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Industrial Automation and Motion Control Blog | The Knotts Company

Reduction of Costs Using Electric Actuators

Posted by Mark Guida on July 30, 2012 09:54 AM

In today's high-paced, tight-fisted economy, cost savings and efficiency are keys to a company's success.  This is particularly true in manufacturing.  For many years pneumatic cylinders have been the staple of motion axes in machines; they are cheap, quick, and are capable of high force outputs.  

Today, however, many applications require moderate forces with high precision positioning, which is something you simply can not get from a pneumatic cylinder.  To be fiscally efficient, companies will purchase a single type of machine and make it adjustible to fit most, if not all, of their products.  Unfortunately, mechanical adjustments between product changes can be tricky and may take a lot of time to complete.  Electric actuators allow for 'infinite' positioning, on the fly, so there's no real down time.  Theoretically, you could run random products through the system and the electric actuator could automatically adjust the stroke each time.  A nice feature.  Below is an example of an application where this automatic setup is being used and increased production efficiency by 7%.

Application – A ROBO Cylinder system that removes filler hoses from industrial beer barrels after the barrels have been filled with beer at a brewery.

ROBO Cyliner Electric Actuator Beer Hose Automation

Air CylinderROBO Cylinder
The stopper position must be changed every time the beer barrel size is changed. The line had to be stopped 10 minutes for this change.


Setup Change Time – 10 minutes

Setup Change Frequency – 3 times/day

Monthly Production Time


Stop Time = 10 minutes x 3 times/day = 30 minutes/day = 10 hours/month

Production Time = 8 hours x 20 days – 10 hours = 150 hours

Since the ROBO Cylinder allows for quick setup change using a single switch, the line no longer needs to be stopped.


Setup Change Time – 0 minutes

Monthly Production Time


Stop Time = 0 hour

Production Time = 8 hours x 20 days = 160 hours

Explanation – (160 hours – 150 hours) / 150 hours = 0.07 – Approximately 7% increase in production efficiency.

Obviously, these numbers are not indicative of future performance on any other operations but it certainly shows what you can save by switching to an electric actuator when positioning is required. 

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Topics: cost savings, automation solutions, robotics, improvement, electric cylinder, automation