If we have a tracking system placed in a tough desert environment with occasional sandstorms and temperatures that go as high as 50C, which actuator would be better: a hydraulic piston or an electric motor with a gearbox? My main concern is performance and resistance to conditions
The main concern in the design is the exposure of a high tolerance surface to the elements. Both systems can be made very robust. The hydraulic system would need a shroud to protect the rod from damage. Additional rod wiper rings would be a good idea too.
The electrical motor with gearbox would be very easy to protect and would be the most reliable if it is only transmitting rotation motion. If it is transmitting linear motion like a hydraulic piston the lead screw or ball screw will need to be protected in the same way as a hydraulic cylinder. It will require more dust protection to have the same reliability as a hydraulic cylinder.