Until now, our actuators have been limited to 5,000 rpm in our standard line of rotating actuators. But with advancements in technology we are now providing units for applications of 10,000 rpm and beyond.
What is a rotating actuator? Its interior design and construction are similar to standard lines of stationary actuators, but the rotating actuator, unlike the stationary models, revolves in application. Also, its applications are entirely different. It consists of an aluminum alloy body with a precision machined cylindrical chamber and a central splined end shaft on which vanes are fixed. Power is derived from either hydraulic or pneumatic pressure directed against the vanes which, in turn, rotate the splined shaft. This type of actuator maybe referred to as a Spinner. The entire actuator rotates or spins with the drive mechanism being tested.
The drive mechanism might be the transmission of a military helicopter. Say, the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The latest version of this helicopter has two GE T700 turbo shaft engines each producing up to 2,000 hp. The output of each engine is joined together through a sophisticated drive mechanism that powers the Apache two rotors allowing agile maneuvering. It is this sophisticated drive mechanism that needs testing. That is where our Micromatic rotating actuator is used. There are several test stands that take the drive mechanism through its paces. Each test stand has a rotating actuator installed that imparts a calculated amount of additional torque or load on the system. This ensures that the drive mechanism is ready to be used in production.
The type of actuator used in these test stands is hydraulic. In certain situations, it may be possible to use a pneumatic actuator. This brings up one more question. If the actuator is rotating, how does it receive the pressure to actuate or create torque? This is accomplished with the use of a rotary union. We use Deublin Rotary Unions with our rotating actuators. The Deublin product is mounted to the actuator and the union provides the transition from the stationary hydraulic or pneumatic inputs to the rotating actuator.
One of the key processes in the manufacture of a spinning actuator is that the unit is balanced to the rated rpm. All units go through an exacting balancing process insuring no disturbance to the drive line mechanics. This becomes more important as speeds increase up to and beyond 10,000 rpm.