Buying electric devices for your vehicle/machine is not that simple. You need to consider many things before buying them, such as forces, strokes, leverage, etc., especially if you are purchasing an Electric Linear Actuator (ELA). You need to get the ones that fulfil all the requirements to ensure the best quality. Making the wrong purchase could cost you a fortune, especially if you buy the product for an expensive motor vehicle or a machine that works on expensive projects. But, what are actuators? How do you get the right one?

The article will list the steps to choosing the best ELA. Read on to understand the qualities necessary to make an ELA better.

What is an Actuator?

An ELA is a device that utilises a form of power to convert a control signal into mechanical motion. ELAs are used to make ailerons on aircraft, electric door locks, electric muscular stimulators in robots, etc. There are seven types of actuators:

  • Linear
  • Hydraulic
  • Rotary
  • Pneumatic
  • Electric
  • Thermal and magnetic
  • Supercoiled polymer

The following are the steps to find the best ELA:

Determine the amount of force needed

You must consider the amount of weight (force) of the object to be lifted or moved. Whether it’s 15 lbs or 2000 lbs, you need to get the one that can do your work.

Determine the distance the ELA needs to move

Different machines need different ELAs, and the stroke length decides that. A stroke length is the maximum distance an ELA can move in one direction. Usually, ELAs will have strokes ranging from 1 to 60 inches, and you can select from these ranges.

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Determine the speed required

Do you need your machine/vehicle to move quickly or slowly? The speed of the ELA is measured in inches (distance) per second. The higher the force needed, the slower the ELA will be, and vice-versa. Here, the force and speed trade-off against each other. Hence, make your decision as per the requirement.

Choose the type of ELA you want

There are several types of actuators in the market, and there are seven main types. You are now reading about the ELA, which can be classified into four categories such as:

  • Track actuator
  • Mini rod-style actuator
  • Deluxe rod actuator
  • Dropdown TV lift

Rod-style are the ones you will see a lot in the market, and they are very common. These have simple features such as a shaft, which extends and retracts. A track actuator is good for tight spaces where a sliding block is ideal due to its unchanging length, whether retracted or extended.

Your TV might have the dropdown ones that you never noticed. These ELAs are small in size but work well for small devices. Here, the stroke, force, and speed will be different.

What are the Qualities of an Excellent ELA?

There are several different qualities that an ELA must possess, and some of the important attributes are:

  • Steady duty rating without limitations on the number of starts per minute
  • Perform continuously and unaffected by heavyweights
  • Repeatable and precise positioning is usually better than 0.15% of the span.
  • Rugged industrial structure and design that’s able to operate in challenging environments without reduction in performance
  • The ability to stop and start immediately without position overshoot or dead time
  • Less number of maintenance per year
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These qualities sure make an ELA worth buying.

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