What are the functions of electromagnetic actuators? And in which business sectors are they applied? From aeronautics to robotics, actuators are used in various markets. Subject to the latest innovations, electromagnets assist technological developments in order to adapt to new uses.
Electromagnetic actuators: varied and multi-sector functions
Actuate, hold and lock… These are the three main functions of an electromagnetic actuator. From these three states, actuators are listed in product families and ranges in order to fulfil a precise function and adapt to the target market.
They have a very wide and varied scope of use: Aeronautics, Automation, Automotive, Buildings, Defense, Energy, Industry, Medical, Robotics, Security, Transport, etc. All these sectors use actuators in their applications.
Depending on the specific nature of the market, the product function and the client’s requirements, actuators are defined in four major categories :
- Electromagnetic locks
- Holding magnets
- Electrodynamic actuators (voice coil)
As the name implies, electromagnetic locks have a locking function, whereas holding magnets serve as a building security retaining system. As for electromagnets, these allow for actuating security control systems. The function of electrodynamic actuators is similar to that of electromagnets, except that these allow for more specific adjustments.
In fact, electrodynamic actuators, known under the name voice coil, have additional functions, such as speed and position settings and frequency adjustment. Consequently, this latest generation electromagnet is widely used in high-precision technologies, as it allows for adaptation and extremely precise adjustment.
You can find the actuators in multiple applications due to their ability to adapt to multiple sectors.
A few examples of Mecalectro electromagnetic actuator applications
Electromagnets, electromagnetic locks and holding magnets are present in our daily lives, whether in locked access doors, on local and high-speed trains, aircrafts, cars, medical devices or even public places… Here are a few examples :
Aeronautics – Seat locking
The passenger seats in the Safran Seats business cabins are fitted with an actuator that locks the backrest during the plane’s take-off and landing sequences.
Automation and industry – Locking electrical vehicle charging stations
The cover and plug on electric vehicle charging stations are locked using an actuator system. One of our clients, Bluebus, uses our actuators to lock the charging cover on electric buses.
Defense – Missile locking
The pylons on the Rafale aircraft made by our client Dassault Aviation, are fitted with an actuator that allows the missile firing safety device to be unlocked and locked during flight.
Mechatronics – Electronic power control
The electronic control allows the electromagnet to be supercharged, thus reducing its bulk and its consumption. This is a system deployed in particular by Alstom in the rail industry.
Medical – Regulating ventilators
The air flow from the ventilator fan is regulated using an electrodynamic actuator with a mobile coil. Linked directly to the adjustment parameters, it allows for extremely short electrical and mechanical response times from the valve. The ventilators made by our partner Air Liquide Medical Systems were used during the Covid-19 pandemic to overcome the ventilator shortage.
Energy – Position sensor control
The sluice gate opening is controlled by the use of a target mounted on the gate and a sensor positioned on the outside of the electronically controlled hydraulic circuit. The command precision allows for limiting the volume of cooling water discharged and thus reducing the effects of pollution. This system is used in particular by Segault, a specialist in nuclear industry pipework.
Robotique – Electromagnetic grip control
This programmable controller, combined with electromagnetic modules, allows for adjusting the magnetic grip on metal parts of various shapes and sizes. Separation occurs with no residual remanence on the parts. It is intended for gripping, manipulation, handling and conveying applications. We have developed this solution for our Japanese partner Fujita.
Building Security – Compartmentalization
Malerba is one of our clients using our actuators that are rated for holding fire doors in public places (hospitals, hotels, retirement homes, schools, etc.).
Transport – High-voltage circuit breaker control
An actuator has been developed to control the high-voltage circuit breakers with a vacuum chamber installed in the roof of the SNCF high-speed trains. Its “on track” technology allows it to maintain a constant contact force regardless of the wear on the contacts.
By adapting to the various markets, actuators offer modulable specifications according to the various functions linked to the market applications. Consequently, electromagnets, holding devices, locks and other actuators are listed in a catalogue of standard products or are developed specifically to correspond to more restrictive environments, new emerging systems or specific requirements.
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Mecalectro has been designing electromagnetic actuators for over 70 years and assists companies that are essential operators in their sectors with their requirements in terms of electromagnets, holding devices and locks.