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From hydraulics to electricity: time for an update

Date: 29 April 2024

Blog Martin: FAQ's about electrical actuators

It is clear that the conversion of hydraulics to electric or electro-mechanical actuators is a relevant topic in mechanical engineering: my colleague Henry le Noble previously wrote an article on this subject and I answered the 5 most frequently asked questions about electric actuators. But of course there are many developments in this dynamic world. High time for an update.

To get straight to the point: I notice that many machine builders want to replace their hydraulic drives with electric or electro-mechanical actuators. They often come to my table, because they know that ATB has a significant 'track record' in this area and can show successful examples from practice.
And during those conversations we quickly get to the core: people want to innovate, but they also don't want to make the cost price of the machine too high. Understandable!

Machine builders must be able to sell machines 

An important and frequently heard argument from machine builders to fall back on hydraulics is therefore cost considerations. The idea is that people want to continue to compete against the competition.

And that is precisely where the greatest strength lies: because electric drive makes machines much more reliable and therefore makes the machine more valuable. And this puts you as a machine builder ahead of the competition.

The increase in value is truly a unique selling point for the buyers of your machines. We also often hear this from our customers:

  • Exlar's roller screw actuators are virtually maintenance-free and have a lifespan that is 15 times longer, even when operated 24 hours, compared to similar ball screws.
  • Every machine builder and customer wants reliability. These actuators are the best choice for demanding applications with continuous operation.
  • It is a flexible system that is suitable for any type of servo motor. Ideal when an existing hydraulic or pneumatic system needs to be convert.

In summary: it is an investment that pays for itself.

"Customers know that ATB has a successful 'track record' and can show practical examples."

Sustainability = key

A topic that has become increasingly relevant in recent years is sustainability. More than ever before, customers require your machines to operate economically, cleanly and efficiently on their work floor.

This also provides environmental benefits on these points: electric and electro-mechanical actuators are energy efficient and environmental damage due to oil leakage is excluded.

Successful examples

Examples of successful replacements? We have enough of those! Good cases include the replacement of the hydraulic drive on the gas valves of a gas turbine or an application in which blood bags are pressed.

It is good to mention that our actuators are also an excellent replacement for pneumatics, for example in the food processing industry. For example, our Exlars are used in a dosing application for pesto and syrup waffles.

I imagine that all these arguments sound good, but also raise more questions for you. Then you have come to the right place: please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to tell you more about all the possibilities!

Placed by: Martin van der Steenhoven

Martin van der Steenhoven

+31 297 38 05 54

Martin van der Steenhoven is working at ATB Automation since 2011. Martin is sales engineer linear motion for the Exlar roller screw actuators and IAI Industrial Robot actuators.


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We supply slewing ring bearings, oscillating mountings, tensioner devices from stock and we also have spiral bevel gearboxes, servo gears and electromechanical actuators in our delivery program.

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