Electric Actuators Archives - HyperCyl
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Tag Archive: Electric Actuators

  1. Hydraulic vs. Pneumatic vs. Electric Actuators

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    Actuators are mechanical devices that use energy to generate motion. Manual or automatic control commands initiate change in physical systems, creating motion to perform a task. Actuators allow machines to lift, block, clamp, eject and more.

    Depending on the type of energy source used to produce motion, three main types of actuators are available: hydraulic, pneumatic and electric. Below we’ll review the characteristics of these actuators as well as their applications and advantages.

    Hydraulic Actuators

    Known as the most commonly used energy conversion system, hydraulic actuators are an especially popular choice for systems requiring high-force automation equipment. These actuators rely on oil fluid compression.

    A variety of heavy-duty applications use hydraulic actuators to produce anywhere from ½ to 4,000 tons of force. These potential applications include:

    • Cargo handling
    • Large construction equipment
    • Military weapons
    • Marine propulsion
    • Transportation systems

    Advantages of Hydraulic Actuators

    Hydraulic actuators bring the following benefits to an operation:

    • Good strength-to-weight ratio: Hydraulic actuators can deliver tremendous force relative to their weight.
    • Safety: They include various safety features, including rod locks, dump valves that quickly dissipate energy, and bypass valves that close off high-pressure oil when generating motion.
    • Mobility: Hydraulic actuators are also compact enough to take on mobile operations, servicing trucks and other heavy transportation equipment.

    Pneumatic Actuators

    Most pneumatic actuators feature compression rates of 80 to 100 psi, making them a more stable and safe option for applications requiring less force. These actuators capture atmospheric air and compress it at higher pressures to generate motion. The specific parts of a pneumatic actuator include the actuator, storage tank, system of delivery hoses, motor and compressor unit.

    Advantages of Pneumatic Actuators

    The benefits of pneumatic actuators include:

    • Speed: The fastest actuators are pneumatic. Fast cycle rates contribute to greater productivity and profit.
    • Cost effectiveness: Pneumatic actuators have lower upfront costs compared to other actuators. They return their initial investment quickly, especially for moderate-duty applications.
    • Simplicity: Pneumatic actuators are relatively simple, so they are less likely to malfunction and easier to repair if they do.

    Electric Actuators

    Electric actuators use a motor to convert electric energy into torque, producing motion. They use a variety of mechanical components—gears, planetary roller screws, ball screws, lead screws—to generate linear energy from rotational energy.

    Small electric actuators are best for low- to medium-duty applications, such as packaging, factory robotics, automotive manufacturing and medical devices. Large electric actuators can produce up to 50,000 lbs of force.

    Advantages of Electric Actuators

    Electric actuators provide the following main benefits:

    • Speed: Electric actuators respond quickly to generate motion, with speeds of up to 20 in./sec.
    • Precision: Unlike hydraulic and pneumatic actuators, electric actuators are highly precise because they are not subject to inherent tolerances.
    • Cleanliness: Electric actuators use electricity, a clean energy source, eliminating the risk of leaks.

    Electric Actuators from Aries Engineering

    Aries Engineering produces the HyperCyl-EMA, one of the most reliable electromechanical actuators on the market. This servo-driven actuator works well for precision assembly applications and as substitutes for hydraulic or pneumatic actuators. Our electric actuators are capable of 0.0025 mm, ram speeds of up to 500 mm/sec, and up to 50,000 lbs of output. The HyperCyl-EMA has served customers in the aerospace, automotive, defense, medical, appliance, electronics and transportation industries.

    Find the Actuator You Need at Aries Engineering

    Aries Engineering Co., Inc. manufactures a line of “hydra-pneumatic” presses and cylinders for many types of assembly applications. We pioneered oil/air compression in 1994 and continue to serve clients across the manufacturing, industrial automation, defense and commercial industries.

    If you would like to find out more about our HyperCyl-EMA electric actuators and other products, contact us today. To get started on your next solution, request a quote at any time.

  2. What Is a Servo Actuator?

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    Actuators are designed to convert energy from different sources, such as electric currents, pneumatic pressure, or hydraulic fluid pressure, into motion. There are three main types of actuators: pneumatic actuators, hydraulic actuators, and servo actuators.

    Servo actuators use feedback signals to move or control mechanical systems in a highly efficient and safe manner. This is possible because servo actuators have a controller that can accurately compare, contrast, and calculate the potential differences between the desired results and system conditions on a real-time basis before the motion starts.

    Servo actuators use a servo motor in either an open or closed-loop control system. Several servo actuator models have a food-grade approved coating of paint for more sanitary wash-down applications.

    Servo actuators are available in both ball and roller screw configurations, like the HyperCyl-EMA, which has several options available for output force. They have an extended service life because they can easily be re-lubricated without disassembly.

    How Does a Servo Actuator Work?

    A servo system has three main core components:

    • A controlled device that allows the actuator to successfully operate
    • An output sensor/signal that acts as the main controller to tell the device what to do
    • A position sensor, encoder feedback, or load cell to provide accurate system feedback readings

    Servo Actuator Control Systems

    The control systems, which allow the actuators to operate, come in two different designs.

    Closed-Loop Control System

    Commonly referred to as feedback controllers, this type of control system is fully automatic and uses the input of the system and the output of the system controls to function. Closed-loop control systems are usually very accurate.

    Open-Loop Control System

    Commonly referred to as a non-feedback system, this type of control system is not automatic and doesn’t have a feedback loop. The output of the system depends on the input. However, the input or controller is independent of the output produced by the system. Open-loop systems do not measure the device’s output or use the information as input for further consideration.

    How Do Servo Actuator Controls Work?

    Servo actuators are controlled by a feedback signal generated by comparing the output signal and the reference-input signal rather than a variable-input signal. Whenever a command or reference-input signal is applied to the system, it is immediately compared with the system’s output-reference signal produced by the output sensor. Lastly, a third signal is produced by the servo actuator’s feedback system before it starts to move.

    The device can also be programmed with certain instructions and autonomously perform the movements on its own. For example, the actuator can receive a command to go to a specific position and immediately follow the command. This makes them very different from comparable pneumatic valves (pneumatic actuators) and pumps (hydraulic actuators), which can only follow simple instructions to ‘power on’ or ‘power off’ on their own.

    Applications of Servo Actuators

    There are numerous applications of servo actuators. Some of these include toys, home electronics, computers, drones, and remote controlled cars.

    Servo actuators also often play a crucial role in the function of both land- and sea-based vehicles – such as automobiles, airplanes, helicopters, and submarines.

    Automobiles

    Servo actuators can contribute to the function of these parts in automobiles:

    • Engine Cradle Assembly
    • Engine Sub-Assembly
    • Ball Joints and Bushings

    Airplanes and Helicopters

    Servo actuators adjust the wing angle of airplanes and control steering by moving the levers back and forth. Airplanes can easily “fly-by-wire” when they have a servo-controlled main system instead of an older hydraulic-powered one.

    Servo actuators can also control the speed of a helicopter by moving a swash plate, which can tilt the pitch of the blades in a certain direction to give it more lift.

    Submarines

    Servo actuators can adjust the submarine’s steering, bay doors, hatches, and rudder.

    Servo Actuators at HyperCyl

    HyperCyl has been providing servo actuators and other high quality assembly and forming solutions for customers in the industrial automation, commercial, manufacturing, and defense industries for over 25 years. Please contact us or request a quote today to learn more about servo actuators or our other product and service offerings. Our highly experienced team members would be happy to use their expertise to talk with you and help you identify the appropriate actuator for your organization’s specific needs.