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How gear types affect the performance of industrial actuators

Learn how gears relate to the performance of actuators, and how they ensure optimal actuator efficiency. Find out about the durability and functionality of plastic and steel gears for industrial linear actuators.

In this video you can learn about the advantages of plastic versus steel gears. Our man, Hunter Stephenson, also covers aspects of planetary gears, and how gearing design is important for the efficiency of industrial actuators.

There are pros and cons with any type of gear for actuators. When comparing plastic gears to steel gears, plastic gears generally have a lower efficiency and are more sensitive to high temperatures. However, if an actuator is used within its specifications, for instance, by running the actuator to its end stop each time or by avoiding mechanical blocking, the gear material will not be affected and will not influence the actuator’s overall performance or service life negatively.

Industrial actuators often perform in harsh environments with heavy loads, many duty cycles, or high temperatures. In such cases, steel gearing, including spur and planetary gears, provide the necessary robustness and efficiency needed for optimal actuator performance. Steel gears as such are not limited by fixed duty cycle restrictions, as the heat generated from a moving actuator will never reach levels high enough to harm the gear material.

Still, most LINAK industrial actuators have a set duty cycle of 20% to ensure that the heat generated will not affect other actuator components.

Typically, linear actuators are designed with one gear connected to the motor and spindle. In this way load and speed can be adjusted by changing the spindle pitch. By using a second gear step between the spindle and the motor, even more performance variations are possible using the same actuator type.

A good rule of thumb when choosing an actuator is to multiply the load and speed required to get the efficiency. This will give you a good indication of the type of actuator you need.

If you have any questions about gears for industrial electric linear actuators, please do not hesitate to contact your local LINAK office.

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