A linear actuator is a part of motion control systems. Various forms of energy like mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic are used for running these actuators. Linear motion actuators find maximum usage in factory automation and robotics.
There are various forms of energy that run actuators. These forms of energy include, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical and electrical. Linear actuators are used a lot in robotics and factory automation.
Linear motion actuator is used for converting rotational motion into linear motion. There are different types of motors like DC brush, stepper and induction motors that can be used as linear actuators. Usage of these motors varies according to the requirement of the application and the load capacity of the actuator.
For example, if a linear actuator is using integral horsepower AC induction motor, it can be used to convert the motion of large valves in refineries. Because, in such cases high speed and force are more important that the move resolution and accuracy of the actuator.
Principle of operation is the basic concept behind design of linear servo actuators. Most of the electro-magnetic actuators come with lead screw and lead nut; whereas, others come with a ball nut and screw. In both the cases, screw is either connected to manual control knob or to the motor directly or via series of gears.
Some of the lead screws come with multiple starts, which mean many threads alternating on the single shaft. This makes more space for adjustment between screw and thread pitch that defines the load carrying capacity and extension speed of the motor.
Because of extreme competition, manufacturers are making integrated actuators that are efficient, simple and also improve the over functionality.
What make linear actuators better in comparison to other motors are their faster speed, higher accuracy and greater acceleration. These are used for gantry axes, general purpose position, gantry axes and assembly machines. Linear stages are specially meant to be used in adverse conditions and act as replacement against other hazardous actuators for performing the job.
Other than linear actuators, DC actuators are also used for performing similar applications. These run smoothly and don't produce much noise. Many DC actuators available in the market are water proof. Buyers can opt for standard as well as customized range of actuators depending on their need and budget.