Thomson Linear Actuators Reduce Costs, Improve Efficiency and Boost Productivity in Tough, Mobile Off-Highway Applications

April 4, 2007
Thomson introduces ElecTrak Pro Series Electric Linear Actuators. ElecTrak Pro linear actuators are a zero-maintenance electromechanical solution packed with standard features that promise significant machine builder and user benefits, including quick and easy installation, superior accuracy, repeatability, reliability and advanced control over critical machine operations, with maximized machine uptime, and at an extremely attractive price point. “ElecTrak Pro Series linear actuators allow mobile off highway machine builders to build a better machine, faster. They bridge the gap between common linear actuators that can lack the robust performance demanded in tough mobile off highway (MOH) applications, and expensive precision linear actuators whose advanced operation and control options are attractive, but whose cost can leave MOH design engineers reaching for the hydraulics and pneumatics,” says Mark Maybee, Linear Actuator Business Unit Director. “OEM machine builders will benefit from a lower cost, easier to install, higher-performing solution that promises a significant advantage over the competition. End-users will benefit from improved control over critical machine operations, with superior accuracy and zero maintenance over the life of the machine, for significantly increased machine productivity,” he says. Unlike hydraulic and pneumatic alternatives, the ElecTrak Pro Series provides quick and simple installation and tuning, and requires no ongoing maintenance over the life of the system. They feature a compact design and short retracted length, coupled with a lightweight and high strength IP66 housing (IP67 protection is available as an option). As a result they are ideally suited for use in tough, space restricted MOH vehicle applications such as lawn and turf care, floor maintenance, utility and construction vehicles that can benefit from far greater performance and control than is attainable with the maintenance-intensive and simple ‘on/off’ functionality of hydraulics and pneumatics. Machine builders and users will realize significant improvements in machine productivity and efficiency with a plethora of advanced control features as standard. The built-in microprocessor provides Electronic Load Monitoring (ELM) to ensure long actuator life and maximum reliability in even the harshest of conditions. ELM continuously monitors all critical parameters and acts as an eletronic clutch, stopping the actuator at end of stroke and mid-stroke overload. ELM also provides dynamic braking for consistent, repeatable stops, and holds the load with power off. The microprocessor also includes a Signal Follower feature that can receive a signal from a remote potentiometer, or be used to sychronize multiple actuators. Control options include programmable limit switches that allow users to teach and repeat unique end-of-stroke positions, pulse width modulation (PWM) control for applications requiring variable speed control of the actuator, low level switching for direct control from a PC or PLC, and end-of-stroke indication. Optional feedback is either a quadrature Hall effect digital output or analog output by a linear potentiometer. A low voltage power switching option allows the actuator to be directly interfaced with programmable controllers without the risk of overloading sensitive, low-voltage components. It also allows users to utilize low cost switches to control the actuator rather than heavy relays, and permits a smaller wire cross section for the control circuits. The result is an easier, faster and more cost effective installation. The cover tube and extension tube are both stainless steel for corrosion resistance, and an integral nut support guide increases the allowed static column loading by 20% compared with traditional nut/screw designs for a stronger, safer and more robust machine. Electrical connections are integrated into the die-cast aluminum housing for a fast, secure connection. They are available in ball screw configurations with maximum thrust to 2000 lbs., and acme lead screw configurations with a thrust rating of 750 lb. When standard models don’t fit, ElecTrak Pro series actuators can be cost-effectively customized and configured to meet the most demanding application needs while offering cost-effective, market leading performance. Electric actuators are an increasingly attractive choice to replace hydraulic cylinders in mobile off-highway vehicles because they improve productivity and cut costs on several fronts. They eliminate bulky hydraulic pumps, cumbersome hoses and valves, and minimize environmental damage from unavoidable fluid leaks. Electric actuators increase operator safety and reduce fatigue with simpler, easier-to-use controls. Moreover, they can push and pull the heaviest loads and don’t depend on ancillary brakes, directional control valves or the load itself to hold position, as do hydraulic systems.