Drives and Controls Magazine

Actuators tell you when they need maintenance

01 September, 2006

Actuators tell you when they need maintenance

SKF has developed a chip-based monitoring system for linear actuators that gives a clear indication when the actuator needs preventive maintenance. The system, built into the actuator, uses three LEDs to show when the device is operating normally (green), when it has reached a preset point in its design life (amber), and when the design life has been reached or exceeded (red), indicating that the actuator needs to be overhauled or replaced.

The system collects data about the actuator`s running time and operating load and compares these in real time with the device`s design life. The red LED can be supplemented by an audible alert.

More sophisticated versions of the monitor can connect to a PC, PDA or mobile phone, allowing data about the usage and loading of the actuator to be downloaded for use in maintenance planning, or for later analysis.

The monitoring system is housed inside a standard-sized actuator, making standard and monitored versions interchangeable.

One of SKF`s first products to use the monitoring system is its Runner series of actuators which cover force capacities up to 12kN in three sizes, with stroke lengths from 100-700mm, and full-load operating speeds up to 7.5mm/s.