Generally, stepper motor linear actuators are available for standard stepper motor sizes (NEMA 8, NEMA 11, 14, 17, and 23 motor frame sizes), single or double stacked, with a variety of motor winding options and linear resolution options ranging from 0.063 to 7.5 μin of linear travel per step. Available offerings may differ in their ability to handle radial and moment loads, capability to integrate other devices, visibility of rotating parts, mounting options, and customization capability, so it is wise to consider your needs in these areas before purchasing one.
Radial and moment load handling. Although most related applications involve axial loads, a properly fitted system should be able to achieve radial or moment loads of five to ten percent of the axial load. If your application requires radial and moment load handling, look for actuators with integrated bushings or other features that provide this ability for “side load.”
Integrating external devices. There is certainly a trend toward integrating multiple devices to improve control and reduce maintenance costs. It may, for example, be desirable to attach linear encoders to the back of the stepper motor. To keep this option open, avoid assemblies in which the screw extends out the back of the motor.
Mounting. If you are replacing existing motors, you can save yourself some trouble by purchasing a motor with NEMA-standard bolt-hole patterns. Hole positions can always be customized but starting with the NEMA standard will save you trouble on initial purchase and into the future.
Customization. In addition to bolt-hole pattern customization, customization options include end machining, wiring, cabling, and connectors.
If you have skilled resources in-house, building your own anti-rotational guidance for your integrated motorized lead screw actuator might have some short-term cost advantages; however, purchasing an integrated stepper motor linear actuator will get you into production faster and provide more accurate and reliable motion, while reducing longer-term maintenance and total cost of ownership.
Friday, December 13, 2019
SELECTING THE RIGHT LINEAR ACTUATOR BUILT-IN TECHNOLOGY
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