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Linear Actuator Manufacturers and Suppliers

IQS Directory is a top industrial directory listing of leading industrial linear actuator manufacturers and suppliers. Access our comprehensive index to review and source linear actuator manufacturers with preview ads and detailed product descriptions. These linear actuator companies can design, engineer and manufacture linear actuators to your specifications and application need. A quick and easy to use request for quote form is provided for you to contact these linear actuator manufacturers and suppliers. Each company has detailed profile information, locations, phone number, website links, product videos and product information defined. Read customer reviews and product specific news articles. We are the right resource for your information requirement whether its for a manufacturer of high speed linear actuators, 24 volt linear actuators, heavy duty linear actuators.

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When it comes to our linear actuators, you can be assured that you are getting the best quality actuator available on the market today. Our actuators offer the benefits of space saving design for your convenience as well as a quick and easy assembly. We bring all of this to you at a low competitive price. Our employees are exceptionally trained to bring only the highest quality customer service to our clientele. Contact our representatives today!
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We have been providing high quality linear actuators since 1960 from our establishment in Battle Creek, Michigan. We have a large selection and our terrific staff members will be able to find a product that is sure to fit your needs. If for some reason we are lacking what you are seeking we will have one of our many skilled designers work with you step by step in order to come up with the product that you've been dreaming of. Contact us today for more information!
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Actuonix Motion Devices is the leading manufacturer of affordable micro linear actuators and servos. Our line of micro-motion devices features over 145 different models suitable for a wide range of applications, all for under $100. If you need a custom product, we can deliver. Our team of engineers will work with you to design a custom linear motion solution that suits your project. Call us for more details today!
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Family-owned and operated manufacturer Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation was founded in 1950 and has not stopped growing since. Our Dual-Vee Motion Technology® ensures our linear motion product line is of superior quality and design. Including 12V linear actuators, electric cylinders, rotary actuators and much more, our products are cost-effective and durable enough for a wide range of applications.
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BEI Kimco Magnetics specializes in linear actuators, electric actuators and linear motion components. We serve the automotive, heavy equipment, medical, industrial, automation, aerospace and telecommunications industries and markets.
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We specialize in providing the highest quality linear actuators. When it comes to fast delivery no one does it like we do! Most of our products already ship out with in twenty four hours. However, if you are in a rush you may request next day delivery and you will have your new product in your possession before you know it. Contact our customer service team and they will be able to get you started on designing your own personal product. Call us today for more information!
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Industry Information

Linear Actuators

Linear actuators are devices that produce mechanical linear motion by converting various forms of energy into mechanical energy. Typically part of motion control systems in automated assembly processes, linear actuators are most often computer-controlled, although simple actuators may be powered mechanically by hand. The various forms of energy which power linear actuators include hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, electro-mechanical and piezoelectric. Linear actuators often act as servomechanisms to provide and transmit a precise amount of energy to work another mechanism or equipment part, or the actuator may do the actual work itself. Linear actuator manufacturers assist in robotic processes in a wide range of industries, including automotive, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, food, packaging and electronics. Different types of processes use various actuator designs, including ball screw actuators, electric linear actuators (or electric cylinders), rotary actuators and miniature linear actuators. Piezoelectric and telescopic actuators are employed for specialty applications, with piezoelectric actuators supplying extremely small, precision movement, and telescopic, or spindle actuators providing vertical mechanical motion. Nearly all factory automation processes use linear actuators to push, lift, rotate or transport products or equipment during various manufacturing processes. Some linear actuators and units operate in vacuum, radiation, cryogenic, corrosive and underwater environments.

Actuators are not only powered by a variety of mechanical, electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic designs, but they also create motion based on several different principles. Many linear actuators use a ballscrew design consisting of a screw rod which rotates in and out of a housing, providing linear motion. Ball screw actuators, also called drive screws, are rotated using either a synchronous timing belt drive, worm gear drive or direct drive. The turning of the screw pushes a drive nut along the screw, which in turn pushes the rod out. Rotating the screw in the opposite direction retracts the rod. A cover tube protects the screw nut from environmental elements and contamination. Radial thrust bearings permit the screw to rotate freely under loaded conditions. Rotary actuators are not linear at all, although, like rotary tables, they serve purposes similar to those of linear actuators in assembly automation applications by providing radial motion. Most miniature linear actuators are electric, although some may use piezoelectric power for highly precise, short movement, while others are pneumatic actuators. Telescopic actuators utilize a fairly new "spindle" technology to provide linear motion; because they are telescopic, the length of the actuator can fit inside a fairly small housing, making telescopic actuators highly space-efficient.

When choosing from linear actuator manufacturers, several factors are important for the success of the actuator within its application, including the speed, stroke length and load rating of the linear actuators. The duty cycle accuracy and programmability requirements must also be measured, as well as desired lifetime of the linear actuator system, particular safety requirements, environmental concerns and space constraints. If the linear actuator system is not battery-run, the size and kind of motor (AC, DC or special) are important considerations. Different available electric motors, which include stepper, brushed DC or brushless servomotors, give different levels of torque and accuracy. Rotary actuators and linear actuators may be powered electrically, hydraulically or pneumatically. Electric linear actuators are typically powered by DC or stepping motors. Hydraulic actuators have brute strength, essentially no compressibility and excellent power-to-weight ratio. However, they tend to leak, have lower reliability, are higher maintenance, expensive and loud, use flammable fluids and generate heat. Even though pneumatic actuators are inexpensive, have rapid response and are simple and easy to control, they are also loud, and their position is difficult to control.

Electromechanical actuators are quickly replacing pneumatic actuators because they save money by reducing unnecessary energy consumption within plants, have vastly improved control and flexibility, are especially beneficial for multi-positional tasks and provide no health and environmental issues due to high noise levels. However, the tendency of these electrical linear actuators to spark limits their use in hazardous environments, and they have lower power and torque-to-weight ratios. Research has been moving forward on piezoelectric linear actuators and other forms of technology, which use short high voltage bursts to create small-scale movement, but this has been primarily focused on micro-actuators and micro-manipulation.


Series 43000 Stepper Motor Linear Actuator
Linear Actuators
Stepper Linear Actuators
Series 43000 Stepper Motor Linear Actuator - Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions, Inc.
Linear Actuators - Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions, Inc.
Stepper Linear Actuators - Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions, Inc.
Linear Actuators
DL Series Ball Screw Linear Actuators
Linear Actuators
Linear Actuators - Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation
DL Series Ball Screw Linear Actuators - Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation
Linear Actuators - Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation


Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Linear Actuators

Which one to buy, electric or pneumatic actuators? This question is critical for machine design and control systems engineers, as it determines performance and efficiency in different conditions. In many designs and applications, a pneumatic cylinder may work better, as it has proved its efficacy over many years. However, electric linear actuators present many advantages as well. The decision to choose an actuator should be based on the application.

Advantages of electric actuators

  • Linear actuators can handle complex motions, unlike pneumatic actuators. Sophisticated motion control systems are fitted in electric actuators, which makes electric actuators a preferred choice by many control engineers and machine designer engineers.
  • The complexity does not compromise control and accuracy but gives designers space to make the systems more autonomous. The advance actuators can be programmed, adding flexibility in terms of multiple starts and stops and different speeds of valve actuators. For many designers, the programmability is what that distinguishes electric actuator from pneumatic actuators.
  • They have high efficiency and consume lower energy, which makes them an environmentally friendly choice. A typical design is a 12 Volt Linear Actuator. The operation cost can be significantly brought down with electric actuators.
  • They do not have a rigid design, but add flexibility; an engineer can change speed, part geometry, and start and stop points to meet new requirements.

The electric system has a couple of disadvantages too.

All conventional actuator systems are simple and inexpensive. Moreover, they work well under different sets of challenging conditions and have proved to be reliable over a long period. However, new electric actuators are complex and incorporate a number of components, including motor, controller driver and cables. Not just that, these all parts are needed to be integrated and programmed accordingly, which require depth control knowledge.

Moreover, the cost of the electric actuators can shadow down the advantages at first look. However, efficient operation, new environmental regulations, and flexibility will make up for the investment made upfront.

Common Types of Actuators and Their Application

In the processing industry, plant engineers and designers work continuously to achieve productive and efficient plant design and processes. In designing a facility, one part of machinery that is used at almost every automation stage for is an actuator. Actuators, which are a type of motor, move and control loads in a system. There are various types of actuators available on the market to meet most individual or plant-wide automation requirements. To make a sound choice regarding actuators, a person must know about the factors that determine the effectiveness of an actuator.

The following paragraphs describe various types of actuators so that you, as a buyer, understand the purpose of a specific actuator.

Electric Linear actuator

In linear actuators, the mechanical parts include linear guides, motors, and a drive mechanism, which converts the electrical energy into displacement. The actuator is driven by either electro-magnetism, mechanical transmission, or thermal expansion, which provide push and pull motion in a straight line. Electric linear actuators are primarily used as an automation component when machine parts require controlled movement in a straight line, such as locking doors, opening and closing of dampers, and braking machine motions. The most common electromechanical actuators are 12 Volt linear actuators. In these types, an actuator movement is supplemented by many means; however, the most common are ball bearings, lead screws, belts, linear slides and voice coils.

Electric Rotary

An electric rotary actuator is powered electrically, and it consists of motors and an output shaft that has limited rotary motion. It is used in the automation of gates and valves that require controlled rotational movement. Typically, they have application in quarter-turn valves, robotics and windows. The actuators that are used for valve movement are called valve actuators.

Fluid Power Linear Actuators

Fluid Power Linear Actuators are mechanical devices that include cylinder and piston mechanisms to produce linear displacement. However, unlike electric linear actuators, hydraulic fluid, gas, or differential air pressure is used for motion instead of an electric motor. They are typically used in opening and closing of damper doors, clamping, and welding.

Fluid Power Rotary Actuators

A fluid power rotary actuator incorporates a cylinder and piston mechanism, a gearing system, and output shaft, which has limited rotational travel. It basically works when hydraulic fluid, gas, or differential air pressure, based on the application, is turned into rotational motion. Similar to electric rotary actuators, they can be used to open and close doors, dampers, doors, and clamps.

Linear Chain Actuator

The mechanical devices used in linear chain actuators are sprockets and sections of chain, which provide controlled linear motion. They are used when a straight line push or pull motion is required. Available in many sizes and chain styles, they are typically fitted with driving gears that produce the force needed for the motion.

Manual Actuators

Manual actuators are operated manually. Depending on the design, rotating screws or hand operated knobs or wheels are installed that work in conjunction with guided linear motion mechanisms and gearboxes. This type of actuator is used when precise positioning matters in manipulation of tools and work pieces. They can either be comprised of lead screws, racks, and pinions, or be belt driven with various load or drive force capability.

Actuators-Classification and Applications

In automation processes, actuators are probably the most commonly used components in a wide range of industries. Actuators move or control systems based on the need, using an energy source and a control signal. The control signal can be either a pneumatic or hydraulic pressure, electric voltage or current, or human power, but it is relatively weak. After receiving the control signal, the actuator converts the energy from the energy source into mechanical motion.

Classification

Actuators are basically classified on the basis of motion and power source, linear or rotary, and based on power source, hydraulic, electric or pneumatic actuators.

  • Linear actuators work in a straight direction that provides push and pull action; whereas rotary actuators have rotational motion.
  • In standard electric linear actuator design, a motor drives the motion; the rotation, with the use of power screw or similar device, is converted to linear displacement. Actuators with opposite mechanisms are also available, typically hydraulic actuators.
  • To operate control valves remotely, valve actuators are used. Typically, a valve actuator incorporates an electric motor to drive a worm gear, through which the operator stem is turned. Some different types of actuators, like ball screw actuators, have push and pull racks that impart rotary motion. You would have an idea by now that a design of an actuator closely aligns with the design of the valve.
  • Actuators have applications where compact designs are required for extra force or where air power is not available to drive cylinders.
  • Some designs use chains to drive the valve, and other linear slides make use of belts that are toothed, screws, pinion sets, and rack for achieving push and pull action.
  • There are ball screws actuators that combine stepper motors and ball screws to achieve precise controllable positioning.
  • Actuators mainly have application in medical equipment, packaging machines, and production machinery, transportation industry, which range from aircraft to rail.

As designs of the actuator follow its application, there a number of other actuators that do specific work. And increasingly with the innovation that number is increasing at a great pace, it is better to contact a supplier to understand the basics of newer models and designs.

What to Buy: Pneumatic or Electric Actuators?

Hydraulic and pneumatic actuators are the workhorse in a wide variety of applications, ranging from packaging to military to aerospace. Their ubiquitous presence can be attributed to the various functions they can perform. From linear actuators to rotational ones, they have been used in automation of many machines and processing facilities.

Actuators can perform the following purposes:

  • Actuators are typically used for movement of the valve members, such as ball, disc, or plug, to the specific position based on the need. The actuator is fitted with a mechanism that the closes or open valve members and the appropriate control that directs the movement.
  • Valve actuators can hold the valve closure members in the specific position for specific time. For throttling applications where fluids typically create dynamic torque, the present actuators have sufficient stiffness delivered through fluid power or spring to withstand the torque.
  • They act as a safety in the event of system failure. Depending on the need, in failure mode, they can be fully opened, closed or remain unchanged. Pneumatic or electro hydraulic units are ideal for this purpose.
  • In multi-powered valves, based on the requirements, pneumatic actuators can provide 90° or 180° rotation. However, for rotation greater than 180°, electric actuators are preferred, as their motion is not limited by any mechanical shortcoming.
  • They are used to achieve various operating speed. Special types of actuators are needed when high-speed operation is desired, as vibration can deter functioning of many typical actuators.

Characteristics of Pneumatic and Electric Actuators

While selecting an actuator type, either pneumatic or electric, the first step is to determine power source. Points that need to be considered are: torque at the valve stem, failure mode, power source availability, speed of operation, control accessories, frequency of operation, size of valve, plant environment, system maintenance and system component cost.

  1. Pneumatic actuators make use of air pressure supply that ranges from 40 to 120 psi, based on the need. When higher air pressure comes into play, they may not prove quite worthy, as it is difficult to guarantee high pressure. Electromechanical Actuators most commonly use a 110 VAC power supply; however, they are available in a number of varieties, including AC and DC actuators with single phase or three phase motors.
  2. Pneumatic and electric actuators can work in a quite wide temperature range. Pneumatic actuators perform well in -4 to 174 degree F range. However, the range can be extended to -40 to 250 degree F with use of optional bearings, grease and seals. Electric linear actuators work effectively in -40 to 150 degree F range. However, electric actuator if used in outdoors must be sealed from the environment, as moisture can deter functioning.
  3. Depending on the requirement, you can find electric actuator that conforms to National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which makes them cost effective and applicable in wide range of industries. However, pneumatic actuators are considered better when working in explosion sensitive areas.

The other factors that you have to consider for selecting an actuator are:

  • Performance characteristics
  • Duty cycle
  • Stalling
  • Speed control
  • Modulating control
  • Torque-to-weight ratio

Research and learn about all these determinants, as you will find all these terms in specification sheet. The key to choose right equipment is to know your need and requirements first, once you know them, it is not hard to find complementary equipment.

The Versatility of Linear Actuators

There are several types of linear actuators: mechanical actuators, electro-mechanical actuators, linear motor actuators, piezoelectric actuators, hydraulic actuators, pneumatic actuators, wax motor actuators, segmented spindle actuators, moving coil actuators and moving iron controllable actuators. There are a variety of advantages and disadvantages regarding each type of actuator. Operators will select different actuators based on the application. Some actuators such as piezoelectric actuators are not as commonly utilized due to a number of factors. Piezoelectric actuators require large amounts of voltage which is expensive but the advantage with this unit is it provides very small amounts of expansion which is preferred for some applications. On the flip side, electro-mechanical actuators are widely used due to their high usability and functional properties. These systems are simple to use and the actuation process is easy to repeat.

Linear actuators will typically be designed for either standard or compact construction. Compact linear actuators are usually created with specialized motors to allow for high torque while occupying a small space. Pneumatic and hydraulic actuators are great for applications that require high levels of output. Hydraulic systems utilize fluids and unbalanced pressures to achieve the desired outputs of the mechanism. Pneumatic actuators has a similar process like hydraulic actuators but the difference is these actuators use condensed gas instead of liquids. Regardless of which style of actuator it will successfully provide linear motion for applications ranging from DVD drive openers to opening massive heavy duty doors. Manufacturers will work with users to determine which actuators are best for their application as well as options to ensure the longevity of these devices.



Linear Actuator Types

  • 12 Volt linear actuators provide mechanical linear motion by converting 12 volts of direct current (DC) electrical energy.
  • Ball screw actuators are devices that produce mechanical linear motion by converting rotary motion into mechanical energy through the use of ball screw and ball nut combinations.
  • DC actuators are devices that produce linear motion through conversion of electrical direct current (DC) energy to mechanical energy.
  • Diaphragm pneumatic linear actuators achieve valve actuation by using a diaphragm in a closed piston to enable control from a low pressure pneumatic (air) supply, similar to the way air cylinders work. Coiled springs of diaphragm pneumatic linear actuators provide quick and dependable valve shutdown that is independent of flowline pressure, ensuring a fail-safe position.
  • Electric actuators convert electricity into mechanical energy.
  • Electric linear actuators or electric cylinders convert electricity into linear mechanical energy.
  • Electrohydraulic thrusters are linear actuators that consist of motors and closed-loop hydraulic systems for the driving and operating of brakes, levers, dampers and safety mechanisms for a variety of industrial equipment.
  • Electromechanical actuators, or electrical linear actuators, are basic linear actuators. These terms denote that electrical power is used to achieve mechanical force through linear actuators.
  • Hydraulic linear actuators utilize some sort of hydraulic fluid to achieve the positioning movement. Typically, electricity is used to start the positioning process.
  • Linear cylinders are simple cylinders that have a pin-ended rod connecting to a crank arm, which then rotates the shaft. A fail-safe linear cylinder is spring-loaded to ensure the return of the shaft to a safe position.
  • Linear thrusters provide cyclical linear motion via double-acting air or hydraulic cylinders attached to plates and shafts.
  • Microactuators are microscopic devices, with physical dimensions ranging from submicrometers to millimeters, used to provide mechanical linear motion to another mechanism or part through the conversion of various types of energy. 
  • Miniature linear actuators typically used in small spaces that require large payloads.
  • Piezoelectric linear actuators produce a small displacement with a capacity for high force when voltage is applied.
  • Planetary linear actuators consist of a piston assembly and shaft assembly and have planetary rollers on a piston located between the helical shaft and housing grooves. Piston movement causes the roller to follow the helical grooves into the housing, forcing piston rotation, while the rollers follow helical grooves into the shaft, causing shaft rotation.
  • Pneumatic actuators are devices that position control valves using linear motion by converting various forms of energy, typically air pressure, into mechanical energy.
  • Rack-and-pinion linear actuators make use of fluid pressure to move a piston connected to a gear rack, which rotates a pinion. The output torque of rack-and-pinion linear actuators can be doubled with two parallel piston-rack units.
  • Rod linear actuators are electric linear actuators that have an output rod which provides linear motion through a motor-driven ball or ACME screw assembly. The load of rod linear actuators is typically unsupported but could be attached to the end of a screw or rod.
  • Rodless linear actuators have a barrel of extruded anodized aluminum and are formed with a longitudinal slot, permitting a connection between the piston and mounting carriage. A hardened stainless steel band pneumatically seals the cylinder, while a second stainless steel band on the exterior closes the slot and avoids contamination to the interior of the cylinder; a system of slide rails divides the two bands in the pressure-free zone between the two piston seals, allowing the mounting carriage to move.
  • Rotary actuators are compact, simple and efficient linear actuators that rotate an output shaft through a fixed arc to produce oscillating power. They require limited space and simple mountings and can produce high instant torque in either direction.
  • Servo actuators are used to provide position control, utilizing linear motion in order to maintain proper functioning of another mechanism or equipment part. 
  • Valve actuators are mechanisms that provide linear movement to valves through the use of various screw assemblies.

Linear Actuator Terms

Accuracy - The difference from the precise value of the intended velocity or position of electric linear actuators.
 
ACME Screw
- A threaded screw utilizing sliding friction surfaces between the nut and the screw. These screws are used in linear actuators and are self-locking and is about 30-40% efficient. 
 
Back Drive
- Torque produced by the applied load on a drive resulting in the reversal of rotation of the nut in many linear actuators.
 
Backlash
- The space between the interactive elements in a drive train or leadscrew assembly that creates a mechanical "deadband" when shifting directions.
 
Ball Bearing Screw
- A screw that operates on ball bearings. Ball bearing screws (or ball screws) have a low starting torque, are approximately 90% efficient and can be back driven.
 
Bi-directional Repeatability
- The divergence in the ending position attained by moving away and then returning to a regular point from both plus and minus directions of linear actuators. The error or non-repeatability factor is determined from the sum of the hysteresis, the backlash of linear actuators system resolution.
 
Cantilevered Load
- Loads or forces that are not symmetrically placed on the center of the positioner table in rotary actuators.
 
Compression Load
- A load that leads toward compressing the positioner in electric linear actuators.
 
Continuous Motor Torque
- The torque created by the linear actuators motor at rated constant current.
 
Cycle
- A complete positioner extension and retraction returned to the beginning point in rotary actuators.
 
Duty Cycle
- The amount of time a positioner can run and how much time it needs to cool. It is on time to cooling time, meaning a duty cycle of 25% is a cycle in which a positioner of electric linear actuators operates continually for ten seconds and then must rest for thirty seconds.
 
Dynamic Load Rating
- Linear actuators design constant used in calculating the estimated travel life of the roller screw; the dynamic men load is the load at which this linear actuators device will perform one million revolutions.
 
Efficiency
- The ratio of input power to output power.
 
Error
- The difference between the actual and the intended condition of linear actuators. Error typically refers to the position but could refer to velocity of many linear actuators. 
 
Extension Rate
- The speed at which the positioner extends or retracts in rotary linear actuators. Extension rate differs with the load on DC positioners but differs very little on AC positioners or linear actuators step-motor positioners.
 
Force Rating
- The linear force created by linear actuators at constant motor torque. 
 
Hardwired Signals
- Electrical signals traveling between two control devices of linear actuators that are connected with dedicated conductors.

Holding Brake - A brake that works against backdriving to hold the positioner in place under compression loads or tension of rotary actuators.

Hysteresis - The opposing force accumulated in an elastic material or mechanism after the outside forces acting on it have been changed (e.g. the mechanical wind-up in the lead-screw assembly of linear actuators).
 
Jog
- Moving or positioning a load in incremental steps.
 
Lead
- The distance the lead screw nut travels for every rotation of the lead screw.
 
Limit Switch
- Switches found in linear actuators that limit the travel or motion of rotary actuators in a specific direction.
 
Linear Movement
- Movement in a straight line as seen by the movement of linear actuators.
 
Linear Position Accuracy
- The error between the intended shift and real position attained by a linear positioning component or stage system. The linear accuracy of components and stage systems, which includes motor accuracy, leadscrew accuracy, stage accuracy (pitch and yaw) and thermal expansion, varies with complexity and number of components in linear actuators. 
 
Linear Rate
- Rate of movement of linear actuators components.
 
Load
- The amount of force axially put on the positioner in rotary actuators.

Max Velocity - The linear velocity that linear actuators will attain at a given motor rpm in electric actuators.
 
Maximum Static Load
- The mechanical load limit of linear actuators if recirculated oil or other cooling method is used to allow higher than rated torque from the motor.
 
Microstepping
- The technique of electronically subdividing every complete step of a stepping motor.
 
Multiplex System
- An electric actuator system that utilizes two lead-screws in order to actuate several three-piece pump modules, the combination of which drives the pistons in a linear motion to create displacement. Each electric actuator system uses a pneumatic rotary actuator to drive its main function.
 
Optical Encoder
- Linear actuators or rotary actuators element that has alternating opaque and clear spaces. Detectors calculate the light and dark changes, and the position is determined by counting the amount of changes.
 
Pneumatic
- Pneumatic actuators are operated or actuated by compressed air or other gases.
 
Resolution
- The lowest exact positioning movement attainable from a system.
 
Stroke Length
- The complete movement of rotary actuators positioning table from complete retraction to full extension. 
 
Thrust
- The complete force necessary to move loads of linear actuators, taking into account friction, acceleration and gravity.
 
Unidirectional Repeatability
- The capability of electric linear actuators systems to return to an intended position, nearing that position from a plus and minus direction.






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