FUNCTIONS AND APPLICATIONS
The main types of actuators are segregated by motion and power source. As we mentioned, Linear actuators produce push/pull action, and Rotary actuators produce rotational motion. In many cases, linear actuators begin with a rotary prime mover—a motor, typically—whose rotation is converted to linear motion through a power screw or similar device. The opposite is also true: many rotary actuators can begin with linear devices such as hydraulic cylinders which produce circular motion through rack and pinion arrangements.
Actuators are used extensively to operate valves remotely. A valve so equipped is termed a control valve. Actuators are also used in many linear motion applications where air power is not available to drive cylinders or where extra force is needed from compact designs. One unusual linear actuator uses chain which when straight forms a rigid length but it can curve around the driving gear to obtain its motion. Smaller linear and rotary actuators often uses direct drive voice coil motors.
Linear actuators are used in packaging machines, medical equipment, production machinery, etc. as well as in a host of transportation industry applications from aircraft to rail. Linear actuators sometimes combine stepper motors with ball screws to achieve precise controllable positioning.
Don’t miss our upcoming articles to learn how to choose the Right Actuator for your facility. You might realize the use of the actuator, is exactly what you need to get it to the next level.