Thursday, May 18, 2017

Actuators power home and office automation

5/18/2017

Many of today’s highly-automated homes feature televisions that descend from the ceiling, curtains or shades that glide into place and wall panels that open to reveal rows of martini glasses or works of art.

How does that happen? It’s the result of unseen little workhorses called actuators.

I learned a lot about actuators when I browsed the website for Firgelli Automations, a company based in Ferndale, WA, that builds and sells a wide range of automation products for use in homes, businesses and industrial applications.

A good example of Firgelli’s products is its lineup of TV lifts. A lift designed to raise or lower a flat-screen TV from a cabinet can hold a TV weighing up to 135 pounds sells for about $600. A wall bracket with an electric swivel costs $90. And Firgelli has a $350 do-it-yourself kit that will drop a small screen down from a kitchen cabinet.  

When I worked for a large publishing company, we had desks that could be raised or lowered by pressing a button. The idea was to let everyone choose the a height that was most comfortable for them, one that would help prevent repetitive stress and back pain.

Some people would raise their disks to so high that they could work standing up.

It was actuators that made those desks work and Firgellialso has a line of ergonomic desks called E-desks. The line includes different leg configurations and a desk that incorporates a treadmill for people who want to walk while they work.

Other Firgelli products include brackets, controllers, motors, switches and slide rails.

The Firgelli website includes a collection of YouTube videos, like the one below, that show their products at work. In one video, a 7-year-old girl installs an actuator to raise and lower the lid on her toy box.

Visitors will also find other actuator projects described in the Firgelli blog and follow the company on Facebook and @FirgelliAuto on Twitter.






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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.

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