How Fast Linear Actuators Could Be

How Fast Linear Actuators Could Be

From Mike Agassi

How fast are linear actuators? We know many classifications of these devices. There are corrosion-resistant actuators, actuators for heavy-duty applications. But what are high-speed actuators?

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It looks like the industry doesn’t have any specific standards that would allow determining actuators as high-speed ones. However, there are some guidelines that do so.

Usually, the following features are taken into consideration when determining whether the the actuator can be classified as a high-speed one:

     Drive mechanism;

     Type of actuator;

     Primary application ways in the industry.

More details and an option to compare the actuators by the speed parameter are available on this website:

Drive Mechanism Is One of the Most Important Factors

The main part that limits the actuator speed is its drive mechanism. The drive mechanism can have ball screws or lead screws. Due to the specifics of construction, lead screws have lover speed values than ball screws. Lead screws slide and friction generates heat. While this issue is absent if you take ball screws.

That’s why linear actuators with ball screws drive are more frequently classified as high-speed than actuators with lead screws drive.

Screw whip is one more factor that determines the actuator speed. The mentioned ball and lead screws have limitations due to their tendency to whip. If the speed of such actuators is not sufficient for your purpose, it is recommended to check actuators with belt drives. Some of them can reach the speeds of 10m/sec and above.

Type of Actuator Matters

Very often, high speed is needed when the actuator shall perform pushing and pulling operations. Thrust-rod actuators are used for this.

Hence, they are more frequently referred to as high-speed rather than other types of actuators. We shall not forget about such a factor as the application in the industry. These actuators are used for moving loads, positioning, pressing, inserting. High speeds are not needed there. That’s why they are rarely made as high-speed ones. 

The speediest devices are actuators with steel reinforced drive belts. They can run at a speed of 12 m/sec and higher. However, the speed values are limited by the guide. That’s why if you want the speediest actuator, you can equip it with a cam roller guide. Adjust all the elements properly, and you will get the fastest linear actuator.

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