Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-5

Applications
Long-life actuators are best suited for
applications in which the capability to perform
frequent back and forth or transport-type
motion extensively is more
important than complex, high-precision
movement. This includes clamping, positioning,
blocking, diverting, or any basic
application where linear motion can be
deployed to improve/automate a process.
For example, fixturing the weldment in
place for a robotic welder often requires
frequent manual positioning, clamping,
or rotation on multiple axes. The more
often the fixturing needs adjustment, the
more potential benefit can be gained
from putting actuators on those axes.
Long-life actuators also contribute to
improved ergonomics for operators. Just
as electrically controlled seats on automobiles
optimize seat comfort for drivers,
assembly line operators may use an
actuator to adjust a conveyor or workstation
height to improve ergonomics and
reduce workplace injuries.
In an increasing number of factories,
conveyors are being supplemented with
automated guided vehicles (AGVs). In
an automotive plant, for example, AGVs
might deliver doors, hoods, hinges, bolts,
and other components to an automated
assembly line on a 24/7 basis. Actuators
could be deployed in numerous lifting,
loading, and positioning applications
that previously could not have been actuated
cost-effectively. The high-duty-cycle
option on mobile applications such as
AGVs, which are often powered by contact
with magnetic floor strips, also opens
new possibilities for motion designers.
As the cost, reliability, and flexibility
benefits of long-life actuators become
more apparent, designers will likely consider
automating axes/functions that
previously had not been feasible. Just as
automobile seat controls were once
available only for driver's seats on top-ofthe-line
models, some newer models
have electronic controls on every seat,
front and back.
Freedom to Actuate
McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimates1
that more than half of all current
manufacturing activity is spent in
" predictable physical " activity that can
benefit from automation, with some
applications such as welding, cutting,
and soldering having automation po -
tential exceeding 90%. Taking advantage
of this emerging opportunity will
no doubt require some complex, highprecision
actuation, while other opportunities
may not. The emergence of
long-life actuators gives motion system
designers more freedom to choose
actuation strategies that are best for
their application.
This article was written by Travis Gilmer,
Product Line Specialist - Linear Actuators, at
Thomson Industries (Radford, VA) and Ian
Miller, National Services Business Develop -
ment Manager at Motion Industries (Calgary,
AB, Canada). For more information, visit
http://info.hotims.com/79416-280.
Reference
1. McKinsey Global Institute. (2017) A
FUTURE THAT WORKS: AUTOMATION,
EMPLOYMENT, AND PRODUCTIVITY.
MGI-A-future-that-works-Executive-summary.ashx
(mckinsey.com).
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 1
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 3
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov3
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov4
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-3
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-4
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-5
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-6
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-7
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-10
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-13
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-31
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-32
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-33
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-35
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-36
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-37
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-38
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-39
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-40
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov3
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov4
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