How does a Linear Actuator work?

Linear actuators work by moving an object or piece of equipment in a straight line, moving an object extremely accurately and repeatably if required. The primary reason for designing a linear actuator right into a system is for the necessity to move a payload in a linear fashion rather than a rotary one. As most conventional electrical motors are rotary, a linear actuator is used to convert rotary motion to linear motion.

The electric motor is generally connected to the linear actuator by a versatile coupling or a belt, enabling the motor to be mounted either axially or perpendicular to the linear actuator. Quite a lot of motor sizes can be mounted to those actuators relying on requirements.

Linear actuators have incorporated linear bearings that support the moving payload, as well as rotary bearings that assist either the lead screw, ball screw or belt pulleys. This then allows them to operate as ‘stand-alone’ gadgets, making them straightforward to mount into present machines and eliminating the need to design/manufacture very expensive custom parts. To extend the load capacity and stability of a linear actuator system, they can be paired up with the payload carried between them, comparable to in an XY gantry model stage. In this case, a shaft or belt is commonly used to keep the two actuators in sync with each other.

Options of Linear Actuators

Linear Actuators have the next options:

High repeatability

Positioning accuracy

Easy operation

Lengthy life

Easy upkeep or maintenance free

Protection rankings available for some models

Suitable for harsh environments

Compact design

Rugged and reliable

Safe operation


Industries and applications for Linear Actuators

Linear Actuators can be used in numerous applications that require a load to either be lifted, lowered, pushed, pulled, rotated or positioned. Linear Actuators are utilized in industries together with:


Food processing

Industrial vehicles

Factory automation

Materials dealing with

Clean energy



Machine instrument





Types of Linear Actuators

Picking the correct type of linear actuator on your motion application will help you achieve one of the best results. Lead Screw Actuators, Ball Screw Actuators and Belt Actuators are three types of linear actuators that can be utilized in various applications to produce motion.

A Lead Screw Actuator makes use of a plain screw/nut arrangement to translate the rotary motion from a motor to linear motion. A manually pushed screw or an AC induction motor are probably the most commonly used strategies to supply the rotary motion, as they’re generally used in low price and low precision applications. The ability of the actuator to ‘back drive’ is reduced over ball screw actuators as a result of low effectivity of the screw/nut. In some applications, this might be an advantage as it helps to keep the payload stationary whilst not in motion. Applications embody agricultural equipment and manual lift systems, the place safety and reliability are more critical than precision and performance.

A Ball Screw Actuator uses a high precision nut with recirculating ball bearings that rotate around a ground screw thread. In precept this is very similar to a typical ball race with the load being transmitted by the rolling balls. The significant advantages of this system are high-precision and low friction, giving a really efficient technique of changing rotary motion to linear motion. Stepper or servo motors are generally used to produce the rotary motion. Ball screw actuators are well suited to repeatable indexing and fast cyclic applications similar to machine instruments, scientific instruments and medical systems.

Belt actuators work the place a belt is carried between two pulleys and hooked up to the moving carriage, then because the belt rotates the carriage is pulled alongside the actuator. One of the pulleys is driven by a motor which is generally mounted perpendicular to the actuator and coupled utilizing a versatile coupling. They offer a comparatively low-price various, as they inherently have a lower degree of precision. Belt pushed linear actuators are excellent for lengthy travel and high linear pace applications reminiscent of packaging and automatic materials dealing with systems.