How can you benefit from SMAC?
How can pneumatic distributors benefit from adding SMAC Moving Coil Actuators (linear servo motors) to their product line-up?
General trends – why linear motors?
There is a general trend in automation towards servo-controlled linear electric motors and away from fluid power.
A major reason for the shift is the ability to program the devices, as more and more automation systems are designed to be flexible. This flexibility is needed both for the adjustment capability for certain processes, and for the ability to rapidly change configuration in order to produce different items.
A linear servomotor makes adjustment of the working parameters - speed, position, force, etc. - a very simple matter. Pneumatic devices, in general, are manually adjusted. Since there is no real feedback (servo) capability, this adjustment is time-consuming and inaccurate.
Multiple position moves
Linear motors have the ability to move to any number of positions, while pneumatic devices are normally limited to two positions.
Precision speed control
Linear motors can move very quickly and decelerate at the end of the move. High-speed rapid cycle applications are very hard on pneumatic actuators because the primary means of deceleration, shock absorbers or air cushions, cannot be used in these cases.
Finally there is the cost of pneumatics, involving two things. There is the energy wasted each time an air cylinder exhausts pressure to the atmosphere, and there is the cost of setting and maintaining a pneumatic power producing system, such as compressors, air prep equipment, etc. The electric power grid needed for linear motors is already set up and maintained by power companies.
SMAC and Distributors – Why selling Moving Coil Actuators is a Good Idea
SMAC electric actuators are designed to help make the transition from pneumatic to electric an easy one.
The actuators are programmable in the following modes:
- Position: Variable positions can be programmed in. Positioning accuracy can be held to the micron level.
- Speed: SMAC actuators have accelerations up to 50G. They are actually being used to replace CAM driven machines and are matching the output of the CAMs on machines that produce 50,000 parts an hour. They also can move very slowly, move with very constant speed, and can repeat cycles with time variances of much less than a millisecond. (No stiction.)
- Force: This is a unique feature available on every SMAC actuator. Because of the force and precision movement with feedback, SMAC actuators open up new application areas for distributors, such as quality control, replacement of CAMs, replacement of older generation ball screw and belt-drive electric actuators, and even very precise movement applications primarily done up to now by Piezo and fine pitch ball screw actuators.
The CAL and CBL series looks like and mounts like air cylinders. This eases the effort to convince customers to make the switch. Often times, the SMAC actuator fits right in the same space the air cylinder occupies, making an upgrade of an existing machine possible without major changes.
Durability and quality
SMAC actuators are quite different from other linear motors in the marketplace. They are low wattage – the CAL units, for example, have maximum currents in the 1 to 1.5 amp range. If they are kept on maximum current for hours they will get warm but will not burn out.
They have 10x or more the cycle life of pneumatic devices. The only wear part is the linear guide. These all have built in lubrication features that result in cycle life from 100,000,000 to over 1,000,000,000 cycles - field proven!
"Snap-together" design requires no adjustment in the assembly, including the encoder. This means the actuators are manufactured with very tight dimensional tolerances. (Every critical dimension on every part is 100% checked using SMAC’s mini-CMM systems.)