Thursday, 30 April 2020

Things to Consider When Selecting a Linear Actuator Manufacturer

micro linear actuator manufacturerSelecting a linear actuator manufacturer can be a critical part of the product design process. Building a relationship with a high-quality manufacturer that you can rely on can save you major headaches down the road.

How can you tell that an actuator manufacturer is the type of business that you can build a long-term relationship with? I've listed a few questions below that you should consider when selecting a supplier.



Do they actually manufacture their products?

This is critically important, especially in the actuator industry. There are several companies that are not producing their own products, rather, relabeling products purchased offshore and selling them under their brand name.

While there's nothing unethical about this practice, there are some major disadvantages to purchasing from this type of company including:


Pricing

You are going to pay more for the product. The company in the middle needs to make a profit. If you're buying in quantity, you should consider whether you're getting your products from the source, or from a reseller.


Quality

Quality control can be an issues if you're not buying directly from the manufacturer. The company in the middle is depending on the manufacturer to produce and ship good products. While this may not be an issue, it's wise to ensure that they at least test their products prior to shipping them to customers.


Customization

A reseller is unlikely to be able to offer much in the way of modification or custom actuators. If they didn't design and build it, it's unlikely they they will be able to help you much with regards to customization.


Reputation

How long have they been in businses? Can you depend on the company to be around in the years to come for service, support and future orders?


Do they have a broad range of products?

You want to get your product to market quickly. It's important to work with a manufacturer that offers a broad range of products in different sizes, force capabilities, stroke lengths and control options. This both enables you to try different devices to decide what will work best for your application, and makes it less likely that you will need to have a custom product designed.


Can they offer customization options?

If there isn't an off-the-shelf product available to suit your needs, can your manufacturer work with you to customize an actuator for your application, or even produce an entirely new device?

A quality company will be able to work with you to develop a custom linear motion solution for your needs.


Are they willing to offer volume discounts?

Now more than ever, companies are looking for ways to save money. When considering an actuator manufacturer, make sure to look into their volume discounts. A good manufacturer should be willing to offer some level of volume discount to high-volume customers.If you're buying actuators by the tens, hundreds or thousands.

At Actuonix, we will go out of our way to earn your business. We can work with you to find ways to reduce your costs including:
  •  volume discounts
  •  bulk packaging
  •  eliminating included accessories that you don't need

Documentation

You're probably going to need more information to integrate an actuator into your design. A reputable actuator supplier should be able to offer you datasheets, 3D files and drawings to assist you both before and after your purchase.

Actuonix Motion Devices offers all relevant documentation for our actuators right on the product page. You don't need to ask us for the info as its all right there for you.


Do they offer other, relevant products?

Can they offer controllers, switches, wires, alternate end-tips, remote controls and other means of controlling their products? What about control boards, power supplies and linear slide rails?

An actuator is the heart of your linear motion assembly, but you may need other, relevant products to make your project come to life and sourcing things from multiple suppliers makes more work for you. Make sure that your manufacturer can offer all of the linear motion components you need.


Do they stand behind their products?

We all know that it's infuriating to purchase a product and have it stop working shortly after. This experience can be made much worse if the company who sold you the product refuses to stand behind it.

Defective Actuonix actuators are rare as we test every single device for quality before shipping it out to the customer. We also offer a 180 day warranty to protect you against defects.


How is their reputation?

As with any purchase, you want to ensure that you're buying from a business with an established track record of quality products and great customer service. This is why you need to check into a company's reputation prior to purchasing from them.

What's their rating on Google? Do they have a rating on Facebook? Do they have any testimonials from existing clients, particularly volume customers?

Online reviewers can be harsh, and unfortunately, unhappy customers are often more likely to review than satisfied ones. That said, look for themes in reviews. Are there a lot of issues with quality control? Unavailable customer service reps? Do they sell on other platforms such as Amazon or Ebay?

At Actuonix, we take pride in our high level of customer service and customer satisfaction. If you're in the market for micro actuators for your product, we would be happy to help by working with you to find a cost-effective solution to your linear motion needs.

Contact us today for more details.
Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Servo Actuators vs. Linear Actuators - What's The Difference?

If you're searching for a linear motion solution for the first time, you might find yourself a little bit confused that there are several different terms used to describe what appear to be identical products: linear actuator, servo actuator, linear servo and several others. 

This can be confusing and my aim here is to clear it up and help you understand what is meant by 'actuator' vs 'servo'.


It's important to know that other than the connection cable, all of the differences are internal. Linear actuators and linear servos are indeed identical when viewed from the outside. They function exactly the same way, in and out.

So what's the difference between an actuator and a servo?

An actuator operates in the same manner as an electric motor. When power is applied, the motor will spin, and when power is removed, the motor will stop. Actuators are exactly the same. They are simple devices that only recognize on or off. They are incapable of position control on their own.

A servo actuator is different in that it can receive a command to go to a specific position, and then act on that command. It's not a simple power on-power off equation. A servo can be told what to do and then do it on it's own.

servo actuator

Though they look the same, they're actually quite different in how they function. This makes them ideal for different applications.


Actuators are ideal for projects and situations where what you need is the same range of linear motion all the time. You can apply power and it will extend until the end-limit switch shuts off the power. Reverse the polarity and the same will happen in retraction.


Linear servos are ideal for more complex applications where you need the device to respond to an external command for a certain position. This is how standard RC servos work.

A linear servo must have 3 or more wires. Power, ground and a signal wire to tell the servo what position it should go to.

Looking at the pictures below, it's easy to understand how some might be a little confused.



servo actuators

So to summarize, an actuator is a simple device that can not complete a task without being told to do so, and a servo actuator is 'smart' in that it can accept an input signal and go to that position on it's own.


It's actually fairly simple, but this distinction can cause some confusion. I hope this article has helped you understand the difference and hopefully give you the foundation you need to choose the best device for your application.


Need some help choosing the correct device for your next project? Give our sales department a shout, they would be happy to help you!