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Linear Actuator Frequently Asked Questions

Manufacturing | How To's | Safety and Training | By Duff-Norton | Mar 02, 2020

What are the advantages of using Duff-Norton linear actuators over other linear motion solutions?

Duff-Norton linear actuators offer a packaged solution to your motion requirements. The integration of the actuator and motor simplifies the process of specifying and purchasing components for your motion system. Also, Duff-Norton linear actuators offer many advantages over hydraulic cylinders when low maintenance, installation and operating costs and environmental impact are considerations. Regardless of how simple your requirements or how complex, Duff-Norton Controls are available for all electromechanical actuators and can be customized to suit your application. In addition, Duff-Norton's application engineers can help you determine which actuator best suits your application and environment.

Can two or more Duff-Norton linear actuators be synchronized?

Tandem actuators can be used in certain applications. Small differences in motor speed may cause the actuators to get out of synchronization. Use of clutch models allows alignment when actuator is extended or retracted. Contact Duff-Norton application engineers to discuss your application.

What is the difference between static load and dynamic load?

Dynamic, working, or lifting load is the force that will be applied to the actuator while it is in motion. Static load, also called holding load, is the force that will be applied to the actuator when it is not in motion.

What's duty cycle and how is it calculated?

Duty cycle, measured in inches per hour, is the total distance an actuator may travel (extension and retraction) in an hour with equally spaced intervals between each cycle. Duty cycle may also be expressed as a percentage, which is simply the ratio of on time to total time (on and off time). AC actuators operate between no load and rated load with very little change in duty cycle. In DC models, duty cycle is approximately inversely proportional to load (percent of rated capacity).

Are Duff-Norton limit switches pre-set?

Duff-Norton does not preset limit switches on its linear actuators.Limit switches allow you the flexibility to set the limits of travel on your actuator to fit your particular application. Easy to follow instructions are included in the installation manual, and you may phone the factory if further assistance is required. The customer is responsible for properly setting the limit switch in the unit. If the limit switches are not set, or are improperly set, the unit may be damaged during operation. In addition, limit switches may require resetting if the translating tube of your actuator is rotated manually, as this will change the limit switch setting.

What are side loading and eccentric loading, and why should they be avoided?

Side loading, or radial loading, is a force applied perpendicular to the actuator centerline. Eccentric loading is any force whose center of gravity does not act through the longitudinal axis of the actuator. Both side loading and eccentric loading should always be avoided as they can cause binding and shorten the life of the actuator.

What are the "Dos" and "Don'ts" of mounting Duff-Norton electromechanical actuators?

Duff-Norton linear actuators can be used in tension, compression, or combination applications. Eccentric and side loading should be avoided. Please consult the technical data sheets to ensure that all hardware used in conjunction with the actuator can withstand the maximum restraining torque.

What are the most common factors in the failure of a linear actuator?

Improper loading, failure to set limit switches, excessive duty and extreme environments may contribute to premature actuator failure.

Can I adjust the speed of a Duff-Norton linear actuator in the field?

No, typical lifting speeds at various capacities within the operating range of each actuator are graphed on the technical data sheets. Should you have an application which requires lower speed, our application engineers can recommend another model or, if required, one that is customized for your application.

Can Duff-Norton actuators perform complex tasks?

Yes. Complex positioning tasks can be managed through the use of position feedback devices and electronic controls.

What does the clutch do?

The friction disk clutch in Duff-Norton linear actuators is set to slip when the rated load limit of the actuator is exceeded. This is to prevent damage to the actuator due to jamming, or overheating resulting from an excessive load. The load will be held securely should the clutch slip. The clutch also allows end of travel protection, but is not designed to be slipped repeatedly. Select a Duff-Norton actuator with internal limit switches or install external limit switches; if a clutch model will be slipped repeatedly.

Do Duff-Norton linear actuators require maintenance?

Maintenance is minimal but Duff-Norton recommends periodic lubrication to maintain optimal performance. The installation and maintenance guide will give you specific instructions for your model.

Does Duff-Norton make larger linear actuators?

Duff-Norton's linear actuators are rated for capacities up to 2,000 lbs. Duff-Norton also offers a full line of mechanical actuators with capacities up to 250 tons, motorized actuators up to 75 tons. In addition, Duff-Norton also offers customized controls that may be used in conjunction with any actuation system.

How can I determine which Duff-Norton linear actuator is best suited for my application?

Technical information pertaining to each model is contained in individual technical data sheets (see enclosed literature request form.)

Contact Our Engineering Team For A Free Application Analysis

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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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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