Agriculture has seen a rising influx of automation. A wide variety of novelty mechanisms that simplify the work processes, increase efficiency, and minimize the risk of injuries, have become available to farmers and gardeners. These include electric linear actuators - devices that convert the rotational energy of an electric drive into linear translational movements. In simple terms, linear actuators are used for lift, push, and pull operations. Not a single combine, tractor, and other similar agricultural equipment can do without them. In particular, these mechanisms facilitate operations such as door opening/closing, lawn mowing, irrigation and seeding automation, tillage, harvesting, cleaning leaves or snow, etc.
Main Varieties of Linear Actuators
Depending on the type of primary converted energy, linear drives are distinguished into the following types:
Historically, agriculture has been dominated by hydraulic and pneumatic actuators. However, modern electric actuators can help to implement cost-effective, quiet, and environmentally friendly solutions upon high positioning accuracy.
Electric Actuators for Garden Tractor: Our Offerings
If an industrial linear actuator for a garden tractor loader is required, we have the perfect solutions. Our PA-13 has a 3,000 lbs force capacity with an IP66 protection rating, allowing it to withstand dust, water and harsh environments. Alternatively, if you require a higher force the PA-100 is ideal for moving heavy solar trackers up to 3,300 lbs dynamic force.
Other notable options are our PA-17 and PA-17 POT linear actuators, which are designed for heavy-duty applications. Closed-loop units deliver power from 850 to 2000 pounds and can handle static loads up to 4000 pounds! Each is equipped with a stainless-steel running gear and have an IP65 environmental protection rating. This makes them ideal for use on large agricultural machinery in most weather environments!
A variant that may be useful for the maintenance of a smaller garden is a miniature electric actuator for garden tractors. The compact PA-14 and PA-09 units are capable of carrying loads from 150 to 330 pounds. The more powerful PA-04-HS version can be used in harsh environments thanks to its IP66 protection.
Units can also be outfitted with feedback sensors that optimize the performance of the implemented motion control systems.
How to Install an Electric Actuator on a Garden Tractor
A lot of the industry's attention currently is focused on achieving the maximum possible productivity with minimum effort. In relation to this, agricultural tractors use drives that help with multiple tasks.
An important aspect to consider before purchasing is the analysis of the load and the fastening design. Electric linear actuators require no hydraulic or air connection, making them easier to position. Installation requires a device that can supply a positive or negative 12V DC power, such as a DPDT toggle switch, and a power supply. Thanks to our mounting brackets, the actuator can be mounted on any supporting surface. Low current consumption ensures compatibility with most control systems, modern plug-n-play boxes, and microcontrollers.
Things to Consider When Mounting a Linear Actuator
How do you use an electric actuator in a garden tractor? Regardless of which linear actuator is chosen, installation requires precision. Below we have highlighted some important points to consider when installing linear actuators. Note that most linear actuators are available with an engine support install kit, trunnion mount pin, or both.
Engine Support Installation
Upon such installation, the drive can be rotated freely around both ends of the motor as if it were hinged, with the pivoting action achieved with a shackle and pin. The ends of the motor are connected to the pins through a fastener that provides a seating surface. The connection can also be created using screw-on fasteners with pre-installed bearings. This extends the life of the units and ensures smoother rotation. A good example of applications to extend the life of the tractor is a linear actuator for a garden tractor snow blade.
Mounting Pin Installation
Mounting the linear actuator with trunnion pins ensures a secure grip for the outer casing of the actuator. The trunnion itself is bolted to a rigid surface. However, clip type brackets are better suited for applications where the actuator cylinder is not in contact with any surface and requires additional support for stability. Different types of plates and flanges are available that provide similar mounting. The plate/flange is secured over any part of the cylinder and can be bolted to the mounting base.
Elimination of Oscillation
Uncontrolled oscillation can lead to premature failure of the unit. Also, vibration is a source of noise, which can be quite uncomfortable. The best way to deal with the problem is to diminish it directly at the source or as close to it as possible. For this reason, it is advisable to install one of the mounts on or next to the engine/gearbox housing on the cylinder. This will prevent vibration from propagating to the shaft that is most susceptible to vibration failure. Nevertheless, it should be noted that this parameter is negligible in the case of short stroke 12V linear actuators.
Providing accurate positioning is an industry standard. The linear actuator with offset bearings can bend or twist easily. In both cases, reduced efficiency or the possibility of breakdown are real outcomes of poorly positioned actuators. The mountings must be parallel to each other concerning each plane of the actuator. Even the slightest angularity means that conditions inside the drive will develop that could damage its structural integrity. A possible solution is the use of a more reliable three-point mount. However, the two-point fastening is easier to adjust.
Although many drives have impressive environmental protection ratings, it is also always best to protect them from environmental influences. When deciding on how to install an electric actuator onto a garden tractor, opt for higher positions. The device will then be more secure against scattering dirt and water residue, especially on damper days. Installing the actuator vertically will also prevent dust and water from accumulating over the mechanical seal.
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