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Total cost of ownership – Actuation comparisons

01 April 2019

There has been a wide debate in the industrial press in recent times regarding the comparisons of hydraulic and electric actuation.

It would appear that the performance and cost analysis, the two factors which have driven decision making for decades, are not the only features on which to draw comparisons in today’s environmentally conscious world. 

Motion Control Products has seen a steep leaning towards electric actuation in recent years. The performance and system cost may be comparable in certain situations. However, environmental compliance and other factors has favoured the move away from hydraulics for an increasing number of their clients.

Many actuator customers of Motion Control Products are in scientific, food, packaging and other such “clean” environments. Companies in such sectors do not normally favour the presence of hydraulic systems, which can be prone to leakage, when there is an alternative system which offers comparable performance and cost, but with no risk of contamination.

There are other benefits to the user in choosing electric rod actuation too. The footprint and system components required for hydraulic systems means that more floor space will be consumed in comparison to an electrical system. Electric rod actuators work from a servo drive which is only a fraction of the size of a typical hydraulic power unit, and they do not need hoses, fittings, filters, valves and other components. The electric actuator is built from a power screw and bearings and needs electrical leads, possibly a gearbox and a drive/amplifier, which is usually mounted in a control cabinet. 

Read the full article in the April issue of DPA

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Drives and Controls 2020