Linear Actuators And Linear MotionLinear Actuators And Linear Motion

Mechanical energy is an area of science that is making strides every day. The study of how actuators produce mechanical motion by converting various forms of energy into mechanical energy is a source of great exploration. Science finds new ways to make use of actuators every day including for medical purposes. Many scientists believe that the more they study these seemingly simple machines, the more they will discover ways of helping mankind.

The way in which a linear actuator works is that there is a motor that rotates a drive screw using a synchronous timing belt drive. Some linear actuators can also use a worm gear drive or direct drive. Which ever the choice, the turning of the screw pushes a drive nut along the screw, which in turn pushes the rod out and the rotating the screw in the opposite direction will retract the rod. According to the Association of Sciences, the drive screw is either an ACME or ball thread or is belt-driven which is what gives the machine its motion. A cover tube protects the screw nut from environmental elements and contamination thus allowing for the machines use continually without the chance of it getting gummed up. Radial thrust bearings permit the screw to rotate freely under loaded conditions and gives the linear actuator its strength.

Linear actuators usually serve as part of motion control systems. These days most are run by computers. Control systems, a device that you find linear actuators in, move or control objects. This is made possible by the actuators.

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 is when an object moves in a straight line. This is the basic concept that drives the linear actuator. One has to stop and consider when choosing a linear actuator which type they need to fit the purpose of their project. Some things to keep in mind are the speed, stroke length and load rating of the actuator. Programmability of the actuator is also a factor especially when the application will be one that requires specialized detail. A linear actuator can be used in just about any forum. Ask yourself some questions when attempting to choose the right one for your project such as are there particular safety mechanisms required, environmental concerns to be addressed or space issues?

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by Gordon Petten
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Linear Actuators

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