Tech & Innovation

Electric Actuators: All You Need To Know

Electric Actuators All You Need To Know
Photo: Canva

For those who don’t know, an electric actuator is a part of a machine or device that helps it to perform physical movements by transforming electrical energy into mechanical force.

To make things simple, it’s the part in any machine that allows movement. You’ll find actuators in almost every machine around the world.

This includes robots, industrial machinery, cars, household appliances, and much more. If you want to know more about electric actuators, here are some of the important things you should know.

What Are Electric Actuators?

Electric actuators are mechanical devices that manufacturers use to transform electric energy into kinetic energy in either a rotary motion or a single linear motion.

Electric actuators usually automate valves or dampers to improve complexity and process efficiency. In addition to that, electric actuators also have various designs. It depends on the particular task they need to perform within the processes for which they’re made.

Furthermore, electric actuators also differ in both size and dimension.

Today, because of the movement toward automation, more and more manufacturers are using electric actuators for their products.

For instance, manufacturers are now equipping an electric actuation system in the valve to make any process a lot easier and less complicated.

Also, utilizing electric actuators is now safer than ever before due to the failsafe features that maintain user control over the process even if there is no power.

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How Does an Electric Actuator Work?

Electric actuators usually contain electric motors that produce a rotary motion during the rotation of the rotor or spindle. The motor spindle rotates with the help of a ball screw. The spindle is also directly coupled to a helical screw through the drive shaft.

During the rotation of the spindle, the ball screw nut is driven backward or forward together with the helical screw.

The ball screw nut is also attached to a hollow piston rod. This transforms the linear movement into, or out of the linear actuator during the counterclockwise or clockwise rotary motion of the motor.

An electric drive controls the motor. The electric drive is also responsible for controlling the speed of the rotation. This means that the electric drive also controls the linear speed of the actuator.

Electric actuators also have a mechanism for feedback. This mechanism offers positional data of the device.

Because of this, manufacturers can program the electric actuator to move in a particular position. That is why electric actuators are used in various types of die-casting machines.

The power of the motor determines the torque that the electric actuator can produce.

Where Can You Use Electric Actuators?

Nowadays, a lot of industries are using electric actuators in their processes. They are usually utilized in industrial applications associated with manufacturing motors, pumps, and valves.

Most of the time, electric actuators are used to automate industrial valves. In addition to that, a lot of various technical process plants use them. This includes pulp and paper plants, farming and agricultural plants, food and beverage plants, power plants, wastewater treatment plants, gas plants, and much more.

Aside from industrial plants, other companies also use electric actuators for manufacturing their products. This includes valve companies, webcam companies, and others.

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What Are the Features of an Electric Actuator?

When trying to assess the quality of a certain product, you need to look for its features. When it comes to electric actuators, manufacturers usually evaluate their durability, speed, and torque.

However, some manufacturers also consider the energy efficiency of an electric actuator today. Other features that manufacturers consider include operating conditions, mass, volume, and more.

Below are the must-have features of an electric actuator:

1. Energy Efficiency

Nowadays, energy efficiency is becoming a vital feature in any type of machine. This is particularly true due to the increasing concerns about energy conservation and its direct influence on operational expenses.

When it comes to electric actuators, manufacturers look for an actuator that requires less energy to perform its task.

2. Durability

The durability of an electric actuator greatly depends on the design of the manufacturer. Unfortunately, electric actuators are less durable compared to hydraulic actuators.

Still, manufacturers can improve the durability of an electric actuator by using high-quality materials and improving its specifications.

3. Speed

When it comes to the speed of an actuator, manufacturers have to think about the weight of the load that the actuator is going to carry.

Typically, an electric actuator will have a lower speed if it’s carrying a heavy load. That is why it’s important to evaluate the speed of the electric actuator when it isn’t carrying any load.

4. Force or Torque

Torque is perhaps one of the most vital features to think about when it comes to electric actuators. One thing to keep in mind is that there are two types of torque to consider – dynamic and static.

Dynamic torque refers to the torque capacity of the actuator when it’s moving. On the other hand, static torque refers to the capacity of the actuator when it’s at rest.

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Nowadays, more and more devices are using electric actuators for their processes. They’re becoming a vital part of any manufacturing industry.

The things mentioned above are some of the important facts you need to know about them. Always make sure to internalize all of the things we have mentioned, and you will surely have an easier understanding of how these electric actuators function.

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