High-force linear motion: How to convert from hydraulic cylinders to electric actuators and why.
Linear ActuatorLinear MotionElectro-mechanical actuatorHydraulic ActuatorPneumatic Actuator
By Aaron Dietrich, Director of Marketing Tolomatic, Inc.
Hydraulic cylinders are traditionally the go-to technology for high-force linear motion, for good reasons. They deliver high force at a low cost per unit of force, they are rugged and simple to deploy. However, there’s a new technology to consider. Electric cylinders with high-force capacities are now available, and they are more flexible, precise and reliable than their hydraulic counterparts.
Following is a comparison of the performance and cost of each technology, as well as recommended methods for converting an application from hydraulic to electric actuation.
We will begin with a comparison of key parameters: force capabilities; motion control; system footprint; temperature tolerance; data collection; environmental concerns; and life cycle costs.
Force: Hydraulic cylinders have high operating pressures [124.1 to 206.8 bar (1800 to 3000 psi)]. Because Force = Pressure x Area, even a 76.2mm (3-inch cylinder) at 151.8 bar (2200 psi) can achieve 66.3 kN (15,000 lbf).
Roller screw-powered electric linear actuators can deliver forces of over...