What is a linear actuator used for?

Linear Actuators are used in places where Linear Motion is required. From Industrial machinery to micro medical applications, valves dampers and printers,  and more commonly in vehicles to open and close the Trunk in your car. You name it there's few places Linear actuators have not been adopted to make our lives easier or to speed things up.

Linear Actuators are the design engineers natural choice for creating linear Motion thanks in part to their ability to offer high levels of positional control, reliability, high forces and high speeds.  Linear motion can be achieved in several different ways: Electric Linear Actuators that Firgelli Develops are probably the most common type of Linear Actuator used globally, however Hydraulic and Pneumatic Linear motion Actuators are also commonly used in certain applications. 

Electric Linear Actuators are typically used the most globally, even though Hydraulic Actuators offer extremely high forces but low speeds, and Pneumatic Linear Actuators that offer high speeds but low forces. Electric Actuators offer the best of both worlds in addition to the following benefits:

  1. Compact with no need for high pressure fittings
  2. Very cost efficient compared to Hydraulics or a Pneumatic system
  3. Highly controllable with very fine positional control options down to the micron level
  4. Very Energy efficient
  5. Flexible fittings, allowing them to be used in many applications. 
What's more interesting is that the technology has changed allot over the years. For example 20 years ago Convertible roofs in cars would of been operated using Hydraulic Linear Actuators. If you look at an old Mercedes CLK Convertible car you will find the roof's were hydraulically actuated, but in the last 10 years OEM's moved away from Hydraulics and moved towards Electric Linear Actuators, specifically the type Firgelli has developed.

 Where are linear actuators used?

The problem with Hydraulics used in the convertible car application was that the system required a high pressure pump, a tank and calibrating them all to work together was very difficult, and if ever one of those line broke you would end up with fluid all over the car interior. 

The most common place a linear actuator is used

With the advancement of electronics, and magnets, Electric Linear Actuators have actually become very powerful and offer great durability and reliability. As a result most Linear Actuators are now used in the Automotive Industry, to open Doors, trunks, roofs etc. The most common place an Electric linear actuator is used in in your car. These actuators do the opening and closing for you at the touch of a button, thereby making life much easier for you.

Where are linear actuators used

Electric Linear Actuators used in your home

Another very popular place where Linear Actuators are used is in the home. Automating systems in the home has become a very popular place to adopt Linear Actuator technology. Whether its moving TV's in and out of a piece of cabinetry or lifting an appliance out of a kitchen center island, they all use Linear Actuators to create the Linear Motion. 

Where are linear actuators used?

Kitchen appliance lifts and TV Lifts are probably the most common types of applications in the home that use Linear Actuators and they all use Electric Linear Motion equipment and not Hydraulic or pneumatic. In this example above an Actuator is placed beneath the cabinet to lift up the Appliance box where the benefit is to keep these ugly devices out of sight when not in use, and also increase the workable surface area of the kitchen counter tops.

What other applications are linear actuators used in?

Boats have also began to adopt Linear Actuators on the insides, whereas Hydraulic Actuators are typically used outside or underneath boats for operating things like the stabilizers and even steering, both of which require linear motion but because these are under water functions it makes more sense to use Hydraulic Linear Actuators over Electric Actuators that could cause reliability issues if water was to enter the Actuators if they are of the Electric type. Electric Linear Actuators are now mostly used inside boats and yachts where they are kept dry. 

Where are linear actuators also used

 Lifting Hatches on Yachts use Linear Actuators to make access much easier.

Where are linear actuators also used

 As you can see its hard to think of an industry that does not require Linear Motion and therefore a Linear Actuator. Furthermore Its clear that Electrically driven Actuators offer superior accuracy and positional control witch very high reliability and durability, requiring little or no maintenance whatsoever. 
Actuators have the ability to adapt to almost any need, and they provide solutions that are well functioning and can be applied to many different applications for a wide range of applications and products.
If you have an interesting application you would like us to write about please email us at Sales@FirgelliAuto.com
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