Waterproof actuators are the ideal solution for environments that may expose an actuator to water or other hazardous fluids. In this article, we will be discussing when an actuator can be considered waterproof, the relevant IP classifications, how we make them waterproof, where we can use such actuators, and the solutions offered by Progressive Automations. This information provided in this blog should help you select the right linear actuator for your application while providing basic knowledge about waterproof actuator technology.
Waterproof vs Water-Resistant
The term “waterproof” is the ability of a device or component, such as an actuator, to prevent water ingress that can potentially damage it. It is often confused with similar terms like “water-resistant” and “water repellent” which are also used to define some ability to prevent water ingress. For clarity, a water-resistant device is built to make it difficult for water ingress into the device. It is a lower level of protection against water when compared to waterproofing and is typically what you would find on wristwatches. Progressive Automations’ solutions of water-resistant actuators include the PA-04 and the PA-09. Water repellence, on the other hand, offers better protection with coating materials on the device that makes it “repel” water. The surfaces of waterproof actuators can be said to be hydrophobic. We will take you through our waterproof solutions later on in the article!
Waterproof Linear Actuators & IP Ratings
In engineering, the term ‘waterproof’ has a bit more technical definition. A device is considered waterproof based on the level of liquid ingress protection. This level is classified by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard 60529 and European standard EN 60529, and is known as the IP Code, Ingress Protection Code or sometimes International Protection Code. An alphanumerical code is assigned to the device and it defines the level of liquid ingress protection the device has based on conducted tests. The possible ratings vary from 0 – 9 with 9 representing the highest form of protection test conducted. There are additional supplementary alphabets used to describe special ratings in the IP code. For an actuator to be classified as waterproof, they need to hold an IP67M rating or higher.
How Does Waterproofing an Actuator Work?
Waterproofing is the process of protecting a device such that it prevents or resists the ingress of water or remain unaffected by water. Linear actuators are waterproofed by using a combination of tight seals, packing, waterproof wrappings, membranes, and special water repellent coatings and materials. The method of waterproofing depends on the part of the actuator. Electronics parts are tightly sealed in casings and electrical wirings are protected with water repellent insulation. The electric motor is waterproofed with a seal and packing on the rotating shaft and with a waterproof bearing. The most vulnerable part is the extending shaft which is tightly fitted with near-zero clearance to the actuator casing. A low friction seal holds the extending shaft by the casing ensuring waterproof without compromising functionality. The surface of the actuator parts is sprayed with a water repellent coating. After the waterproof actuator is developed, it is tested under varying conditions and given an IP Code based on the performance.
Progressive Automations’ Solutions
Progressive Automations offers 2 types of solutions for waterproof actuators. Our industrial waterproof linear actuators are tested and certified using the IP Code. Depending on the purpose of your application and the degree to which the actuator will be exposed to water, the right selection of the actuator can be made. We present the 2 types of waterproof actuators on offer below.
The PA-06 is an actuator with a rating of IP67M, enabling it to resist any ingress of dust and any ingress of water at a depth up to 1 meter for 30 minutes while in operational motion. This means that the linear actuator can extend and retract while it is underwater. This particular motion function underwater is denoted by the supplementary letter “M” in the IP code. It is common to use this waterproof electric linear actuator in agriculture, marine industries, and other types of industries. This industrial waterproof linear actuator can be mounted with a bracket set specially design for the model. The mounting bracket set for PA-06 (Model: BRK-06) is lightweight, durable and allows for 180 degrees of rotation. Other accessories include the shaft mounting bracket for PA-06 (Model: BRK-16), which can have several of it mounted on the shaft of the actuator depending on the length.
Waterproof Electric Linear Actuator IP67M (Model: PA-06) and its accessories
When there is a need for a higher rated waterproof actuator, the waterproof electric linear actuator IP68M (Model: PA-10) is the right choice. PA-10 has the highest protection rating of Progressive Automations series of products. An actuator with a rating of IP68M will resist any ingress of dust and any ingress of water at a depth of 1 meter and above (generally up to 3 meters) while in operational motion. Also, it has a weather protection rating of IP69K that means it can withstand high-powered water jets while not in motion. Small waterproof actuators such as the PA-10 has a high force rating with a compact size, making it suitable for application in the automotive industry and others such as marine and agricultural industries. This actuator works with the BRK-09 mounting bracket. Both of the waterproof actuator models are compatible with most of our control systems.
Waterproof Electric Linear Actuator IP68M (Model: PA-10) and it's accessory
Applications of Waterproof Actuators
From controlling nozzles for fountain displays to snowblowers, waterproof actuators find many applications both at home and in the industry. There are two general conditions in which waterproof actuators are required:
- The actuator is fully submerged in water.
- The actuator will be exposed to damp or humid environmental conditions, with the possibility of water splashes or water jets.
In both conditions, water ingress would normally damage an actuator through electrical short-circuiting or mechanical wearing and rusting. A waterproof actuator will prevent this water ingress, thereby increasing the life span of the device. The environments where waterproof actuators are applicable can vary from swimming pools and kitchens and laboratories with water as an operating fluid to industrial applications and marine operations.
Certain environments contain dust, water, and general fluids that can be hazardous to linear actuators. To ensure continuous high-quality operation of a linear actuator in all environments, they may require an extra layer of protection through waterproofing. Waterproof linear actuators are rated by international standards using the IP Code. Depending on the rating, a linear actuator can resist the ingress of dust and water and also ensure motion while fully submerged. It can also resist high jets of water making it suitable for different industries such as marine, automotive, agricultural industries, etc. Make sure the IP rating of your actuator equips you for the environment it’s being used in!