Linear Drives

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Industrial automation is heavily reliant upon motors as a motion source. However, many applications demand linear motion and thus a variety of linear actuators have been developed to accomplish the basic task of converting conventional rotary power to linear motion. Linear actuation technology uses the mechanical principals of drive systems such as belts, ball screws and lead screws – or perhaps hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders – together with guides and slide units to create straight-line motion. Electric cylinders, for instance, generate linear motion and provide efficient power transmission with the added advantage of electrical control. Whilst linear motion systems are common in industrial automation contexts, they also feature in everyday items such as disk drives. A range of linear drive components from major-brand suppliers such as SMC, LinMot, Linak and Saia can be supplied as stock items. Designs such as ball screw drives and belt drives can be supplied with products able to cope with a range of shear force – in some instances up to levels of 4,500 N. Stroke lengths of 10mm to 1,000mm can be accommodated, with typical speeds of 100-1,000 mm/s and maximum movable mass rated from 0.25 kg up to 60 kg. Some components can tolerate operating temperatures as low as -30°C while others can remain functional up to a maximum temperature of +65°C.