Electromechanical Actuators with Embedded CAN Bus Support Mark New Era of Clean, High-Performance Operation in Mobile Off-Highway Applications

Thomson Industries, Inc.
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Actuators with embedded CAN bus controls create new application design options

As electromechanical actuators become more intelligent through support of the Controller Area Network CAN bus networking standard, equipment designers now have more design options to address the specific needs of agricultural, construction and other mobile machine applications.

The Electrak HD from Thomson with embedded J1939 CAN bus option can lead to dramatic improvements in performance and maintenance. Benefits include:

• Plug-and-play interchanges of supporting devices that share the same network.

• Power is distributed across a common wiring bus, eliminating the need for separate wires between each device and the power source.

• Switching is embedded in the actuator electronics, removing the need for external switching and connectors.

• Superior position control, enabling consistent, reliable position memory.

• Low-level power switching improves safety and allows for actuator commands using low-level electronic signals.

A recent technical article which can be found on the Thomson website details these benefits.

Controller Area Network (CAN) bus network in mobile off-highway applications
Controller Area Network (CAN) bus network in mobile off-highway applications

Although the CAN protocol continues to grow in importance amongst industrial automation and mobile machines, there is no doubt that the mobile off-highway market is where CAN bus version J1939 will be predominantly used.

Typical CAN bus network, illustrating four actuators with built-in CAN bus-compliant intelligence

A typical CAN network supports up to 256 nodes, including multiple actuators or other devices on each node, something that would be all but impossible with a conventional network.

Material handling applications like AGVs benefit from smart linear actuators

The Thomson Electrak HD, with its built-in J1939 CAN bus capabilities, makes it easy to build intelligent logistic systems such as the material handling train shown here.

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