Electrical noise is a common occurrence. Random fluctuations in electrical signals are known as noise, and if the amplitude of the fluctuations becomes high enough, the noise can interfere dramatically with the operation of industrial automation devices like linear actuators. The results can be anything from erratic movements to complete system failure.
Once upon a time, managers of food and beverage processing plants considered energy costs to be a basic cost of doing business – something out of their control. But several factors have changed that attitude. Among them are rising energy prices, a challenging economy and an emphasis on reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing facilities.
Processors now see energy use as a cost that can and should be strategically managed. Companies are trying to optimize their energy budgets – increasing their plants’ energy efficiency, reducing use and looking for lower cost, cleaner energy sources. They're also looking at the energy use of all machinery and automation components like linear actuators.
Electric or pneumatic? That is the question. Or at least it’s a crucial question that control systems and machine design engineers ask early in the process of specifying a linear actuator. A pneumatic cylinder may be the best solution -- easy-to-understand, lower cost -- but then again an electric linear actuator can offer distinct advantages. It really depends on the application.
Process industry engineers are looking to more sophisticated motion control solutions for valve automation because of an ever-growing need to improve productivity, increase efficiency, and minimize downtime.
These engineers must control the valves that regulate the flow of materials throughout a facility, and there are two basic ways to control these valves: linear motion (rising stem) and rotary motion (half turn or quarter turn). Powered rising stem valves are often used in mission-critical areas of a process. In these applications, reliability, repeatability, accuracy, and responsiveness are crucially important. These factors impact the type of valve actuation specified. There are traditional methods: pneumatic or hydraulic actuated systems and electric linear actuators driven by brush servo motors. Then there’s an emerging technology: brushless servo motor driven electric valve actuators.
We all recognize that linear actuators are critical and much-used components in industrial automation systems. They’re at the heart of many machine tools, conveying configurations, and packaging systems. But what if we look beyond those industrial uses? Here are a few unique applications our actuators have found themselves in.
If you’ve been around engineering, you’ve probably heard the term “mechatronics” used to refer to a design process that blends mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering, control engineering, and computer engineering. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary approach that rejects splitting engineering into rigidly separate fields. Originally, mechatronics just included mechanics and electronics; however, as technical systems have become more complex the word has been broadened to include more technical areas.
The industrial revolution continues to rock the world as improvements in factory automation create ongoing change. The goal of saving money while improving quality is at the core of the drive towards more sophisticated automation. Savings come from reduced labor costs, higher throughput, lower energy use, or reduced waste. Better quality is a by-product of controlling variables within tight tolerances.
Pneumatic linear actuators are used throughout manufacturing to position loads reliably. When your application calls for a pneumatic rodless linear actuator, use these tips from to ensure you size your linear actuator correctly.
The food processing industry is fanatical about safety. Producers want to be known for offering safe and delicious products. In addition, governments want to protect their populations against illnesses caused by contamination and food-borne microbes.
In the U.S. the entire food processing industry is moving toward more microbiologically clean production environments. This follows the lead of meat, poultry, egg, and dairy production where the risk is high and stringent cleaning methods like caustic washdowns and swabbing for contamination are the norm. These industries fall under the watchful eye of the USDA, a government agency with strict standards. (EHEDG plays this role in Europe.)
Our video provides insight into the key factors to consider in linear actuator selection for food production safety.
When you specify an electric linear actuator for your application, you also need to specify a motor. The two basic types commonly used with linear actuators are stepper motors and servo motors. But what’s the difference? How do you choose? Here’s an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of each motor type.