The Four Most Common Uses of Electric Linear Actuators

Christopher Nook by Christopher Nook

The reason electric linear actuators are a preferred choice for converting rotary motion into linear motion is that they have many advantages.

The reason electric linear actuators area a preferred choice for converting rotary motion into linear motion is that they have many advantages. Although several different forms of energy such as electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical, and piezoelectric can be used as a source to drive an electric linear actuator, using AC or DC power to run an electric motor is by far the most predominant.


The advantages of electric linear actuators are many:

  • Electrical current is easily routed to actuators because cabling is easier and less costly than piping
  • Energy is delivered to the motor cleanly and quietly
  • Electricity is efficient and cost-effective
  • Control of the power source is easy
  • Electrical faults are usually easier to troubleshoot
  • Electric linear actuators provide precise control of acceleration, speed, position, and/or torque
  • They can position the load at variable and repeatable locations within the full stroke
  • They can synchronize multiple axes for coordinated moves
  • They are able to be reprogrammed or reconfigured to handle multiple applications
  • These actuators can be synchronized with other machine operations

With so many advantages to offer, it’s no wonder that these linear actuators are the most widely used form of linear motion control system. Their potential application options can be characterized through an understanding of their four primary uses.

Repeated Linear Movement

Electric actuators are often the solution of choice for repeatedly moving a load—or several loads—to a consistent location—or locations—in a continuous fashion. Repeated linear movement sometimes requires synchronizing multiple axes to facilitate coordinated moves. If you need to repeat motion continuously and consistently, as well as coordinate several different motions simultaneously, this type of actuator is often the best solution.

Adaptable Movement

Linear motion that changes or adapts—frequently referred to as adaptable movement— is another important application. Whenever load, positions, or the very nature of the motion itself changes—as often is necessary for synchronizing movements with other machine operations—you can use these actuators to control and facilitate adaptable movement.

Controlled Precision Movement

Precisely controlled motion—the accuracy of which is beyond the capabilities of an actual person without exhibiting human error—is another important electric actuator use. With these linear actuators, you can control position with extreme levels of precision, duplicate and repeat precise movements within the full stroke, and even reprogram or reconfigure precise motions to support multiple applications.

Acceleration Controlled Movement

Electric linear actuators are also used to control the rate of acceleration. Because you can precisely control speed, position, and torque, you can make the actuator accelerate or decelerate as quickly and as often as you need.

Helix Can Help You Understand Your Linear Actuator Requirements

Before selecting an actuator, consult with HELIX Linear Technologies to identify the optimal motion control system for your specific application. Helix engineering specialists can help you assess your motion control needs and configure an actuator that not only meets the requirements of your situation but also adds value to your overall product design.


Contact Our Project Engineers >


Additional Reading

Electric Cylinders - What They Are, and Why You Should Be Using Them

Top 10 Benefits of An Electric Linear Actuator

Top 5 Benefits of Using an Electric Linear Actuator

The Top 10 Mechanical Actuator Questions Answered