Linear Actuators How Do They Work, Linear ActuatorsHello everyone, I hope you all are doing great. In today’s tutorial, we are gonna have a look at Linear Actuators and How Do They Work? There are many types of actuators available but today we are only gonna focus on Linear actuators.

If you got into any trouble then ask in comments and I will help you out. You should also try our Forum section which we have recently started and our experts will surely solve your issues. You should also have a look at How to use Arduino with Linear Actuator, if you are working on some automation project. So, let’s get started with it:

What Is a Linear Actuator?

A linear actuator is a piece of mechanical equipment commonly used on industrial scale in brakes, stamping presses, and car jacks. It acts by using power to generate straight-line motion. It is achieved by employing a lead-screw that creates up and down movement by turning to the left or to the right. The direction of the movement can be regulated by using a switch that reverses motor wiring. Different actuators will have varying shafts, speeds and capacities that will change depending on the gear to suit your specific needs.

How does electric linear actuator work? The answer to this question depends on the kind of instrument that you are dealing with. There are several types of actuators most commonly used in industry:

  • Screw: involves movement that is manipulated by twisting screw threads;
  • Wheel and handle: the movement is generated by a chain connected to the shaft;
  • Cam: the movement production exploits a wedge-like apparatus.

Composition and Function

How do linear actuators work? Well, it all starts with the structural constituents of the machine. The key component is the movement-enabling motor segment that permits extremely frequent clockwise or anticlockwise rotation. The gearbox is essential to change speed and force of linear movement generated by the lead-screw: it reduces the frequency to condition for the rotation of the screw.

To avoid recantation and overstretching, there might be an incorporated limit switch inside the shaft: one for the retracted position, and one for the extended position. This is facilitated by the acme drill nut that activates the switch in the middle of the vertical motion. This is followed by the cut in power supply, stopping and then reversing the movement. The flow of electricity is only permitted unidirectionally, creating polarity and switching the course. The movement in both directions is then restored.

All of these processes combined ultimately dictate the speed of screw rotation and hence linear movement and outlining the electric linear actuator working principle.

Linear Actuators How Do They Work, Linear Actuators

Choosing an Actuator

How do electric linear actuator works? We have found the answer to this question, so now you might want to learn how to choose an actuator that will accommodate your needs. There are countless ways to utilize the mechanical functions of actuators, each having a corresponding type of apparatus. To make a sensible choice you must know the goals and objectives of your actuator project.

Start by asking yourself some questions: how fast and powerful do you need it to be? How much do you want it to travel? How heavily do you intend to rely on it? You will then have to think of the weight you’ll impose on it to judge the amount of force you require. Consequently, you will pick one of the following types:

  • Track actuator: generates a stable path length during stroke, hence suitable for small compartments;
  • Rod-style actuator: simple shafts suitable for most applications;
  • Feedback actuator: allows high precision of movement due to a sophisticated set of equipment.

You might also consider a high-speed machine. However, you must keep in mind that the faster the movement your actuator generates, the less powerful it will be, as these two properties feed off each other.


Linear actuators are sophisticated mechanical setups generating straight-line motion that can find many industrial and everyday applications. There are different kinds of actuators of various kinds, having different characteristics suitable for their purposes. Inside a linear actuator, there is a motor segment, a gearbox, a lead-screw, a limit switch, and an acme drill nut. These activate and regulate the direction, force and speed of motion, also detecting the kind of activity the actuator can perform.

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