Load Frame


  • Withstand up to a 10,000 pound load
  • Provide a means for testing candidate hardware in an environment that simulated the end use scenario
  • Allow for adjustable loading capacities on the linear actuator
  • Key components must be designed for use in both the test fixture and the end-use environment


The first requirement we had to meet was to ensure the fixture could withstand the 10,000 pounds of force exhibited by the linear actuator and air cylinder (which acted as a counter load). Thick-walled steel tubing was chosen for its high strength to cost ratio and used as the basis of the entire frame. To further reduce manufacturing costs, individual segments of tube were welded together instead of creating features for fasteners. Finite element analysis was performed on the assembly to ensure it would support the large load. Initial results indicated more strength was needed, so additional support plates were added to the assembly.

One of the purposes for creating the device was to evaluate methods for anchoring the load-bearing moment arm when maintenance was performed (during which the linear actuator is removed but the moment arm must be constrained from rotating). To accomplish this a come-along was incorporated, and a simple “hook and catch” mechanism used for the interface. A quick release pin was also used to pin the actuator to the moment arm, providing an efficient release mechanism for the actuator during maintenance.