The use of linear actuators to automate our surroundings has seen them develop and evolve over the years. New features, capabilities, and models mean we see automation in a multitude of settings from moving solar panels to track the sun to TV lifts.
This progression in their technology and applications is also seen in their protective features and ratings. IP ratings allow consumers to get an accurate representation of how highly protected an actuator is, enabling them to make an informed decision. This article will focus on the use of electric linear actuators in outdoor settings, how the actuators can be protected, and where you would typically see them.
Actuators: Moving the World Around Us
Since automation is all about making things move with close to no human interference, linear actuators may be called the very essence of automation. Their primary purpose is to propel the objects they are attached to into linear motion when instructed. To do that, different energy types (hydraulic, pneumatic, or electric) are utilized to cause physical linear displacement. Here at Actuator Zone, we specialize in highly precise, dependable, and adaptable electric linear actuators.
The most popular and ecologically friendly variety of these devices is an electric linear actuator which, due to its quiet functionality and high precision of positioning, is aiding automation in a multitude of industries, including people’s homes.
Automation can be seen in almost all moving appliances in our homes (windows, doors, cabinets, drawers, etc.) with recent automation developments occurring in objects such as TV sets, desks, kitchen islands, and even beds.
The developments in automation are also seen in the functionality and features of electric linear actuators. The improvement of environmental protection factors has proven paramount, allowing actuators to feature in all types of spaces. These capabilities are especially useful for outdoor applications of actuators.
A Linear Actuator for Outdoor Use: Designed to Last
If you want to automate the outdoor environment your choice should be a weatherproof linear actuator. How is it different from a regular one? It is manufactured to withstand adverse environmental conditions.
The latter usually includes high humidity, wind, dust, salt, and rapidly changing weather factors (like temperature or pressure). There are three ways manufacturers ensure the resistance of an outdoor linear actuator to harsh environments:
Immersing the mechanism in or spraying it with caustic detergents can create a thin film on the surface of the device that serves as a weather protector for the linear actuator. However, this method should be applied cautiously since such solutions can damage delicate elements, turning the treatment into poison.
Typically, stainless steel, as well as aluminum with special plating or oxidation, is used to manufacture a weather-resistant linear actuator.
If the construction of the device doesn’t permit utilizing extremely resistant materials, it can be encapsulated in housing. This is perfect for applications such as a linear actuator for a weather station, swimming pools, rooftops, and wood drying kilns.
Applications of Linear Actuators Outdoors
When appropriately protected against hard environmental forces, linear actuators that are weatherproof are extensively leveraged in a number of outdoor applications.
1. The Backyard and Garden Automation
Weather-resistant linear actuators are utilized in a number of outdoor applications. Examples include regulation of the indoor climate with items such as solar louvers, a cost-effective solution in comparison to air conditioning. Louvers can be both sandwiched between panes or mounted outside the windows – but in either case, actuators are employed to open or close them.
Yard and garden linear actuators offer a wide range of possible outdoor actuator applications – from lighting systems containing spotlights, floodlights, or landscape lights (or all of them in some combination) to watering network operations. The latter can include sprinklers, hoses, and drip systems that may activate and move automatically once they are equipped with waterproof linear actuators.
2. Marine Automation
This is one of the most rapidly expanding markets that display significant growth potential all over the world.
Linear actuators on yachts and ships can be found in many elements and systems including fuel tanks, automated hatch and engine covers, turbines, generators, air dampers, steering wheels, and so on. Actuators can also be used to mechanize on-deck furniture (tables, chairs, shelves, cabinets) in order to use less room in space-strapped premises of a craft.
Besides these applications, which are specific for ships, the marine industry experiences a great demand for waterproof actuators to be installed in water treatment plants, water separation systems, boilers, oil rigs, heat exchangers, and condensers.
Operations in this field are in dire need of weatherproof actuators since in agricultural processes, farming equipment is subject to harsh environments.
In seeding, harvesting, round baling, plant heading, grain auguring, mill grinding, lawn mowing, and other operations, machinery is exposed to dust and soil pollution.
In sprinkler systems and weed and pest control equipment, all moving parts should be waterproof. Weather-resistant actuators are essential in all of these cases.
4. Automotive Industry
The use of highly protected linear actuators in vehicles is extremely prevalent, particular for those that may be exposed to the elements.
These actuators are indispensable in applications such as snowplow adjusters, automated dumpsters, hoppers, bulldozers, construction and demolition vehicles, fire engine valve adjustment, RV awning and steps automation, and dozens of other applications.
Weather-resistant electric actuators are employed in numerous fields where working conditions are harsh and unpredictable. The IP rating of an actuator is an accurate teller of how well the actuator in question is protected and if it will be suitable for your proposed environment.
Actuator Zone offers a whole scope of quiet and reliable actuators that will handle any motion operations in harsh. Contact us to find out more or to discuss your application with one of our engineers!