How to choose a Linear Actuator

Linear actuators are great and versatile tools. There are a lot of different uses these drives can have, from opening doors and windows to items with regulating length. Most of these purposes need linear actuators with specific characteristics. If you’re a professional, you would probably be able to choose the right one without breaking a sweat. However, this task has proven to be rather difficult for novices. Here are a couple of tips on what you should pay attention to while picking an electric actuator for your venture.

1. Estimate the length of the actuator you need

One of the most important things in a project that requires the use of a linear actuator is the distance it needs to extend to. In order to determine it you need to measure the maximum length you need your actuator to extend to. Then add a couple of inches to be safe. In the specifications data sheet that comes with each linear actuator, this distance is listed as the stroke of the actuator. It is often listed as a range of length so that you’d be aware of the minimum distance the drive works with.

2. Measure the amount of force your actuator needs to provide

In most cases, linear actuators are used to push stuff. It is relatively easy to find the force class of the drive you need – it simply equals the weight of the object it is going to be pushing. However, there are cases when you need an actuator to do something different from pulling or pushing along the vertical axis. In such a case, you should use the basic principles of mechanics. You will find this parameter in the datasheet as “force”.

3. Assess the speed you need the actuator to move with

Another important factor for a linear actuator is how fast it has to move. Of course, generally you’d want it to work as fast as possible, but there are a lot of cases that don’t actually require high speed. In the datasheet, this characteristic is listed as “speed” and is usually measured in inches per second.

4. Compare your options

The three points described above should have significantly narrowed your options down. Now it’s time to compare different actuators and make a decision based on all the other parameters. You know the other components of your system better than anyone, so you are the only person who can determine what you actually need.

Can’t find the linear actuator for your project? Visit Progressive Automations – one of the best manufacturers of these drives in the world – and you will surely be able to pick the perfect actuator for your purpose.


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