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Replace hydraulics and pneumatics with …. servo?

Why are more and more engineers replacing their pneumatic or hydraulic drive system for a servo motor with gearbox?

We first list the advantages of both pneumatic and hydraulic drive systems. Then we explain why these systems are increasingly being replaced – for example in the automotive industry – for a servo motor gearbox combination. Apex Dynamics’ extensive experience with this transition means that we can provide our customers with excellent information about the possibilities.

Many processes in the industry still make extensive use of hydraulics and pneumatics. Hydraulics uses a fluid under pressure, while pneumatics uses compressed gases such as air. Both types can be used for rotary (motors, pumps) and linear (cylinder) applications.

And of course both drive types have their own advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of a pneumatic drive system

The advantages of a pneumatic drive system are:

  • Low cost of a pneumatic system. In addition, pneumatics is a reliable system.
  • A compressed air system is quite flexible and can be installed, applied and expanded in various ways.
  • Air pressure is non-polluting and clean, so it can also be used in the food sector.

PNEUMATIC disadvantage:

  • The hissing sound caused by the loss of air pressure through the valves.
  • Although the purchase and installation costs are low, the energy costs are often high. – In addition, there is a risk that the hoses used for pneumatics will leak.
  • Inaccurate movements and no “holding torque”.

Advantages of a hydraulic drive system

The advantages of a hydraulic drive system are:

  • It has a huge range of force. It provides constant power regardless of changes in speed.
  • In general, hydraulic systems are simple, safe and economical because they use fewer moving parts than other systems.
  • Hydraulic systems are safe to use in chemical plants and mines because they do not cause sparks.

HYDRAULICS disadvantage:

  • Handling hydraulic fluids can be messy and it can be difficult to completely stop leaks in a hydraulic system.
  • Hydraulic fluids are often highly corrosive and polluting.
  • Regular maintenance of the pump unit that supplies the pressure.

Servo motor with gearbox replaces pneumatic and hydraulic drive system

At Apex Dynamics we see more and more that pneumatics and hydraulics are being replaced by a servo system with a gearbox. The reason for this is that a servo-controlled drive knows its rpm, speed and position precisely. As a result, you can turn a “dumb” drive into a “smarter” drive where you can play with the speeds and positions in order to achieve a better, nicer, faster, or more accurate result.

Such a servo motor gearbox combination also requires little or no maintenance, the control, motor and gearbox are maintenance-free. There is no chance of leaking hoses or pipes and the settings are and will always remain the same. The annoying hiss of pneumatics or the hum of hydraulics is also eliminated. In addition, a servo system can perfectly fit into a mobile solution, due to its compact design and high efficiency.

For example servo motor gearbox combination in the automotive

We see the best examples of this in the automotive industry. The pneumatic and hydraulic drive systems of modern cars (for example the power steering, power brakes, hand-brake and clutch) have been replaced by small servo motors. This saves a lot of mechanics, and thus wear-prone hoses, toothed belts, V-belts and tensioning devices under the hood!

At Apex Dynamics we have already converted a wide variety of projects over the years from a pneumatic or hydraulic drive system to a servo-mechanical solution. Some examples: shears and press brakes, punching lines, cutting machines, bending machines. Are you considering this step for your application or are you curious about the benefits?

We are happy to tell you more about it!