An effective actuator is one that fits and performs precisely in a given application. In this context, precision refers to how well the actuator achieves the force and speed the application requires and to the precision of the actuator’s manufacturing. In other words, a precise actuator functions and fits as intended within the system for which it is designed.
An custom actuator designed using computer-aided design (CAD) software will be perfectly suited to its task. CAD models eliminate uncertainty about the fit and accuracy because they provide the most detailed rendering possible of the engineer’s intended design of the actuator.
The process of creating CAD renderings offers engineers a variety of advantages:
Speed of Design
CAD models provide the most detailed portrait of the system within which the actuator will function. This helps designers and engineers complete projects faster because all the relevant dimensions are present in the design context. CAD modeling also allows engineers to identify design or fitment issues early and easily, eliminating the need for expensive redesign and rework that can cause project budgets to balloon unexpectedly.
Building a CAD model can help the engineer or designer keep track of the most minute details of an actuator’s design. For example, a CAD model for a ram-style electromechanical linear actuator will come with the complete list of the specifications that the designer entered. This includes:
- Basic model number
- Protection level of the actuator
- Screw type and lead
- Drive configuration
- Stroke length
- Actuator mounting
- Rod end type
- Motor mounting plate
- Accessories, if any
This enables the user to make simple “apples-to-apples” comparisons between different configurations. Dimensions can be confirmed to the manufacturing tolerances, in some cases within a fraction of a millimeter, ensuring that the actuator mates appropriately with the larger device or machine for which it is intended. As a result, the engineer or implementer can be confident that the actuator presented in their chosen CAD software format will match exactly the actuator specified to meet the application requirements.
Hunt Valve Actuator’s Online Configurator
Hunt Valve Actuator Division offers a 2D and 3D CAD portal through their online product configurator to simplify our customers’ actuator design processes. This easy-to-use tool allows a designer or engineer to specify an actuator’s parameters through a short series of drop-down menus and fill-in questions to generate a valid part number. The options chosen for each field will determine choices available in the subsequent fields.
This configurator tool also includes several verifications that prevent users from specifying an invalid configuration accidentally. When all the options are chosen, a checkmark verifies that the actuator configuration is valid.
Once the actuator is configured, the designer or engineer can:
- Create a 2D or 3D visualization of the configured actuator
- Download a CAD file in dozens of industry-standard file formats, including a universal format
- Use the downloaded file in a full-scale CAD program and place it into a larger virtual device to test fit the actuator design
- Proceed to the cart to formally request a quotation and availability