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How To Protect Your Actuator From Contamination

Contamination can be tough on your linear actuators. Airborne contaminants can work their way into crevices, causing premature wear and shortening your actuator’s life. Some solutions, like polyurethane seal strips, boast 100 percent protection from particulates as small as 10 microns in diameter. But in harsher environments, dust and debris can still find their way in.

Depending on the application, it’s important to know how to best protect your actuators from contaminants. The following are several options to consider.

Seal Strips And Bellows. Some actuators, like the ones in Rollon’s Actuator Line, contain built-in seal strips to protect the internal components from debris. Made from polyurethane, the strips in the ELM, Robot, and TH series conform to the contour of the aluminum profile to prevent foreign particulates, with a diameter of 10 to 1,000 microns, from getting inside. To protect the entire travel surface of the actuator, you can also use optional way-cover bellows.

Sometimes, however, strips and bellows may not be enough to fully prevent contaminants from entering the actuator. This is especially the case in harsher environments, such as metal foundries, wood-working environments, welding applications, postal and food processing systems and environments that utilize waterjet cutters. Because of the high concentration of very fine solid particulates, strips and bellows can become overloaded with matter build-up.

Positive Pressure System. That’s where air-purging comes in. In this solution, a hose is attached to a tapped hole on one end of the actuator. By applying air pressure, the seal is forced upwards for better engagement against the aluminum body, unblocking any micro-openings that may exist. This internal, positive air pressure system, combined with seal strips or bellows, ensures your actuator will be fully protected from debris and contamination, sparing you thousands of dollars of repair work and downtime.