How to choose the right actuator for a specific application?

Proper drive selection is essential to any successful automation project. There are many models of drives with parallel, L-shaped and coaxial arrangement of motors. Such models can be used in many areas. Specific requirements require the creation of a unique design solution. In order to choose the right drive, the application and the relevant technical limitations must be taken into account: speed, load, duty cycle, available space and operating environment.


Load definition

The applied load is a key factor in drive selection and determines the dimensions of drive components (motor, drive nut, lead screws, gears, ball bearings, etc.). It is important to determine in which direction the actuator should move (whether it should pull, push, move vertically or horizontally) and how long the stroke should be. The load will also depend on the diameter of the cylinder and the actuator rod. All these factors affect the load capacity of the drive and its durability.


Speed ​​detection

Speed ​​is a fundamental criterion when choosing a drive. Not all mechanisms or materials can withstand high speeds. High speed under heavy load can cause premature wear of the drive and affect its life. Therefore, to protect each device from damage, speed and load limits are set that cannot be exceeded. The speed depends, among other things, on the lead screw thread pitch and motor characteristics.


Determining the duty cycle

The duty cycle, which characterizes the relationship between the device's operating time and its idle time, differs significantly for different applications. Duration of inclusion is a determining factor in the choice of the drive, as well as materials and mechanisms for its manufacture. This ensures an optimum service life of the equipment and limits the rate of wear of mechanical parts or possible overheating. Parallel motor drives, such as spur gear drives, can withstand longer duty cycles and more cycles.


Definition of free space

Drive selection also takes into account available space in the system. In addition to load, stroke, and speed, it is important to consider whether the drive will operate in a confined space, if there are size restrictions, and requirements that need to be taken into account when integrating into a given application. For example, due to the location of the motor along the axis of the lead screw, coaxial electric drives are more compact and therefore ideal for installation in confined spaces. The dimensions of the drive depend on its configuration (coaxial, L-shaped or parallel arrangement of the motor).


Definition of working environment

The environment in which the equipment will operate is one of the most important parameters when choosing the right drive. Will the equipment work indoors or outdoors? Will it be exposed to dust, particulate contaminants or moisture? Will the drive be subjected to intensive cleaning with detergents or high pressure washing? The materials used and the degree of protection (IP) provided will vary depending on the requirements of the operating environment. Is quiet operation required? L-shaped electric drives, thanks to plastic worm gears, provide a quieter operation, which is ideal for medical or household equipment.


The choice of the type of electric drive depends on many parameters. It is important to choose a linear actuator that will meet the requirements of the application. Each application implies a list of requirements that are essential when choosing the appropriate drive. However, the order budget is also taken into account in the design. To select the most suitable device, it is necessary to evaluate all these parameters.