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Posted on Dec 06, 2022 |10 min Read

Electric Actuators: Green solution against pneumatic and hydraulic actuators

Electric Actuators: Green solution against pneumatic and hydraulic actuators

As the industrial world becomes increasingly connected, the designer’s need for intelligent components that can communicate with each other and operate without the need for manual interaction is growing. 

Hydraulic- Pneumatic Actuators:   Pneumatic linear actuators consist of a piston inside a hollow cylinder. Pressure from an external compressor or manual pump moves the piston inside the cylinder. As pressure increases, the cylinder moves along the axis of the piston, creating a linear force. The piston returns to its original position by either a spring-back force or fluid being supplied to the other side of the piston. 

Accuracy requires expensive position sensing and precise electrohydraulic valving to implement.  It has a tendency to creep. 

Hydraulic linear actuators operate similarly to pneumatic actuators, but an incompressible liquid from a pump rather than pressurized air moves the cylinder. 

Electric Actuators: 

An electric linear actuator converts electrical energy into torque. An electric motor mechanically connected turns a lead screw. A threaded lead or ball nut with corresponding threads that match those of the screw is prevented from rotating with the screw. When the screw rotates, the nut gets driven along the threads. The direction the nut moves depends on which direction the screw rotates and also returns the actuator to its original position. 


Accuracy: Very repeatable (to ± 0,013 mm) and rigid, multi-stop capabilities 

Speed: Smooth, variable speed from 0 to 2 m/s with controlled acceleration.

Environment: Standard models rated for -30 to +70°C. Inherently clean and energy-efficient. 

Why Convert to Electric Actuators?

There are many reasons to switch from a pneumatic or hydraulic actuator solution to an electric one. Better controllability, reduced complexity and a smaller footprint are often the main ones. Less energy consumption, cleaner operation and reduced maintenance are others but often you will also experience additional benefits such as better performance, reduced downtime, and faster assembly and commissioning. 


Applications Examples of Electric Actuators: 

  • Lifting Devices, Fork Lifts Driver Cabins and other Material Handling Vehicles
  • Agricultural Vehicles
  • Staircase Lifts, Patient Lifts and Wheel Chairs
  • Testing in Garbage handling Machine
  • Antenna Positioning
  • Conveyor height adjustment
  • Synchronize Lifting


Selection Criteria of Electric Actuators: 

  • Load
  • Stroke Length
  • Cycle per minute and working hour per day
  • Applications

Manufacturer of Electric Actuators: 

Today, Thomson is the market leader for electric linear actuators used in the most demanding applications, including construction and agriculture vehicles.