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5 Tips for Extending the Life of Your Linear Actuator

Manufacturing | Power & Motion Technology | by DUFF-NORTON | Jul 04, 2017


Linear actuators should not be forgotten once installed. To get the most out of your machinery (and money), you need to maintain your actuators regularly.

Providing you take good care of your linear actuators, and you follow your manufacturer’s advice, they should be able to perform for as long as specified. In this blog post, we’ll give you some of the best tips for extending the life of your linear actuator.

1. Use the correct device

As obvious as it may be, ensuring that you purchase the correct linear actuator for your application is vital for future maintenance needs. First, identify what specifications you require by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are your travel requirements, in terms of distance, speed and frequency of use?
  • What load capacity do you require?
  • What voltage do you need to operate the actuator?
  • What environment will your linear actuator be working in? Will it be wet or dusty?

Using the incorrect linear actuator, or using an unprotected product in a harsh environment, can dramatically affect your product’s lifespan. To avoid the worst case scenario, make sure you know your application, understand what it is you’re looking for, and choose the correct product for the job.

2. Stick to the specifications

It almost goes without saying that you need to follow the product specifications if you want to avoid the cost of replacing a damaged actuator in the future.

No matter which manufacturer you purchase your linear actuator from, they should provide you with specific maintenance and installation requirements that you need to follow. In particular, you must stick to:

  • Mounting requirements. When installing your linear actuator, you must ensure you mount it correctly. Poor alignment could affect your product’s lifespan. Take a look at how you can mount your specific product here.
  • Duty cycle limits. A ‘duty cycle’ is the percentage of time an actuator is in motion relative to total time. For example, if the running time of your product is 20 seconds a minute, the duty cycle is 33 percent. To help extend the life of your linear actuator, do not exceed this limit.

Make a note of any other specifications, too, and ensure that they’re followed closely. If in doubt, contact your manufacturer for assistance or advice.

3. Perform regular maintenance checks

As we’ve mentioned, maintenance should not stop once you’ve installed your actuator. If you want your product to live its life to the fullest, you’ll need to look and listen for any changes in your actuator’s motions. Pay close attention to how your application runs when it’s new and note down any changes over time.

If anything doesn’t sound or look right, or if your product is not running as quickly or smoothly as it once did, there’s likely something wrong. Once you’ve detected the problem, aim to fix it immediately before it turns into a costly problem. 

4. Ask for help

Let’s face it; you’re probably not the world’s leading expert on linear actuators. But, fortunately for you, your chosen manufacturer will be.

If you want to extend the life of your linear actuator, make sure you ask for professional advice. Trust us when we say it’ll save you a dollar or two!

5. Buy some back-up products

Buying your linear actuator from a reliable and knowledgeable supplier will help to ensure your applications run longer. However, like any moving product that functions on a regular basis, linear actuators can become worn overtime.

So, to ensure you stay one step ahead and avoid downtime, purchase any additional components that may be required in future, such as: belts, ball screw assemblies and lubricant. It may even be worth buying a whole back-up linear actuator in the event of an unforeseen incident. After all, at the end of the day it’s better be safe than sorry.

Duff-Norton's XT Series Linear Actuator

Duff-Norton's XT Series linear actuator delivers safe operation with internal limit switches to stop motion at fully retracted and fully extended position. Featuring IP66 protection the XT Series is made to withstand the elements. Learn more and request a quote for your application today!

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Duff-Norton

As a leading engineering manufacturer of reliable industrial lifting and positioning products, Duff-Norton is comprised of individuals with in-depth industry experience. Articles authored by Duff-Norton belong to a collection of blogs written by product and application experts throughout the organization.

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