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Worth knowing about cables and connectors for actuators

There are a few things to consider before deciding on an interface between your electric linear actuator solution and your industrial machine. Here you can learn about power cords and signal cables, various connectors, and how to obtain an optimal and reliable signal quality from your actuator.

For LINAK industrial actuators there are three cable types available: a separate power and signal cable, a single cable for both power and signal, and a Y-cable. In this video, our man Hunter Stephenson explains the difference between a power and a signal cable and how customisation can unlock the benefits of simple Plug & Play™ installation. 

A typical LINAK industrial power cable has a plug with six pins, spliced into two wires (brown and blue) with three pins each and with positive and negative power input. These power cables can handle up to 30 amps.

LINAK signal cables come with six pins – each with a specific colour according to their functions. For actuators with Integrated Controller (IC), the wire colours are always linked to the specific pin function. This makes it easier when connecting the cable to your machinery.

For actuators with a lower current consumption, a single cable can handle both power and signal. In other cases, the actuator will need either a separate power/signal cable or a y-cable. Having a separate power/signal cable increases flexibility when integrating the actuators. A y-cable transforms the two plugins in the actuator to a single cable for both power and signal in the other end.

To ensure optimal signal quality and to prevent power loss, it is recommended that you choose the shortest cable length possible.

When looking at linear actuator connectors, Deutsch DT or AMP Superseal are often preferred for LINAK solutions in industrial machinery. These actuator plugs are designed for use in harsh environments and the silicon rear wire and interface seals allow the plugs to withstand conditions of extreme temperature, adverse pressure or moisture conditions.

To retain the high IP level (Ingress Protection), it is important to take precautions and design the wire connection to the machinery so that the cable end is kept inside a closed, protected area.

For an actuator to comply with IP69K, there must always be an overmould at the end of the cable to avoid water spraying into the plug from where it might enter the actuator.

When deciding on a cable type to connect your actuator with your machine, always have this in mind: Define the cable requirements, remember to shield the cable, and avoid bending the cable. 

If you have any questions about cables and plugs for industrial electric linear actuators, feel free to contact your local LINAK office.

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