5 Common Applications of Electric Linear Actuators – 2024 Guide

Have you ever heard about linear actuators? You might be surprised by their multi-functionality. They are not new on the market, but their wider use has been established in the past few years. What’s so special about them is their purpose in making our lives easier.

But first, what are they? They are mechanical devices that create some kind of motion, in this case linear. In the manufacturing world, actuators are an important implementation of modern technology that helps to convert some kind of rotary force into a linear movement. They are most commonly electric, but can also be pneumatic and hydraulic. Their movement can simply be explained as a push-pull system that uses magnetic fields. It is operated by various sources of energy such as electric current — the most common one, hydraulic fluid pressure etc. Transforming or converting the energy to mechanical movement is what a linear actuator does. With the push of a button, they move forward and backward, moving loads in a straight line. As a cost-effective, install-easy solution, it provides precise control of acceleration, speed etc., and requires almost minimal maintenance when it comes to its lifespan. Linear actuators also don’t take up much room, which is a perfect solution for many purposes.

When can they be used? Their wide range of use is a parameter of their flexibility and numerous customization abilities, so they can and are being used in various industries where this kind of technology application is possible.

1. Everyday office or home use

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Linear actuators can be used almost anywhere they can make our lives easier. If there’s difficulty with accessing a window or several windows, they can adjust it. When it comes to recliners for headrest or footrest, you can make it automatic too. Home ventilation can be opened and closed automatically, opening or closing doors, locks or gates can be done without involving the person who lives in that house. Relaxation beds can also be adjusted, as well as doors, TV lifts, security cameras, chairs, tables can be automatically lifted by just pressing a button. Making our furniture and other items that we use daily automatically, can save time and simplify our everyday tasks. One of the reasons why they are so popular when it comes to home automation is that they are quiet. They can keep the sound and the impact levels to a minimum because they can automatically stop themselves as well as reverse — working to a program and not needing to be supervised all the time. Small in size, they can also provide delicate movements, perfect for many industries that require them. Brands like Progressive Automations are here to help us upgrade our homes and workplaces since modern technology is offering ways to automating almost anything these days.

2. Medical use

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They are often being used in medicine, to lift, move or tilt anything that’s needed, such as medical beds, operating tables, gynecological tables, dental chairs, rehabilitation devices of any kind, or locking mechanisms for wheelchair lifts. A range of medical devices can be upgraded this way and low voltage as well as low sound is extremely important for this industry and the safety of the patients. Thanks to their operating at low speed and low sound volume, they’ve been used daily as help for nurses, doctors and other medical professionals, from simple to complicated tasks that require high force or precision. They even can help with driving the movement in prosthetic limbs! The great influence of these small devices is inevitable, as they’re quietly responsible for many key functions related to our health.

3. Robotics

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Automation in the workplace has significantly improved working conditions and efficiency in general by lowering the cost of production and becoming a necessary tool for achieving results. Linear actuators are the very components that make movement possible in robots, and it allows its sensors to communicate from position a to position b. They are practically the movers of the robot’s pneumatic muscles, cylinders or motorized rods. For robots to be able to avoid obstacles, be navigated, interact with objects, they need actuators as their vital tools for moving. For repeated and consistent linear movement, electric linear actuators are the best solution.

4. Agriculture

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Agriculture and its machinery have become modern and reliable, and a big part of that is the impact that linear actuators have in this industry as well. How they work is, they are helping workers in agriculture such as farmers, to complete their tasks despite the bad weather or exposure to some chemicals that make this process much harder. They can be incorporated in sprayers which then allows them to get thorough coverage thanks to the angle of the sprayer. They also exist inside tractors and they’re ensuring accurate functioning of their machines, increasing control but without sacrificing performance. The same tractor mechanisms can be applied to seed drills and combine harvesters, corn headers etc.

5. Risky assignments

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Large linear actuators are being used as a precise cutting tool for numerous materials such as wood, metal, glass and paper. This way, humans are being saved from dangerous tasks while at the same time, cuts are accurate and repeatable. Linear actuators provide straight cuts after hundreds of repetitions and also different cutting patterns, depending on the configuration of the actuator. Cutting equipment like this, became a major component of material handling, and a great help for all the workers in the manufacturing industry.

Following the world’s trends and making the majority of items around us automated, is what became a standard for modern homes, factories and medical centers. Aside from that, simplifying our everyday tasks using only one small piece of technology is what makes customers want to keep searching for new ways of implementing linear actuators. Who wouldn’t want a window that can open himself, a TV screen that can go up and down when you want to, or a machine that can save your life or at least your hands when doing dangerous but delicate movements? This is exactly where linear actuators come in, to make a great change in how we perceive and approach living and working!