5 Steps to Buying a Linear Actuator Online
Are you tired of wasting your time and money searching for the best quality linear actuator? Frustrated by actuators that look identical but in reality are not the same? here are our 5 Steps to Buying a Quality Linear Actuator Online, and we cover The Main Pitfalls of Buying a Linear Actuator Online
Firgelli Automations has been in the linear actuator business for over 20 years. We know actuators. We can teach you the right questions to ask to avoid common pitfalls people make buying linear actuators online. Your project is too important to risk on an actuator that may or may not work as promised.
Follow these 5 easy steps and you can be confident in your purchase of a quality linear actuator. We have also created an "Actuators 101" page for you, where we teach you everything you needed to know about Actuator.
1. Watch Out for Copy Cats
Not all linear actuators are the same even though they may look the same. You have probably noticed actuators available on other websites that look identical to the Firgelli line of Classic and Premium Linear Actuators. Some may even claim to have the same force and speed outputs. The truth is a lot of these may be using poor quality components which will impact the life of your actuator.
The main component to watch out for is the rubber on the Dynamic O-ring. The moving shaft on a linear actuator slides in and out of the main body. The O-ring creates the seal between these two faces. Without a quality rubber this will not happen, and the actuator will fail prematurely. A lot of imported linear actuators will cut costs by using cheaper materials that look the same to the naked eye. Firgelli Automations always uses quality rubber to maintain durability over the lifespan of the actuator.
2. Know Who You Are Buying From
Who you are buying from is just as important as how the product is made. We recommend calling the technical support number of a company with a simple question before you buy any of their actuators. This way you can make sure there will be someone available to talk to, who knows the products, if you have any problems. A lot of companies selling linear actuators are just re-sellers and they do not have employees with technical expertise or engineering background. They will not be able to help you if you have a serious issue with their actuator. Firgelli Automations has technical support available by phone or email to answer all your questions about our linear actuators and your own specific projects.
3. Find Out the Materials Used in the Components
Most retailers will claim their actuators are manufactured with top grade aluminum.
Why is this important?
The grade of aluminum alloy used in the manufacture of the actuator is directly related to the life span and integrity of the actuator. Aluminum is an expensive commodity so using a cheaper grade can save a manufacturer a lot of money. Firgelli Automations uses 6061-T6 aluminum alloy in all its actuators because of its high strength, light weight, and high resistance to corrosion. 6061 aluminum is aircraft grade – as good as it gets. How do you know for sure what grade of aluminum is being used? Ask to see the Material Certificate for that build number of actuators. Companies using this material will have a certificate to send you.
4. Verify the Data in the Spec Sheet
Many retailers will quote specs about force, speed and current draw and then sell actuators that won’t even come close to meeting those specs. Firgelli receives a lot of calls from people frustrated with an actuator they purchased elsewhere that was supposed to push 200 lbs force but can barely do 150 lb. Firgelli Automations actually de-rates all of our actuator specs so there is a 10-20% margin of error in your favor. Unfortunately for you there is no way to know if a retailer is providing accurate specs until it is too late. Being in the actuator business for 20 years, we stand behind our products and if we rate an actuator as having 200 lb force then it will likely do 240 lb. max. We don’t want our customers using our actuators at 100% of full load or full speed so we underestimate these values to ensure they perform above and beyond the standard quoted.
5. Insist on Consistency and Reliability
Not all actuators purchased from the same retailer will perform to the same standard. This is a typical problem we hear from customers who purchased actuators elsewhere. When they order a second actuator of the same force or speed it performs different than the first. We have even heard that a second actuator of the same stroke is an inch shorter! How does this happen? If a retailer is only concerned with providing the cheapest product possible they will import their products without ensuring proper quality control. Manufacturers are also trying to increase their margins so sometimes they will cut corners on a second lot, maybe by using cheaper materials. Or maybe by shaving an inch off a shaft which saves them money on expensive materials. While this may benefit a retailers bottom line it is bad for the customer who ends up with an actuator that won’t fit their application.
Now you know what to look for when buying your next Linear Actuator here are the links to some Firgelli Actuator - starting with our Premium model