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Posted by Aaron Dietrich on Wed, Jun 01 2016 @ 8:30 AM

“How long will this actuator last?”

“How long will it last?” Every machine design engineer gets asked this question and will have to calculate the anticipated life of the machine – life that’s based on machine components including linear actuators. Engineers also have to consider expected life when they’re evaluating competing components.

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Posted by Aaron Dietrich on Tue, May 17 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Hydraulic linear actuator advantages and disadvantages

Hydraulic cylinders are popular automation components in many industries. Like other types of linear actuator (pneumatic and electric), they are used to move loads in a straight line. A hydraulic actuator uses the energy in a pressurized liquid, usually oil, to achieve this linear motion, as opposed to compressed air (pneumatics) or electricity.

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Posted by Nick Holmgard on Tue, May 03 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Webinar: tips on electric rod actuator selection

When you’re called on to specify electric linear actuators, one of the critical decisions you’ll face is whether to use a rodless or rod-style model. Either actuator type has advantages and disadvantages.

In general, if the actuator has to carry a load, a rodless product is what you need.  However, if a load needs to be pushed or pulled, select a rod-style actuator. 

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Posted by Nick Holmgard on Tue, Apr 19 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Hygienic linear actuator keeps it clean

The world of food production and packaging is broad, varied and ever-changing. That world needs filling machines as diverse as the range of food products they process. Some filling machines have to handle powders and dry solids while others must handle thin or thick liquids. Some machines fill to a specified level, and some fill by volume or weight. This wide variety of equipment has a unifying need, though -- a need for hygienic design that can keep food products uncontaminated and withstand even the most stringent cleaning procedures.

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Posted by Aaron Dietrich on Tue, Apr 05 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Linear actuators help prevent food contamination

How FSMA affects linear actuator selection

Until recently, the food processing industry has handled contamination reactively. If a foodborne illness was traced back to contamination at a manufacturing plant, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) had the manufacturer fix the problem.

The flaw in this system, though, was that most of these illnesses were preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. That makes food contamination a major public health issue.

The federal government stepped in to change the way the FDA and food producers operate with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – signed into law in January 2011. This important legislation shifts the focus to preventing contamination problems instead of just responding to them.  FSMA affects all automation components used in the industry, including linear actuators.

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Posted by Aaron Dietrich on Tue, Mar 22 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Calculating total cost of linear actuators [INFOGRAPHIC]

Not too long ago many machine designers only considered the purchase price of automation components, like linear actuators, when they analyzed cost. And manufacturing management only looked at acquisition cost when they considered investing in automation.

Now machine designers and manufacturers are using a more thorough approach to cost analysis. Rather than looking at purchase price alone, they are looking into the “total cost of ownership” of a component, machine or technology. It's a business finance concept, used frequently when considering computer system upgrades.

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Posted by Nick Holmgard on Tue, Mar 08 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Electric linear actuator fills accuracy need under harsh conditions

Volumetric filling applications of any type require high levels of accuracy and repeatability. If the filling operation is part of a food and beverage processing plant, there are additional important factors. Factors like food safety and the ability to withstand even caustic washdowns.

Filling equipment designers often rely on electric linear actuators for crucial motion control. Like the machines they’re a part of, these electric actuators need to deliver accuracy and repeatability and may need to stand up to a challenging industrial environment.

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Posted by Nick Holmgard on Tue, Feb 23 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Rodless electromechanical linear actuator selection: A webinar

Rodless or rod-style linear actuator? It’s a basic and critical decision point for any machine designer. Consider the specifics of your application. Either actuator type has advantages and disadvantages. In general, if a load needs to be pushed or pulled, select an electric rod actuator. However, if you need an actuator to carry a load, a rodless product is what you need. Want to reduce the complexity of a linear motion system? A rodless electromechanical linear actuator can eliminate the need for load-bearing and guiding elements. Also, a rodless actuator can reduce the footprint of a system since its stroke lies completely within its body.

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Posted by Gary Rosengren on Tue, Feb 09 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Electric linear actuator lead screws – article round-up

When it comes to specifying an electric linear actuator, selecting the right lead screw* (sometimes referred to as the leadscrew) for the application is critical. That’s because the screw is the major drive component in most electric actuators. After all, if it’s not a belt-driven actuator, then there’s a lead screw involved.

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Posted by Nick Holmgard on Tue, Jan 26 2016 @ 8:30 AM

Electric linear actuator stands up to moisture, dust

Linear actuators used in sawmills are often subjected to dusty and wet conditions. If the right electric linear actuator isn’t specified, the component may fail and cause expensive downtime. Given the pressure to keep production costs down and output up, it’s essential to match the actuator to the manufacturing environment.

A good way to do this is to refer to a rating system. We use the IP (Ingress or International Protection) system because it evaluates ingress of both dry particles and moisture. An application where there is both dust and water spray needs electric linear actuators rated IP67 for a high degree of protection.

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