Hydraulic vs Electric Linear Actuators

Industrial automation continues to develop with each day that passes. Instead of relying on the standard hydraulic cylinder as a linear motion solution, more people are now considering electric high force linear actuators. As linear motion applications get more intelligent and the capabilities of electric actuators grow, there is an apparent need to analyze your application and determine whether a hydraulic or electric linear actuator is best.

Here are some differences between the two, to help you determine which may be best for your specific application:

Operating & Maintenance costs: These tend to be higher with hydraulic linear actuators than electric.

Efficiency: Electric linear actuators are much more efficient than hydraulic.

Acceleration: Acceleration in hydraulic linear actuators tends to be much higher while electric still has moderate acceleration.

Complexity: In electric linear actuators, control systems and motion components can work together in multiple complex configurations. Hydraulic linear actuators maintain a moderately complex system composition.

While these actuators have their differences, both have important similarities as well. For instance:

Both types of linear actuators are reliable, operate with moderate speeds and can be costly when initially purchasing.

While electric linear actuators have made advances over the years and are ideal for complex linear motion requirements, hydraulic actuation systems are still widely used for simple motion profiles with high force requirements. At the end of the day, the linear actuator chosen should best support the application and its needs.