Electro-Mechanical vs. Hydraulic & Pneumatic Actuators

Precision linear actuators are often a better choice than hydraulic or pneumatic alternatives with advantages of simpler and smaller installation, easier control, lower energy costs, higher accuracy, less maintenance, less noise, and a cleaner, healthier environment.

Electrical Actuators vs. Hydraulic and Pneumatic Cylinders
  Electrical Linear Actuators Hydraulic Cylinders Pneumatic Cylinders
Installation All electric operation requires simple wiring. Requires expensive plumbing, filtering, pumps, etc. Requires expensive plumbing, filtering, pumps, etc.
Accuracy Very repeatable (to ± 0,013 mm) and rigid, multi-stop capabilities. Requires expensive position sensing and precise electrohydraulic valving to implement, has tendency to creep. Difficult to achieve.Requires expensive position sensing and precise valving to implement, has tendency to creep.
Control Directly compatible with standard programmable controls allowing easy automatic operation of complex motion sequences. Requires electronic/fluid interfaces and exotic valve designs. Hysteresis, dead zone, supply pressure and temperature changes complicate control. Inherently non-linear, compressible power source severely complicates servo control.
Speed Smooth, variable speed with from 0 to 2 m/s with controlled acceleration. Difficult to control accurately. Varies with temperature and wear. Stick slip can be a problem. More susceptible to stick slip and varying load. Well-suited for light high speed applications.
Reliability Repeatable, reproducible performance during the entire product life. Very little maintenance required. Very contamination sensitive. Require regular maintenance. Seals are prone to leak. Reliable with diligent maintenance. Very contamination sensitive. Air sources require proper filtration. Good reliability, but usually many system components are involved.
Power Up to 40 000 N Virtually unlimited force. Most powerful. Up to 25 000 N. Typically used below 6000 N.
Life expectancy Up to millions of cycles at rated load. Easy to predict. Dependent on design and seal wear, usually good. Dependent on design and seal wear, usually good.
Environment Standard models rated for -30 to +70 °C. Inherently clean and energy efficient. Temperature extremes can be a major problem. Seals are prone to leak. Waste disposal is increasingly problematic. Temperature extremes can be a major problem. Seals prone to leak. Air-borne oil can be a problem.
Load holding Acme screw units are selflocking if power fails. Fail-safe brakes available for ball screw and roller screw models. Complex back-up safety devices must be used. Complex back-up safety devices must be used.
Cost Moderate initial cost, very low operating cost. Components often cost less, but installation and maintenance are increased. Hydraulic power unit cost is high if not pre-existing. Components often cost less, but installation and maintenance are increased.

 

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