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Five Things You Didn’t Know Actuators Did

Five Things You Didn’t Know Actuators Did

Electromechanical actuators play a major role in just about everything we do these days. They adjust the mirrors in your car, open your garage door and flush automatic toilets. Actuators are also used throughout the aerospace industry, which is becoming more electric every year.

For example, there are hundreds on the newest commercial airliners, doing everything from moving the flaps and other control surfaces, to lowering video screens and adjusting seatbacks.

Actuators are motors that move or control mechanisms or systems. Honeywell Aerospace’s actuation portfolio provides an abundance of applications for precision load management and motion control. Here are six other vital roles they play:

  • Docking with space stations – When NASA sends crews and supplies more than 200 miles above the earth, they expect a smooth arrival. Honeywell’s space actuation, thrust vector control actuators and electronic control systems ensure that happens. Built upon a legacy of more than 30 platforms, Honeywell’s space mechanisms are trusted by NASA and its primes for precision control in several International Space Station applications – including the NASA docking system.
  • Pointing antennas – In the age of connected aerospace, keeping antennas pointed in the right direction is critical. That’s just what Honeywell actuators do – on platforms as diverse as business jets and satellites. For example, actuators automatically reliably control satellite communications systems on jetliners, business aircraft and helicopters, enabling seamless connectivity with satellite constellations. In space, actuators are key to launch and satellite propulsion controls, solar array drives, antennae pointing and docking control.
  • Guiding missiles – Mission success depends on effectively reaching the target, so reliable steering-control actuators are critical to precise directional control for tactical missiles and guided munitions. Honeywell’s missile steering actuation and electronic control systems are the most precise and speed-responsive systems available today. By providing mechanical and electronic control of the missile’s primary steering mechanisms, they’re the solution of choice for interceptor and other strategic high-performance missiles.
  • Providing helicopter control – When it comes to keeping a helicopter flying steady, Honeywell’s pitch trim actuator keeps things under control. This high-performance, direct power application actuator responds to vehicle power inputs, using system commands to apply load and rate to the vehicle’s pitch surface. You’ll find it on the Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter.
  • Keeping the beverages chilled – Ready for a cold one? You can thank Honeywell supplemental cooling system actuators for providing cooling for food and beverage refrigeration in the galley. These actuators, also used for avionics ground cooling, have built-in redundancy with self-limiting, limit switches for end-of-travel shutoff.

So the next time you fly, sit back, and enjoy a chilled beverage. And don’t forget to thank an actuator!

Kathryn Kearney
Content Marketing Specialist
Katie Kearney is the global content marketing specialist for Honeywell Aerospace.

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