About Linear Actuators

About Linear Actuators

An Authoritative List of the Best Linear Actuator Manufacturers Available

Linear actuators are devices that are utilized by an array of industries to convert nonlinear energy into linear motion. They are powered by a wide variety of energy sources including pneumatic, mechanical, hydraulic, electro-mechanical and piezoelectric. Each source of energy has its own particular conversion mechanism. The main goal of these devices is basically to convert small nonlinear energy into linear motion of increased magnitude to be used for a particular process, machine or application. Examples of applications range from giant hydraulic rams to DVD tray openers. Different designs allow actuators to work in almost any kind of environment including underwater, corrosive, cryogenic, radiation and vacuum environments. Different types of actuators are classified considering four main factors; size, output, potential and power requirements.

The most utilized method of classification for linear actuators involves the method used to convert energy into mechanical linear energy. For example, a DC actuator converts DC electrical energy to provide mechanical linear motion, whereas 12 volt linear actuators follow the same process, but with 12 volts of energy. On the other hand, ball screw actuators convert rotary motion into mechanical energy to produce mechanical linear motion. This is done through a combination of ball screws and ball nuts. Hydraulic actuators utilize some sort of hydraulic fluid and pneumatic actuators position control valves using linear motion by converting various forms of energy, normally air pressure, into mechanical energy.

Other types of linear actuators include valve actuators, which supply linear movement to valves by using an assortment of screw assemblies. Servo actuators maintain the proper functions of another mechanism or equipment part by providing position control, utilizing linear motion. Miniature linear actuators are used in small spaces that require large payloads and electric actuators convert electricity into mechanical energy. An example of compact, simple and efficient devices is rotary actuators. These devices rotate an output shaft through a fixed arc to produce oscillating power. It can produce high instant torque in either direction, requires limited space and simple mountings. Basic linear actuators, also known as electromechanical actuators, use electrical power to achieve mechanical force through linear actuators. Despite the many different types of linear actuators and the energy sources used to power them, they all pursue the same objective, to create linear motion by convert some form of energy.