down period. This is also dependent on the force load the actuator is experiencing. It may become easier to manufacture a Brushless DC motor as a standard to allow 100% duty cycle for continuous motion, a key feature in automation.

PA-14

Our PA-14 can be customized to include a Brushless DC motor.

Automation is essentially a control system that is self-reliant without the use of human interaction. However, if there were any inconsistencies that required human intervention, it may be difficult to reach the unit if the application is built around the unit itself. Being able to diagnose and monitor units remotely can increase productivity before any catastrophic failures may occur.

Finally, actuators are can be used in a variety of environments. An actuators IP rating (Ingress Protection) determines what type of protection the actuator is produced with. For example, an IP66 rating can have complete protection from dust/solid particles and has limited protection against water exposure. Whereas an IP67 rating has complete protection against dust/solid particles and can be submerged for approximately 30 minutes in a depth of up to 1 meter. An increase in sealant protection may allow actuators to be protected in all environments.

Once the actuators design is in place, modifying the materials to change the weight, speed, and durability can help evolve the future of linear actuators.
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