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Electric Or Hydraulic Motors Whats The Difference?

The arguments between two of the most popular designs of linear actuators have been raging for many years and it doesn’t look like there will be any resolution any time soon. Whichever camp you happen to be, either a supporter of the electrical or hydraulic motor style, you must admit that both designs perform the same function.

Each linear actuator has its own advantages and disadvantages which put them ahead of their peers in specific areas, but they can often be difficult to pinpoint and compare. Before you get into the argument of which is better, you should make certain that you know how they actually work.

How Do These Linear Actuators Work?

  • Electric Motors – An electrical linear actuator converts electrical energy into torque by connecting the motor to a lead screw, which is then rotated against a fixed ball nut or threaded lead. When the screw rotates, the nut is driven along the threads, thereby producing torque. The direction in which the nut moves id dependent on the direction of the screw’s rotation and also works to return he actuator to its original position.
  • Hydraulic Motors – These designs of actuators work in a different way. Pressure from an incompressible liquid causes the piston to move within the cylinder. As the pressure increases, the cylinder moves alongside the axis of the piston, which then creates a linear force. Either the spring-back force, or fluid entering into the other side, forces a piston to return to its original position.

Hydraulic Motors are some of the most reliable and powerful actuators available today, and are used in a wide range of domestic and industrial systems and machinery.

The Pros And Cons Of Electric And Hydraulic Motors

  • Electric Motors –
    • Advantages -
      • Electrical motors offer the most precise and easily controllable positioning. These setups are easily scalable for any purpose or force requirement.
      • They are quiet, smooth and simple to repeat.
      • Electrical systems can be networked and reprogrammed very quickly. They also offer immediate feedback for both diagnostic and maintenance purposes.
    • Disadvantages –
      • The initial cost of an electric design is much higher than that of a hydraulic motor.
      • Electrical motors are not suited for all environments, making them unsuitable for many industrial uses.
      • A continuously running motor will quickly overheat, which increases wear and tear on the reduction gear itself. The motor is typically very large and can be difficult to install in many areas.
      • The motor that you choose locks in the actuator’s force, thrust and speed limits to a predetermined setting. If a different set of values are desired, then the entire motor must be changed.
  •  Hydraulic Motors –
    • Advantages –
      • Hydraulic designs are reliable, sturdy and are well-suited for a wide range of high-force application.
      • They can produce incredible forces for their size; up to 25 times larger than similarly sized pneumatic designs.
      • Hydraulic designs allow for much more flexibility of structure, due to their resilience and their system’s ability to have pumps and motors positioned a great distance from the main system components.
      • A hydraulic motor can hold torque and force at a constant level without the need for a pump which supplies additional fluid/pressure.
      • With operating pressures of up to 4,000 psi, hydraulic systems can deal with a much larger range of system specifications.
    • Disadvantages –
      • Occasionally, hydraulic systems run the risk of leaking fluid.
      • Leakages can result in potential damage or an unclean working environment, particularly in poorly-maintained systems.
      • Hydraulic systems require many component parts, including a fluid reservoir, release valves or even additional motors.

Electric Or Hydraulic Motors – Which Is The Best For Your Needs?

Here at Flowfit Online, we offer an unbeatable range of hydraulic motors for both domestic and industrial applications of all specifications. We believe that the added strength, lowered price range and increased adaptability of a hydraulic system give it an advantage over an electrical alternative.

For more information, feel free to contact our friendly and helpful sales team on 01584 876 03301584 876 033. Alternatively, you can email our hydraulic specialists directly on, and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

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