Linear Motion Trends of 2020

Linear Motion Trends of 2020

Year after year, automation is gaining momentum. Its initial task was to replace labor-intensive, heavy, cyclic operations at factories and other industrial enterprises. However, with the development of modern technology and constant innovation, automation is being introduced into more and more spheres of our daily life.

Automation covers an increasing number of areas in human activity, optimizing and simplifying many aspects of our lives. With automation becoming more widespread, there has been a reduction in costs across many areas. Technological advancements have also expanded the abilities and complexities of its components (microcontrollers, various sensors, smart appliances, network infrastructure devices, etc.) and whole systems. DIY automation is becoming extremely widespread thanks to modern accessibility; amateurs, without engineering backgrounds, are successfully implementing complex home automation projects!

Automation devices include a variety of mechanical drives designed to perform service manipulations and take away the manual aspects of many areas. For instance, opening and closing doors/windows, changing the configuration of furniture and partitions, moving elevators/lifts/hoists/jacks, adjusting blinds, and much more. This article will focus on actuators providing motion along a line, or linear motion.

Photo of linear actuators by Progressive Automations

Trends of Linear Motion Systems in 2020

Linear motion systems stand out due to their low cost, the accuracy of their operation, their efficiency, and their wide range of possible applications. Their use and smart functionality have been implemented in a number of areas, including:

One of the most active areas of linear motion technology is solutions for home automation. You can get further information and insight into home automation using linear actuators from this blog.

With this in mind, we have reviewed what we consider to be the main 6 trends of linear movement in 2020.

1. Improved Cost Efficiency

The central linear trend today is the reduction of the overall cost of components and assemblies of linear motion products. The leading drive in the lowering costs is the increased competition in the industry thanks to widening accessibility of these products. More and more specialized companies are producing and supplying a wide variety of different linear motion motors, equipped with all the accessories necessary to meet market needs.

Manufacturers of one-dimension motion devices are striving to create the easiest way to utilize this movement in a growing number of areas. The reasonable costs, alongside low weight, and lack of servicing needs are making linear motion products more appealing to customers, ultimately driving competition up and costs down.

Photo of linear actuators

2. Constant Innovation

When improving the design of units, in addition to reducing the cost of production, engineers are constantly striving to improve and delve into new territories. One such area of improvement was to increase device strength and durability when extreme repeated linear force was applied.

Technology in industries, including automation, is constantly developing for the better. Construction of parts can now be achieved using inductive processes and have replaced methods such as heat treatment. For instance, zonal hardening of parts was achieved using inductive processes that have replaced heat treatment. Computer-designed profiles of aluminum castings provide much greater rigidity of the linear drive compared to conventional extruded ones. This creates guides that provide complex linear and non-linear motion ranges that are easily integrated into the final products.

Thanks to such changes, some companies have begun to create scissor lifts based on advanced vertical linear motion systems. Such engineering designs can be found in airport jetways, aircraft maintenance, automotive trailers, and campers. To put it into context, earlier models required much more complex and energy-consuming motion elements, particularly in hydraulic drives.

Photo of a scissor lifts

3. Evolving Applications of Linear Motion Machines

Another important linear trend is the extension of applicability. Although they have been around for quite some time, the scope of linear actuators is steadily expanding. Designed to improve automation systems and decrease the need for manual input, linear motion systems are increasingly being employed in new areas and industries. For example, linear actuators are being used to raise TV’s from cabinets and to regulate vehicle speed within engines. They’re also being used in mobile cranes to transfer large loads from one area to another with minimal manual interference.

One of the most unusual niches for linear force applications is enclosed high-pressure washers. This is made possible as the latest linear motion drives combine:

  • Compactness.
  • High payload capacity.
  • Reliable performance even in high humidity.

The linear motion has also been increasingly used in agriculture. One of the most striking linear motion examples in this area is the application of technology to collecting machines. Linear actuators can solve the problem of moving the loading platform, adjusting its height, and operating the rear unloading of the harvester.

Photo of a crane

4. Improved Component Technology

The simplest and, at the same time, the most important element of straight-line motion actuator design is the lead screw, which converts the rotational force of the motor into the motion of the working rod. With the general spread of automation, manufacturers began to make more efforts to improve the construction of the step screw. They experiment with materials, cutting pitch, spiral geometry, maximum permissible rotation speed, and so on, to ensure current offerings can be upgraded to the latest technology. As a result of such experiments, a wide selection of actuators has been produced and customized for almost any occasion. Specialists readily take up tasks of designing custom drives for the most unusual requirements, allowing new components and technologies to evolve.

Another important direction for research is increasing the maintainability of the device as a whole, and the mechanical interchangeability of individual parts. This makes it possible to simplify the process of assembling a custom linear drive and adapting it to changing requirements.

Photo of a young man is repairing actuators

5. Emphasis on Device Safety Features

Safety features are constantly innovating and addressing more and more potential concerns; 2020 is no exception. Combining the features of traditional and emerging technologies, it became possible to create devices designed for wide temperature tolerances, allowing them to work effectively in dirty and dusty environments. Such devices, for instance, were used to create a movable trencher cabin that combines good visibility for the operator, high durability, and streamlined design. A further example of the growing innovation in safety is the anti-collision feature in our adjustable desk frames.

6. Increased Customization Abilities

The motion industry does not stand still; consumers are constantly being offered more and more options as more developments arise. One of the main trends in 2020 is increasing opportunities for customization. Some suppliers are already selling drives that allow changeable characteristics and specifications as required - putting rods of different lengths, motors of different voltage supply and power, using cases with different degrees of protection, and so on. Linear motion device manufacturers are even able to offer the individual delivery of a specific part that has failed, or of unconventional device add-ons or characteristics.


Automation is increasingly overtaking all spheres of human life. Currently, linear motion machines are one of the foundations of the automation industry. These trends, all positive and innovative, are due to the reliable, cheap, efficient, and powerful nature of many linear motion products.

If you want to simplify everyday tasks at home or at work, the introduction of linear motion products is a step in the right direct. Check our blog out to read articles containing product news, industry developments, and interesting ideas for our linear motion products.

Anna Sapiga

AZ Engineer