Hydraulic or Electric Motors—Which One Should I Use?
The debate about which of the two kinds of linear actuators is better remains ongoing. Whether you're a believer in the electric orhydraulic motor, everyone can at least agree that both are designed to be used for the same tasks.
It can be tricky to try to draw out appropriate comparisons of the pros and cons in specific applications for which both types of linear actuators are used. So, to help you hold your own in the timeless argument of which type of motor is best, here's some information on how the two actually work and on the advantages and disadvantages of each.
In a linear actuator with an electrical motor, the motor is connected to a lead screw. Electrical energy is converted into torque by powering a rotating motion of the lead screw. As the rotating screw is driven along a threaded nut or lead, torque is generated. The nut is thereby moved in the direction of the screw rotation. In the same way, the actuator is then returned to its starting position.
- Electrically-powered actuators offer more precise and manageable positioning. Setups are easy to scale for all uses or required levels of force.
- Electric motors run quietly and smoothly and are simpler and faster to repeat)
- Reprogramming and networking of electrical systems can be done quickly, and they produce instant feedback to guide diagnostics and maintenance.
- Electrically-powered linear actuators are much more expensive than those with hydraulic motors.
- Not all work environments are suitable for electrical motors, which renders electrically-powered actuators insufficient for a vast range of industrial uses.
- An electrical motor cannot be run continuously without quickly overheating. When the motor overheats, this multiplies the damage from wear even on the reduction gear (the driven shaft).
- An electrical motor for a linear actuator is normally too large to install without significant difficulty in many work areas.
- An electrical motor is chosen based on the thrust force capacity and speed it can deliver to the actuator, in order to meet predetermined requirements for a given task. If another set of force and speed values are needed, then the motor must be changed.
Linear actuators with hydraulic motors work differently than electrically-powered ones. A noncompressible liquid is used to create pressure that makes the piston move inside the hydraulic cylinder. When the pressure is increased, linear force is generated as the cylinder moves along piston's set axis. To force the piston to return to its starting position, either the recoil-force is used, or addition of fluid into the other side.
- Hydraulic actuators are highly durable, reliable and suitable for a comparatively wider range of industrial and other applications requiring very high force.
- Even a comparatively small hydraulic actuator can generate spectacular amounts of force for its size (as much as 25 times more pneumatic designs in the same size range.
- An hydraulic actuator can perform across a much broader range of force and speed specifications than an electrically powered one of similar size.
- The hydraulic motor maintains torque and force at constant rates, without needing a pump to supply added fluid to increase pressure.
- The resilience of hydraulic designs, along with the ability to place motors and pumps long distances from the main components of the system, allows far greater flexibility for users and vastly increased applicability of the equipment.
- An hydraulic system requires numerous component parts, such as release valves, fluid reservoir, and sometimes even additional motors.
- Hydraulic systems come with the risk of occasionally leaking fluid.
- Leakage can cause an unclean work environment and possible damage, especially when using an insufficiently maintained hydraulic system.
So, What's the Verdict — Should I Use an Electric or Hydraulic Motor?
So, the comparative sets of advantages and disadvantages arguably weigh in favor of hydraulic motors for many major projects. Today's hydraulic systems provide among the most powerful and reliable linear actuators available for a seemingly endless array of industrial and well as domestic purposes.
At Aztec, we provide an unsurpassed selection of hydraulic motors for domestic and industrial for any uses and specifications. Our collective experience has brought our team to understand that the greater strength and adaptability, especially with the lower cost of a hydraulic linear actuator, provides a distinct advantage over the electrically-powered alternative.