A linear actuator is a mechanical device that converts the motion of an object into a linear motion. The most common applications are to transmit motion from an end effector to another point in which a machine is used into an output point. Here are some of the advantages.
1. Noise-Free Operation
As it depends on fluid pressure rather than electric drivers, it operates without noise or vibration. It hence helps in performing a delicate task without causing any damage to other surrounding instruments or devices.
2. Easy Design and Fabrication
An actuator whose fluid is inert, having almost zero viscosity and negligible density, can be fabricated by using available machining tools at the lowest cost. Also, it requires less space than other actuators with high-viscosity fluids. Hence it finds ample use in small-length applications where space is a constraint.
3. Long Life
The linear actuators are manufactured using superior quality components, which are subjected to stringent quality control tests and hence assures a long life span of the machine. It increases the productivity and efficiency of the device in its operation.
4. Low Maintenance Cost
It needs less maintenance cost as it doesn’t require any moving mechanical parts that may cause failure or wear out because of friction or other reasons during its operation.
5. Versatile Application
It is widely used in industrial applications for linear motion, such as pick and place machines, assembly line equipment for a large manufacturer, robotics, machine tools, chip loaders, palletizers, air screws for the testing rig, conveyor belts, and many more.
6. High Accuracy
The heavy-duty actuator is used in high-speed applications where high accuracy is required. The servo controller with PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) technique gives the device high positional accuracy and repeatability.
Applications of Linear Actuators
1. Motion Control
They are designed to perform actions behind a machine that are not normally performed by the machine. For example, in the case of picking, the selector will tap on the product and move it, whereas, in the case of an assembly line, all these movements remain invisible to us.
2. Factory Automation
Automated systems take up a lot of vital resources, so it is important for us to make them automated by using automation modules with a mechanism such as gears and linkages, which handle any error or interruption in its operation. They can be used in this application to give a smoother operation and increase productivity.
3. Machine Tools
Linear actuators are widely used in big machine tools, the main manufacturing source. The machines need a linear motion to cut or punch holes in the metal sheets using a cutting torch or continuously drilling at high speeds. The highly powerful actuator makes it easier for machine tools to move and make their action smoother, increasing their performance and durability.
Types of Linear Actuators
1. Rotary vane linear actuators
It has a rotary vane that restricts oil flow. It is widely used in industrial devices as it is compact and has less weight. It also has high power and speed at a low cost. However, they have less pressure than that fluid-type linear actuators.
2. Fluid Operated (hydraulic) Linear Actuators
Using fluid pressure for its operation, the hydraulic system offers ease of control and versatility, suitable for many applications. Benefiting from mass production, its components are reliable and intricate. Beyond the primary devices, the system encompasses vital components like valves and regulators. Another example is the made-to-order hydraulic hoses, which are custom-fitted to ensure optimal performance in various industrial scenarios. The hoses’ flexibility and durability allow efficient power transmission, even in tight spaces and challenging environments. Actuators, such as hydraulic cylinders and motors, convert the hydraulic energy into mechanical work, driving various machinery components.
3. Electronic Linear Actuators
It combines a potentiometric circuit with a digital microcontroller, making it easy to control and operate. These actuators have high speed and precision with lower power consumption and cost than other actuators. Due to their complex control strategies, they are widely used in automated manufacturing machines for their accuracy, efficiency, and productivity.
Linear actuators are a great tool of modern technology widely used in various industries and many applications. They help convert motion from an object into the motion of a different object for their operation. With the progress of technology and advancement, the number of applications of linear actuators has increased with each passing day.