Actuators are a class of switches that make some movement. A switch has two contacts that come in contact with each other to make a circuit, turning something on or off.
Actuators are typically connected to an electric motor that creates a power cycle and can move different actuators. As a result, we are going to dive into some of the main industries that are reliant on actuators.
The automotive industry needs actuators both for mechanical controls and other electrical components.
Actuators are used in the production process of electronics. They are used to make all sorts of electronic parts, from cell phones to TVs and computers. They provide mechanical control for disk drives, keyboards, monitors, and cameras.
3. Food and Beverage
This industry uses actuators to automate production processes. Pumps that control flow rates are common here, and conveyors that move products into place and robotic arms are also used in this industry.
Actuators are used in the medical industry to automate procedures by helping doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel with their duties. Robotics is also commonly used for medical purposes here.
5. Oil and Gas
Actuators are used in the oil and gas industry to automate the production process and make the process more efficient.
6. Power Generation and Transmission
Motors are used in power plants and distribution networks to create power cycles. Energy distribution wires also use actuators. Transformer parts use them, too, as do other machine parts that control temperature or voltage, which then help control how much energy an engine or motor produces.
Actuators are used in rockets and missiles, as well as all the equipment that supports astronauts in space missions, like the space shuttle. They’re also used to control the conditions of experiments in space and on the surface of planets.
Different Types of Actuators
1. Electric linear actuator: The electric linear actuator is the most commonly used in industry and power grids. They are necessary for transporting, storing, and moving things via energy cycles. A linear actuator functions by relying on the principle of inertia, which means it needs both a source of energy and a load to work against.
2. Rotary actuator: Rotary actuators convert linear motion into rotary motion. A common example of a rotary actuator is the electric motor.
3. Pneumatic and hydraulic: These actuators operate by converting energy stored safely in compressed air or liquid into mechanical force. These systems are used when electricity is too dangerous or unavailable (like during power outages).
4. Piezoelectric: This actuator converts energy into mechanical movement by utilizing the principles of super-sensitivity and phase change principles. This means it can use a very small amount of power to create a large amount of force.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing an Actuator
1. Models: Actuators are available in a wide range of models. While they don’t have to be the same, consider the size and design of the model before purchasing.
2. Types: Actuators come in many different categories. Some examples include automotive, robotics, and industrial. Eventually, you will need one for your specific application or industry.
3. Materials: The materials of an actuator will vary depending on the type and brand name. It would be best if you read up on their various options to choose what’s best for your needs and budget.
4. Power source: Some actuators are powered manually, while others rely on electricity. The type of actuator you need may depend on your specific industry or application.
5. Cost: Actuators vary in price from under $100 to over $500,000. Many factors go into determining the value of an actuator, such as its size, the brand, and the material used for it. Consider how much you’ll be using it and how much you’re willing to spend to get a good deal when you purchase it.
6. Life: Actuators come in many different forms and materials. It’s important to consider the life of an actuator for your specific application so that you can pick the one with the intended lifespan.
7. Warranty: While some actuators ship with a warranty, others are not covered. Consider whether or not the manufacturer will provide you with a warranty in case it fails during use.
8. Comfort: The kind of actuator you’re looking for will depend on your industry or application. Some examples include linear, rotary, and pneumatic actuation systems that use compressible gases and pistons (which require lubrication).
The Bottom Line
Actuators are a vital component of many industries and applications. By choosing from various models, types, materials, and power sources, you can find an actuator that is best for your needs.