Electric Actuators: Make or Buy

Who else could understand the needs of your electric actuator better if it is not you? Nowadays, you can buy various items that are ready made or opt just to assemble the parts and the fabrication required. Repairing or assembling your linear actuator is usually one of the most time and cost-efficient routes to automation of motion solutions. You can use with enough information for you to understand the concept. However, when you consider the amount of time spent far from other projects and the greatest chance of that hidden challenges and cost might come at the wrong time, then the approach loses some luster.

actuator1Electric linear actuators offer some solutions and challenges, different from any other drive components. For instance, there has never been any universally accepted standardization dimension for electric linear actuators, as there is with other power transmission components. Additionally, the technology of electric linear motion is not that much old since some of them drive technology and thus do not have that long application history.

A make-vs.-buy test

The following key point tests might help motion component designers to resolve the dilemma between make or buy.

1.    Time-to-market:

actuator2Can a person complete a machine by buying it or making a solution on the linear motion? Accelerating the introduction of new ideas and products is usually a prescription to survive in our current economy.

Can the system builder of an actuator develop the system faster than the way you can design and build it yourself? Or does the standards of actuators still exist that meet your need? If the new equipment that electric actuator is to serve will be used in the production time, then it is important to check whether the equipment is worth your company. If the machine you are building is for sale, see if you can buffer your client’s revenue through delivering the machine on time, or you can pay a penalty for any delays.

Before buying any electric motion system with the aim of reducing the development cycle, it is important to check for the lead time and the delivery time of the manufacturers, especially if the linear motion system is the most significant time to project completion.

2.    Expertise:

Do you have ample knowledge of designing a reliable actuator and do you see this as the best way of using your expertise?

Linear motion control is usually peripheral to any machine’s critical processes. No one else understands better than you the components that mostly affect your machine’s performance and which require better design and attention.

Additionally, if an actuators design will take much of your time away from other important projects, you may off source this subsystem. Some actuator designers offer modular designs that can be configured to meet your requirement

3.    True cost:

What is the real cost of designing a linear actuator, purchase part, assemble and support the system when functional?

From the perspective of an engineer, it usually appears that a person can build an actuator for less. It is important that you ask yourself this question before making the final decision. You need to put into consideration that cost of specifying and inspecting each of the components and the purchase price of each component.

Most actuator companies do not provide control to complete solution which in turn can complicate your job. However, some of the advantages of purchasing complete electric actuators are that it is ready to mount and run it. Remember to review whether you have given all the required information to receive a better recommendation from the supplier and also offer a cost-effective solution.

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