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Linear actuator expands uses via on-board drive and I/O

08 November, 2021

The intelligent motion control specialist Columbus McKinnon has announced a linear actuator with an on-board variable-frequency drive (VFD) and I/O, allowing users to program movement patterns with variable speeds, and expanding its range of applications to include synchronising lifting tables, balancing loads on AGVs (automated guided vehicles), and timing critical steps in manufacturing processes.

The Duff-Norton SPA actuator with Intelli-Motion technology provides precision motion control and is claimed to simplify applications. The intelligent actuator is said to be easy to install, configure and operate, allowing systems to get up and running quickly and to perform reliably.

Other actuators require separate VFDs or contactor control systems housed in external control panels. The integrated VFD and onboard analogue and digital I/O in the Duff-Norton SPA actuator cut installation costs and footprints, and provide enhanced control and position feedback.

The actuator also has electronic programmable limit switches (EPLSs) that provide higher precision and an increased ability to repeat motions compared to mechanical limit switches. The EPLSs can be set using either a pushbutton on the actuator or digital configuration software. Operators simply connect the actuator to a PC to troubleshoot or adjust parameters.

“Getting the most from a motion system means finding the right linear actuator, one that works efficiently, is durable, moves the load safely, and operates at the desired speed,” says Mark Yerse, Columbus McKinnon’s senior global product manager and strategic marketing manager. “The SPA with Intelli-Motion can do all of that and more. It is robust enough to handle higher-duty cycle applications while providing precise, repeatable motions and feedback capabilities.”

Columbus McKinnon’s linear actuator has an onboard VFD and I/Os

The actuator increases the full-load duty cycle to 30% – up to 75% more than typical Acme screw actuators. It can also run at a duty cycle of up to 50% with reduced loads. This not only extends the length of time the actuator can operate, but also helps improve production rates and reduces the need for wait times or external forced cooling devices.

Optional Ethernet/IP connections allow direct connections to PLCs, extending the control options and configurations when programming complex patterns and motion sequences.

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