Posted by Mike Greig on 4/30/2020
Selecting a linear actuator manufacturer can be a critical part of the product design process. Building a relationship with a high-quality manufacturer that you can rely on can save you major headaches down the road.
How can you tell that an actuator manufacturer is the type of business that you can build a long-term relationship with? I've listed a few questions below that you should consider when selecting a supplier.
Do they actually manufacture their products?This is critically important, especially in the actuator industry. There are several companies that are not producing their own products, rather, relabeling products purchased offshore and selling them under their brand name.
While there's nothing unethical about this practice, there are some major disadvantages to purchasing from this type of company including:
PricingYou are going to pay more for the product. The company in the middle needs to make a profit. If you're buying in quantity, you should consider whether you're getting your products from the source, or from a reseller.
Quality control can be an issues if you're not buying directly from the manufacturer. The company in the middle is depending on the manufacturer to produce and ship good products. While this may not be an issue, it's wise to ensure that they at least test their products prior to shipping them to customers.
CustomizationA reseller is unlikely to be able to offer much in the way of modification or custom actuators. If they didn't design and build it, it's unlikely they they will be able to help you much with regards to customization.
How long have they been in businses? Can you depend on the company to be around in the years to come for service, support and future orders?
Do they have a broad range of products?You want to get your product to market quickly. It's important to work with a manufacturer that offers a broad range of products in different sizes, force capabilities, stroke lengths and control options. This both enables you to try different devices to decide what will work best for your application, and makes it less likely that you will need to have a custom product designed.
Can they offer customization options?If there isn't an off-the-shelf product available to suit your needs, can your manufacturer work with you to customize an actuator for your application, or even produce an entirely new device?
A quality company will be able to work with you to develop a custom linear motion solution for your needs.
Are they willing to offer volume discounts?Now more than ever, companies are looking for ways to save money. When considering an actuator manufacturer, make sure to look into their volume discounts. A good manufacturer should be willing to offer some level of volume discount to high-volume customers.If you're buying actuators by the tens, hundreds or thousands.
At Actuonix, we will go out of our way to earn your business. We can work with you to find ways to reduce your costs including:
- volume discounts
- bulk packaging
- eliminating included accessories that you don't need
DocumentationYou're probably going to need more information to integrate an actuator into your design. A reputable actuator supplier should be able to offer you datasheets, 3D files and drawings to assist you both before and after your purchase.
Actuonix Motion Devices offers all relevant documentation for our actuators right on the product page. You don't need to ask us for the info as its all right there for you.
Do they offer other, relevant products?Can they offer controllers, switches, wires, alternate end-tips, remote controls and other means of controlling their products? What about control boards, power supplies and linear slide rails?
An actuator is the heart of your linear motion assembly, but you may need other, relevant products to make your project come to life and sourcing things from multiple suppliers makes more work for you. Make sure that your manufacturer can offer all of the linear motion components you need.
We all know that it's infuriating to purchase a product and have it stop working shortly after. This experience can be made much worse if the company who sold you the product refuses to stand behind it.
Do they stand behind their products?
Defective Actuonix actuators are rare as we test every single device for quality before shipping it out to the customer. We also offer a 180 day warranty to protect you against defects.
As with any purchase, you want to ensure that you're buying from a business with an established track record of quality products and great customer service. This is why you need to check into a company's reputation prior to purchasing from them.
How is their reputation?
What's their rating on Google? Do they have a rating on Facebook? Do they have any testimonials from existing clients, particularly volume customers?
Online reviewers can be harsh, and unfortunately, unhappy customers are often more likely to review than satisfied ones. That said, look for themes in reviews. Are there a lot of issues with quality control? Unavailable customer service reps? Do they sell on other platforms such as Amazon or Ebay?
At Actuonix, we take pride in our high level of customer service and customer satisfaction. If you're in the market for micro actuators for your product, we would be happy to help by working with you to find a cost-effective solution to your linear motion needs.
Contact us today for more details.