Fluid Power vs. Electric Actuators

Most aerospace companies are moving toward the replacement
of hydraulic or fluid power actuators with electric actuators.
Many have come to understand the great benefits electric actuators for aerospaceelectromechanical
actuation brings to the table making it an irreversible trend.

The benefits are extensive, offering quality
advancements for aerospace. Below are the comparable differences that make electromechanical actuators the superior choice for aircraft.

Cost
Electric Actuators are a single, Line Replaceable Unit (LRU). Hydraulic actuators require systems to deliver hydraulic fluid to the actuator. As a result, there are many parts, making overall costs much higher than electric. With electric actuators, there’s no need for additional fluid power supplies or associated systems.

System Size
Electric Actuation has only the actuator and controller while hydraulic systems include a pump, accumulator, filter, cylinders, valves, and hoses. It’s no surprise that electrical actuators are compact and weigh less, increasing efficiency and reducing emissions.

Efficiency
Another advantage electric has over hydraulic systems is that they only draw power when in use and maintain force even when the motor is inactive. Electric actuation is >85% efficient, while hydraulic systems are near 50%.

Control
Hydraulic has a low-frequency response making it less precise when comparing it to electric, considering electric is a simple control with precision position feedback.

Maintenance and Safety
When regarding maintenance, health safety also plays a major role. Hydraulic systems can have invisible high-pressure oil leaks and the flammable hydraulic fluid creates a fire hazard. To ensure safety, routine services are required. Electric uses clean technology and needs low to no maintenance.

It is clear why electromechanical actuators have been sought recently to eliminate hydraulic systems from aircrafts. They improve safety, efficiency, reliability, and maintainability using a proven design with simple control. We at CEF are glad to be producing quality electric actuation for all aircraft making the switch or those initially using these favorable devices.

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