A linear actuator is an actuator that creates motion in a straight line. Typically a rotary motor is used as the source of actuation in conjunction with a lead or ball screw to create the linear motion. The motors can be either brushed or brushless.
Often a feedback device is built into the actuator to allow for position control. Sometimes a second feedback device is used on the rotary motor, allowing for dual-loop feedback. Implementing dual-loop feedback helps increase the motion control system’s stability by preventing position errors from backlash.
Linear actuators are found in many devices, such as large shop machines, desktop 3D printers, and large gantry systems. They are usually a less costly alternative to DC linear motors, the trade off being slower top speeds and more space required for integration. However, a motion control system with a linear actuator can be incredibly efficient and produce greater forces than those using a linear motor.
- Since screws are used to create the linear motion, linear actuators are capable of producing large amounts of force in a small package
ADVANCED Motion Controls' Capabilities
- Rotary motors are the actual source of motion, so setting up a servo drive for a linear actuator is just like setting up for a standard motor
- Linear actuators with potentiometer feedback are one of the few applications where analog servo drives can close the position loop without an external controller, creating a cost-effective and easy-to-setup system