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Advanced Pick and Place Systems Count on E-Actuators for Precision and Speed

Advanced Pick and Place Systems Count on E-Actuators for Precision and Speed

Since pick and place systems are increasingly tasked with performing more complex tasks at higher speeds, the linear actuators inside them must be up to the task as well. However, not all linear actuators are created equal. Many of today’s pick and place systems put demands on actuators that many conventional pneumatic or hydraulic units can’t handle.

Here are some of the high-performance characteristics that advanced pick and place machines typically require, along with the features that make electric actuators, or E-actuators, well-positioned to meet today’s pick and place requirements:

  • Precision and control. In electronics assembly, placement errors may create clearance issues in component-dense printed circuit boards (PCB) or lead to poor product quality. As a result, the actuators must deliver accurate and repeatable motion for precise placement every time.
  • Good load handling. Today’s multifunctional automated assembly machines handle many different parts or products, requiring actuators that will allow them to manipulate their various loads.
  • Network integration. To prevent unwanted machine downtime, connections to fast industrial networks allow real-time monitoring and problem detection.
  • Compact size. Pick and place machines are typically designed to take up as little floor space as possible in assembly lines. As these machines get smaller, compact size is a particularly attractive attribute for actuators.
  • Cost-effective. In any equipment used to optimize processes and floor space, cost-effectiveness is a high priority. That means the right actuator can help boost the bottom line.

E-Actuator Benefits for Pick and Place Machines

E-actuators offer pick and place machines these benefits plus many others. Built with an integrated stepper or brushless motor, E-actuators incorporate an encoder or other feedback source to accurately control force, speed and acceleration.

One such E-actuator, the Mech Series, boasts positioning accuracy as high as just ±0.01 millimeter. The series’ advanced ball screw transmission system allows the units to handle a wide range of dynamic loads and speeds with exceptional thrust performance. And, thanks to the AwareVu Industry 4.0 diagnostic system, they can be monitored for anomalies and vibrations in real time to allow for predictive maintenance. The Mech Series is available in sizes from 22 millimeters down to 16 millimeters.

Additional features include:

  • Flexibility. You can program E-actuators to adapt to each application’s stroke requirement.
  • Fast. E-actuators are capable of high speeds of up to 2 meters per second. This is a key consideration in pick and place systems.
  • Clean. Unlike hydraulic actuators, E-actuators don’t contain oils or fluids that may contaminate the environment, cause fires or need to be replaced.
  • Other. E-actuators are quiet, require little maintenance and have a long operating life.

Although electric actuators may cost more up front, this long list of features makes them a more cost-effective option for pick and place machines than conventional actuator types.

IKO is the U.S. distribution partner for Automationware. You can download our brochure on electric linear actuators at, or contact IKO at for more information.

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