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Linear actuators facilitate fast maintenance for off-road vehicles

10 October 2015

Electric linear actuators are being used as an alternative to hydraulic cylinders to facilitate fast and reliable bucket replacement on a line of wheeled loaders.

Warner's S-Track linear actuators are being put to us by a leading manufacturer of off-highway vehicles on a line of wheeled loaders, where they are providing an alternative to the traditional hydraulic cylinders that are used for locking pins when replacing excavator buckets on site.

These vehicles are often required to work in extremely low temperatures, which were causing the hydraulic cylinders to freeze in place and resulting in excessive downtime. The Warner actuators were specified because of their ability to be operated remotely, allowing the vehicle driver to activate them from inside the cab.

The actuators are approved for operation at temperatures as low as -40°C, but even in less extreme temperatures they offer greater reliability than their hydraulic counterparts thanks to a position feedback interface that alerts the operator if a pin is not locked correctly. Warner Linear’s Jared Zammuto takes up the story:

"This was a fantastic project to work on as we were being asked to engineer a system that would work more efficiently and more reliably than what is normally considered an industry standard approach; it's what engineers love to do. As the project progressed it became apparent that actuators deliver many benefits for this application over those of hydraulic cylinders.

"Firstly, we were able to deliver a far wider operating window in extreme weather, which reduced downtime when the vehicles were in the field. Secondly, we were able to reduce the overall downtime even in average weather thanks to their position feedback. Thirdly, we were able to reduce the component costs as only the actuators and harnesses are required – no valves or plumbing."

The S-Track actuators feature a 180kg maximum dynamic and static load rating, 0.6cm/sec speed rating and a 40cm maximum stroke length with end-of-stroke limits. Enhanced control allows for 12 or 24Vdc switched power operation by turning power off to the motor automatically when the internal end limits are reached.

An integral MP150 Metri-Pack 8-pin moulded connector allows several standard input and output features to monitor the operation of the actuator – including motor thermal and current overload protection.


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