Different types of linear actuators

Different types of linear actuators

Last Updated on May 31, 2022 by

Technology serves to make our lives easier and different gadgets make the performance of everyday activities as easy as ABC linear actuators.

The same goes for DIY projects. There are so many advancements and improvements discovered in that field that it has become really easy to do most of the work around the house and garden yourself.

When it comes to linear motion, and all that it entails, there have been so many different improvements as well. As opposed to before when we had only one type of linear actuator to choose from, that varied only in size, today there are so many types available, that your head might be spinning.

Experts will always emphasize accuracy as the most desired end result, which is not that hard considering various solutions available on the market.

Belt driven linear actuators

This type of linear actuator (https://www.tuli-shop.com/linear-motion-products/linear-actuators) uses a belt as a guide rail and in that way supports very heavy loads with low maintenance needed. Belt-driven linear actuator is mostly used in automated manufacturing, food and beverage packaging, and similar situations.

It consists of symmetrical heads on both ends which lets assembling the packages in 4 different positions.

Hybrid stepper motor linear actuators

A hybrid stepper motor is an electromechanical linear actuator that offers a space saving, and lowers the complexity of assignment. It also costs less to maintain because it has fewer parts than the standard linear actuator. The hybrid linear actuator is used in 3D printing, medical equipment, and assembly applications.

Linear hybrid stepper actuators offer lots of options in their basic design and performance and can be:

  • captive
  • non-captive
  • external.

The captive

linear actuator has a lead screw integrated into the motor directly, there is a spline shaft, connected to the screw which prevents the screw from rotating when the motor is on. The linear motion produced this way allows the screw to extend and pull back from one end to another of the same assembly.

The non-captive

linear actuators have a lead screw or a ball integrated into the motor or mounted on the face of the motor. The lead screw is prevented this way to travel along the screw. It is important to prevent the rotation of the screw which will allow it to travel linearly once the motor is up and running.

Read More: Security Screws: How Do They Work?

The external

linear actuator typically uses a motor with a hollow shaft. One end of the screw is integrated into one end of the screw and the nut remains outside the motor. Once the motor is on, it will create a rotation that causes the screw to turn. The opposite part of the ball screw can be unsupported, like in this situation, but only if it considers lighter loads and short travel strokes.

Where can hybrid stepper motor linear actuators be applied?

They are used in all types of industries, and all thanks to the wide range of options they bring. They come in compact sizes and offer good speed characteristics all while allowing precise positioning.

A hybrid stepper motor linear actuator is an ideal solution for driving small and precise pumps due to their ability to move at high velocity, bringing high-end results.

That is why they are widely used in the medical, assembly, and semiconductor industries.

When an XY table is considered, the hybrid stepper motor linear actuator is the best tool available, because due to its compact design it provides high thrust forces and accuracy in positioning.

This type of linear actuator is widely used in 3D printing too because it is reliable and provides high precision results. Additionally, they allow very high positioning accuracy.

Stepper motor linear actuator paired with ball screw

As mentioned above, stepper motor linear actuators are used mostly in packaging and assembly industries, and medical equipment, 3D printing because it provides high end results. They offer superb torque production at lower velocities and allow high precision positioning in an intuitive, user-friendly way.

Basically, these characteristics make them applicable to drive lead screws or belt systems. They can also be used to drive ball screws. Typically, combining the ball screw with a stepper motor linear actuator is less used than the lead screw combined with the actuator. Nevertheless,  the use of ball screws offers the better use of stepper motors, torque-wise and precision-wise.

Ball screws depend on rolling contact and require low friction and high efficiency which will in return demand less torque from the motor. That is why the hybrid stepper motor linear actuators paired with ball screws make better use of the motor itself.

They produce low friction without fluctuations, and offer efficiency, torque, and precision, but seem to have limited duty cycles, because of the over-heating.

Overheating is caused by the fact that the motor is running using a high current at every moment. Continuous duty cycles can reduce the life of a lead screw, which means that the better pair for this action would be the ball screw after all.