Essay on Linear Actuators

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Middlebury College
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The Linear actuator is a device that enables building displacement and linear motion which is characterized by a straight line. This type of actuator operates contrary to the conventional electric actuator which facilitates building up of circular motion. The Linear actuator which is also referred to as linear motor is mostly used in situations whereby the need for a machine to shift loads is required. Industrial Machinery and machine tools, computer peripherals use linear actuators since they require linear motion in their operations. The Linear motion being an essential aspect of every machine or tools, demands the use of this type of actuator since it facilitates operations such as lifting loads in a manufacturing organization. Linear actuators are the most effective as compared to electric kind since it builds up enough force which is necessary for performing some duties using industrial machinery (Genta, 2012).

There are varieties of the linear actuator in the market which includes; the electrical actuator, the hydraulic actuator, piezoelectric actuators and electro-mechanical actuators. These types of linear actuator are differentiated by the process which is experienced to enable linear production motion. The mechanisms employed by an operator in the production of linear motion also posts variations between these actuators. The electro-mechanical actuator operates similarly to the electrical actuator (Genta, 2012). The slight difference between these actuators is that electro-mechanical has an electric motor which functions the same as the oil-lubricated spur gear in the electrical actuator.

Advantages and disadvantages of the actuators

Electrical actuators are easily programmable as compared to other types of linear actuators. They are also cheap since they rely on oil. Electricity is the primary aspect which contributes to increased expenses in operation of machinery and the fact that mechanical actuators do not require it makes them cheap, and affordable than other types of linear actuators such as Electro-mechanical. This type of linear actuators is tiresome since their operations are not automated as compared to Electro-mechanical which has an electric motor instead of the control knob. Electro-mechanical and Piezoelectric actuators are easy to operate since they are automated (Genta, 2012).

How the linear actuator work

The electrical actuator operates through the conversion of rotary motion into linear motion. The conversation process of rotary motion into linear motion is facilitated by ball screw spindle. Oil lubricated spur gear plays a central role initiating the conversion of rotary motion to linear displacement. The screw facilitates the creation of the straight line via rotating gear ball bearings. This type of actuator involves the transformation of rotary motion of the control knob to a linear displacement through the facilitation of the screws and gears attached to it (SYROM, & Visa, 2010).

The hydraulic actuator is characterized by a hollow cylinder which has an inserted piston. It operates by exerting pressure on the piston after which force is generated hence facilitating lifting or shifting of objects. The hydraulic cylinder facilities linear displacement of the piston since liquids is incompressible. The incorporation of the cylinder and piston functions initiates the establishment of linear motion which enables the actuator to perform the intended activity such as lifting external objects (Genta, 2012).

The piezoelectric effect which is the electric charge accumulated by particular solid materials such as crystals facilitates the performance of Piezoelectric Actuators. These materials are exposed to the electric voltage which initiates their expansion hence enabling the creation of linear displacement. The expansion rate depends on the voltage applied in which when its high the materials expand in a tiny and limited manner (Shi & Zhao, 2012). The actuator is characterized by the use of electric voltage and Piezoelectric effect which initiates the transformation of electrical motion into linear displacement hence lifting external objects.

Electro-mechanical actuators have some similar features with both mechanical and Piezoelectric actuators. The conversation of rotary motion into linear displacement is the primary similarity evident between electro-, the mechanical actuator, and mechanical actuators. Transformation of rotary motion into linear motion is the fundamental process which initiates electro-mechanical actuators ability to function. The rotary motion which is attached to the electric motor is converted into linear displacement via initiation by electric power (Boldea & Nasar, 2005). The electric motor is connected to the actuators' lead screw mechanically in which empowers its rotation. A lead ball which is threaded on the lead screw rotates opposite direction with it hence enabling the creation of rotary motion. Linkages are connected to the nut or lead ball which after rotating it facilitates the transformation of rotary motion into linear displacement. This conversion process enables the actuators to perform its functions effectively.

Difference between designing linear actuators and buying from the market


Linear actuators are of great importance to organizations since they facilitate accomplishment of various central activities. Designing and assembling linear actuators is among the best and appropriate ideas which can be considered as it is financially beneficial. Purchasing the actuators from the market is also an option which can be considered since they are easily accessible in various retail and wholesale outlets. Efficiency is a central issue which moderates the decision to design or buy linear actuators from the market. This issue is characterized by time consumption and ability to achieve great results in the intended timeframe. Linear actuators are industrially manufactured devices whose production is guided by various standards (Genta, 2012). The designing option is not efficient since it requires an organization to observe a lot of manufacturing standards. Standardization of the actuators guarantees their potential to perform appropriately and durability too. Designing linear actuators can lead to the production of substandard devices which does not guarantee an organization perfect performance of the intended use. This aspect portrays that, purchasing actuators from the market since it is easy to access quality and standard ones in the shortest time. The availability of variety based on quality and durability guarantees an organization of the actuators' efficiency. The efficiency of a machine is the primary consideration which guides customer decision to purchase and what makes the option to buy linear actuators from the market the best and fantastic option. Designing them may seem less costly, but it may result in high depreciation rate since there is no guarantee of their durability.


Production cost and the price of the linear actuators in the market are the primary moderators in choosing the best option. Designing the actuators contributes to increasing organization's expenses since all essential parts have to be purchased and labor cost catered for which is not the case with obtaining from the market. The production cost of the actuators will negatively impact on the organization's profitability levels since additional expenses will have to be catered for in the budgetary allocation. Purchasing the devices from the market is cost-effective because of there a variety of them in various outlets (Visa, 2013). Different markets in the global context offer the actuators at varying prices so an organization can import from cheaper economies in the world. This venture makes it cheaper to access the linear actuators from the market since they can be accessed at pocket-friendly prices as compared to production cost incurred during the designing process.

Time consumption

Time is a central aspect of organizational operations and production of products since it defines Company's competitiveness and ability to achieve the set annual targets within the stipulated period. Designing linear actuators is not an advisable idea to any organization because it demands a lot of time as compared to purchasing them directly from the market. Linear actuators play an indispensable role in organizational operations, and in-house design requires linear motion and control expertise which are not available and affordable to many Companies (Xu, & Bronlund, 2010). Hiring this expertise to facilitate accomplishment of the design project is time-consuming as compared to purchasing it directly from the market (In Information Resources Management Association, 2014). Buying linear actuator from the market is time-saving since organization incurs transportation cost only. The purchasing process is advisable since it does not incorporate hiring of expertise and gathering the necessary resources which are central in in-house designing.

Manufacturing and assembling requirements

Buying linear actuators from the market is the best option since it does not require adherence to manufacturing and assembling requirements as compared to in-house designing process. Designing actuators require an individual to gather base, gateway, aluminum extrusions and drive units. It also requires recruitment or hiring linear motion and control expertise which is a highly demanding process. Buying the actuators from the market enables an individual to access industrially standardized devices which meet their customer needs. The expenses incurred while implementing the manufacturing and assembling requirements are not experienced during the purchasing process of linear actuators from the market (Taghirad, 2013}. These requirements are implemented by manufacturers of the actuators in the market hence making it easy for individuals buying them not to consider such aspects of the decision making process. This aspect reflects the validity and suitability of buying the actuators from the market as opposed to designing them since it does not incorporate the implementation of manufacturing and assembling requirements.

Customer needs

The choice made by organizations on how to access the best and quality linear actuators determines their ability to meet customer needs. Buying linear actuators from the market exposes individuals to a variety which enables them to make the appropriate decision. Customers define and describe organizational success journey, and their needs should be considered in every decision-making process. Urgency and quality are among the commonly and popularly shared characteristics of customer needs. The fulfillment of these aspects is well covered by the purchasing of the linear actuators from the market option. The organization will be able to take the shortest time possible to provide the products demanded by customers by buying actuators from the market (Weaver, 2004). For instance: if customers are need of particular products and the presently used actuator is not performing effectively, the organization has to buy a new actuator from the market to fulfill the urgency clients' need. These customer needs cannot be addressed via in-house designing of linear actuator since its time consuming and its assembling process is highly demanding and can cost an organization a lot if it's considered as the best option.

Linear actuators should be programmed to enhance effectiveness, capacity, and speed using Arduino. Arduino is software and hardware device which is used in controlling large linear actuators and expansion of their capacity too. Programming linear actuators using Arduino involves various steps which are; wiring the board basics, programming the board basics, the creation of H bridge between rela...

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