VISTA, California - Jan. 29, 2014
Life critical applications like ventilators, heart valves, military smart weapons platforms and high speed target tracking, require devices that possess indestructible ironman endurance and a guaranteed life span impervious to failure. Equipment manufacturers developing these types of devices need to know that their equipment will last millions of cycles to ensure viability in real-life applications.
50 million cycles is a big number but was exactly the challenge BEI Kimco engineers undertook to validate their Voice Coil Actuator as a true triathlon champion of actuators for customers where millions of life cycles are required. To accomplish this, BEI Kimco built a permanent life testing station to assess and substantiate actual actuator life cycle capabilities. Initial testing included two of BEI Kimco’s Linear Voice Coil Actuator families and resulted in successful completion of over 50 million life cycles.
“High life cycle operation is a key requirement for countless types of equipment in mission-critical applications,” explains to Jim McNamara, BEI Kimco Senior Applications Engineer. “Many customers have been seeking linear actuators that can withstand long and continuous running life. Our test results can now assure them that these actuators will meet or exceed their life cycle requirements.”
Actuators tested were the LAS 13 and LAS 16 housed actuators with built-in feed back sensors. Flexible circuits and bushings, both potential causes of failure, as well as materials of construction, passed the high-speed oscillation, weighted load test. The load consisted of the actuator being placed on its side so that the weight of the coil and shaft would wear against the bushing. The objective was to run the actuator at full stroke at maximum continuous duty cycle rating without overheating. With the successful test validation, design engineers now know they can depend on these actuators to fulfill long life cycle requirements for not only mission critical applications, but other applications requiring long life cycles, such as environmental stress testing, semiconductor and industrial automation.
Each BEI Kimco actuator family includes an unhoused actuator, housed actuator, semi-housed actuator and actuator with integral sensor, bringing the total number of actuators capable of 50 million life cycles to eight. BEI Kimco’s new testing station will be in continuous operation to further test other actuators in the line.
BEI Kimco’s voice coil actuators features all the inherent advantages of voice coil technology including direct-drive operation for highly accurate motion. Other advantages of this type of technology include high acceleration, absence of commutation, and excellent resolution limited only by the encoder used for feedback.