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Pros of Hydraulic Actuators:

Hydraulic cylinders, known for their high force, have been widely used in factory automation equipment and other special automation equipment. Hydraulic cylinder systems can generate extremely high forces due to their high operating pressures. Typical pressures range from 1,800 to 3,000 psi. Hydraulics can generally have a long service life if they are maintained regularly in order to achieve the best performance throughout its life cycle. Hydraulics are also the best at handling shock loads.

Cons of Hydraulic Actuators:

The repeatability of position, speed, and force of a hydraulic cylinder are subject to worn seals, leaks, pressure drops and spikes from the pump, and other maintenance factors. Difficult to get repeatable performance from day-to-day, month-to-month, or year-to-year in a production environment when oil quality and viscosity change due to temperature variations. The number of components and overall space required for hydraulic systems is much greater than that needed for electric systems. Hydraulic systems require a cylinder; a power unit to provide oil pressure; control and accessory valves; filters; hoses; fittings; and additional components.

Pros of Electric Actuators:

The main reason why engineers select electric actuators over hydraulic cylinders is the flexibility of their motion-control capabilities with regard to position (multiple positions, accuracy), velocity, acceleration, output force, and complex control of all these motion variables on the fly. Electric actuators, coupled with a servo drive and motor, give engineers infinite control over position, accuracy, and repeatability levels that is far beyond the capabilities of hydraulics. Electric actuators offer distinct advantages over their pneumatic counterparts such as: acceleration and speed are controlled and predictable, multiple positions are possible with high precision and repeatability, and pushing forces can be programmed. With no need for compressed air, infrastructure and energy costs are lower.

Cons of Electric Actuators:

Although the advances in the manufacturing world have come a very long way, there are still certain applications in which electric linear actuators cannot compete with the load ratings, force or speed necessary. As servo motors get larger, torque typically increases significantly, but rpms go down. In extreme applications of force and speed, the only way electric actuators can hit the desired performance is if the designer grossly oversize’s the system, which can be cost-prohibitive.

CS Automation offers a solution to whichever actuator application you may need. SMC’s LE line of electric actuators is designed with a focus on easy setup and operation. Function parameters come preset, plus an “Easy Mode” setting option allows you to be operational quickly. The LE line is available in a variety of types including: sliders, rod and guided rod, slide tables, rotary, grippers, and miniature. Accessories include actuator controllers, and gateways.

EDrive linear actuators have shown consistent success in the toughest applications (high loads, high speeds, high precision, and extreme durability). Precision ball screw systems, tailored for maximum life, load and speed, provide the motion while fully enclosed, thus eliminating contamination-related failures.

The Kyntronics SMART Hydraulic Actutator (SHA) combines the best features of hydraulic power with the precision of servo control, used in ball screw & roller screw electro-mechanical actuators, without the inherent disadvantages of facility installed Hydraulic systems. The result is an actuation solution with superior functionality at a lower price point.

Contact CS Automation today to discuss which option is best for your application!

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