A high-acceleration linear actuator is either a short-stroke linear actuator or a very high-speed version of the device with high-performance capabilities. This electromechanical device is specially designed to accelerate work processes. An electric linear drive has many advantages over hydraulic systems. Due to its ability to withstand long-term strong loads, it is used to solve a wide range of tasks where it is required to perform fast reciprocating movements with position repeatability down to a micron for a long time.
There is no industry standard that defines what constitutes a high-acceleration linear actuator. However, there are generally accepted guidelines that some manufacturers use to classify high-speed drives. They usually concern the mechanism and type of drive. And understanding the differences helps you decide when you need a high-performance linear actuator.
High-Speed Linear Drives
Linear actuator acceleration is directly related to its basic design. The speed of movement of the rod (carriage) is largely determined by the linear drive mechanism:
- The ball screw (screw pair) doesn’t provide high speeds, as it is prone to runout, which depends on the diameter, length, and location of the end bearings. The term “high speed” is most often applied to thrust rod (electric cylinder) actuators because their main applications include pull-push and insert operations, which typically require a very short extension and retraction times. These actuators can be driven by a ball screw or lead screw at speeds from 0.1 m/s to over 1 m/s.
- A belt drive or rack and pinion drive assembly are capable of higher speeds (up to 5-10 m/s), provided they are properly loaded. Some manufacturers even offer belt-driven boom drives that can reach speeds of up to 2.5 m/s.
- Slide or rodless actuators can achieve even higher speeds than rod-type actuators. But because they are used primarily for positioning and transportation, usually with high loads, they are less commonly positioned as high-speed.
Steel-reinforced belt drives can reach speeds in excess of 12 m/s. They are ideal for linear motors but are limited by the maximum speed of the rail. The most common guide systems are recirculated profiled rail bearings, which typically reach a maximum speed of 5 m/s. However, higher speeds can be achieved if the belt drives are coupled to cam roller guides instead of recirculating the profile rail bearings. With pre-loaded guides and a properly tensioned, steel-reinforced belt drive, these high-speed linear drives provide travel speeds of up to 10 m/s.
Best High-Speed Actuator Types
The preferred actuators for micro and nano positioning applications are often based on voice coil or piezo technology. Ultrasonic piezo actuators can reach speeds of 0.5 m/s or higher but have a maximum stroke of up to 100 mm. Voice coil drives operate at speeds up to 2-3 m/s with strokes up to 150-250 mm. Given the rapid acceleration required to achieve these speeds at very short stroke lengths, piezoelectric and voice coil designs can be classified as "high-acceleration" actuators.
High-Speed Actuator Benefits
Linear actuators are manufactured using modern equipment based on the latest technology and materials. They have a metal profile body and a rising cylindrical stem. The drive is carried out by a helical mechanical transmission coupled with an electric motor. The sealed design provides good heat dissipation and allows operating in dynamic movement mode for a long time without the need for external cooling. Models with 12-48 V power supply are made of high-quality plastic, anodized aluminium, and its alloys. The AZ drive is a guarantee of reliability and performance, ensuring you buy the very best for the most reasonable price. A sliding screw pair with a trapezoidal thread or a rolling screw pair with a ball nut is used as a mechanical transmission. To connect a high-speed actuator with attachment points, different types of body and stem ends are selected: hinge, lug, fork, bracket, etc.
A high-speed actuator can boast:
- Fast linear movement and boosted performance.
- Absence of moving wires, high reliability, and a long lifecycle.
- Noiseless, smooth performance.
- Simple integration with cooling and control systems.
- Energy efficiency.
- Lightweight, compact design.
Popular High-Speed Actuator Applications
The scope of its use depends on how quickly a linear actuator can accelerate and how much weight it can carry.
Such devices are widely used in:
- Manufacturing, marine, aviation, and automotive automation.
- Manufacturing equipment.
- X-Y positioning systems.
- Coordinate (linear) tables, including the portal type ones.
- Linear servo drives.
- Stepper motors.
- Pick-&-place lines.
- Movement modules.
- CNC equipment.
High-acceleration linear actuators are used to create automation equipment, metal cutting, turning, milling, laser, drilling machines, machining centers, multi-axis systems, and robots. Linear systems with fast acceleration are used for propelling projectiles in "railguns". Smaller models are suitable for applied use.
The PA-15 high-speed linear actuator, which has a tubular design with a brushed motor, is capable of operating at speeds up to 9.05 inches/sec. With its fast automatic movement and unique design, it is ideal for home, office, and automotive applications. IP54 protection class allows using the device outdoors and in rooms with high humidity.
PA-15 High-Speed Actuator
Models PA-18 and PA-14 feature a compact design, making them perfect for the automation of a variety of light-duty processes. Such devices are used to equip offices, shops, kitchens, and various workplaces, in the construction of high-rise and medical beds, and other furniture.
PA-18 Track Linear Actuator
PA-14 Mini Linear Actuator
The PA-04 linear actuator is characterized by high power, performance, acceleration, and a housing that is impervious to dust and splash water. Its IP66 protection rating makes it ideal for harsh environments such as marine, agricultural, and industrial automation. It is irreplaceable for garden equipment.
PA-14 IP66 High-Speed Actuator
AcuatorZone linear actuators make your production and life as efficient and convenient as possible. For more information, please reach out to us and we would be delighted to help!