Solutions in Motion™

    What's the Difference Between a Mechanical, Electric, Hydraulic, and Pneumatic Cylinders?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Feb 20 ,2019

    When choosing the best type of actuator for your design, there are several variables to consider: What you need to move, how you need it to move, and under what conditions. 

    Your four choices are mechanical, electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic. The difference between these cylinders gives each one distinct advantages and disadvantages when used for certain applications.

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    Topics: Pneumatic Cylinders

    Pneumatic Cylinder Repair: Should I Fix it or Replace it?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Feb 13 ,2019

    At W.C. Branham, we take great pride in the quality of our products, which are built to last. Nonetheless, wear and tear is inevitable. Pneumatic cylinders, used in industrial applications or in heavy machinery, often face extremely demanding working conditions. They are constantly moving, often fast and under tremendous force.

    Contamination and inadequate lubrication are two of the leading causes of pneumatic cylinder breakdown. Operating outside of the specified pressure range can also damage seals and/or rods.

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    Topics: Pneumatic Cylinders

    When Do You Need Stainless Steel Gearboxes?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Jan 30 ,2019

    Nothing looks more professional than stainless steel gearboxes. They’re so shiny and clean-looking. And that might actually matter if your working environment sees visiting guests or official inspectors. Other equipment that needs re-painting or a new powder coating can make the entire facility seem sub-standard.

    But a pretty face isn’t enough, especially in certain industrial applications. You need gearboxes that can perform reliably as spec’d, for a long time, with minimal fuss, so there are serious functional reasons to choose stainless steel gearboxes.

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    Topics: Right Angle Gearboxes

    How 3D CAD Design Software Helps us Customize Actuators

    Posted by Troy Branham on Jan 23 ,2019

    Computer-aided design (CAD) software is such a great tool, especially because we can use it to design products in 3D! Our engineers can create, analyze, and modify any potential actuator — in some cases without ever having to manufacture a prototype. This is a huge boon for us and our customers.

    Here at W.C. Branham, we do a lot of custom work. Although we make a tremendous variety of actuators with a wide range of configuration options, every industrial design is different. So, you could say almost every product we sell is customized in some way, even if it wasn’t uniquely designed from scratch.

    Here's how we use 3D CAD design software to customize actuators.

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    Topics: Custom Manufacturing

    How to Decide Between Hydraulic and Pneumatic Actuation for Your Project

    Posted by Troy Branham on Jan 16 ,2019

    Fluid power can be complex. There are a lot of variables to consider when deciding what type fluid will be best to power your project. Should you choose hydraulic actuation that uses an oil-type fluid or pneumatic actuation that uses compressed air?

    Here is a quick guide for picking the right kind of actuation for your project.

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    Topics: Hydraulic Cylinders, Pneumatic Actuators

    When and Why Would You Need an Air/Oil Intensifier?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Dec 5 ,2018

    Hydraulic caliper disc brakes can be an excellent choice for many industrial applications, especially those that require clamping or similar high-force movements. But what if compressed air is your only power source? An air/oil intensifier can convert low-pressure into high pressure in instances where a hydraulic pressure system is not available or where hydraulic pressure is too low.

    That means you can spec hydraulic caliper disc brakes even for applications where there will be no hydraulic system pressure source. An air/oil intensifier, also known as an air-to-oil booster, can operate using standard shop air, which is typically 80-100 psi.

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    Topics: Caliper Disc Brakes

    Why Pneumatic Rodless Cylinders are Ideal for Passenger Train Doors

    Posted by Troy Branham on Nov 14 ,2018

    Passenger train doors have to work smoothly, quietly, safely, and reliably. Often, they have to function in extreme conditions, where heat and/or humidity are very high, or temperatures are well below zero. They have to endure constant vibration and frequent shocks, no matter how well-maintained the railroad tracks. And passenger train doors are heavy. This is a job for pneumatic rodless cylinders.

    Here's why pneumatic operating systems are the ideal choice for both internal and external passenger train doors.

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    Topics: rodless cylinders, Pneumatic Cylinders

    Ask the Engineer: Custom Manufacturing Process Q&A

    Posted by Troy Branham on Oct 31 ,2018

    Our catalogs contain thousands of brakes, gearboxes, and pneumatic cylinders, yet that doesn't come close to matching the demand for fluid power parts. In fact, almost 40% of our business comes from custom design, ranging from slight modification of catalog products through completely new designs to match a customer's needs.

    So, how long does it take to order custom products, and what information do you need to get started? We tossed those frequently asked questions at the man behind our custom manufacturing process, WC Branham VP of Engineering and General Manager, Chad Randleman.

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    Topics: Custom Manufacturing

    9 Real-World Applications for Electric Linear Actuators

    Posted by Troy Branham on Oct 24 ,2018

    You know that linear actuators move loads in a straight line, forward and/or backward. You know they can be powered by hydraulic fluid, compressed air, or electricity. Each type of actuator has its own pros and cons. So, when should you use electric linear actuators? They are quite versatile. Here are some examples.

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    Topics: Insider

    Electric Linear Actuators: What Do They Do?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Oct 17 ,2018

    Full disclaimer: W.C. Branham Inc. does not currently manufacture electric linear actuators. Instead, we manufacture many different types of pneumatic and low-pressure hydraulic linear actuators for over 35 years. So then, why write about electric linear actuators? Simple: We’d like to give you a few things to think about when you are trying to decide if going electric is right for your next application.

    As the name implies, a linear actuator moves a load of some kind in a straight line. You can use hydraulic or pneumatic power or electricity to operate linear actuators, but we’ll take a closer look at the electric option. How does it work? What can it do? And how does it differ from other options?

    Here's what you need to know about electric linear actuators.

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    Topics: Insider