Linear Actuators

Dover Motion’s catalog includes many types of linear actuators utilizing direct drive linear motors or stepper motors. Our Linear Actuators are optimized for various uses including precision motion, high speed, or compact size. We specialize in working with our clients to understand their unique challenges and optimize the motion control system to their exact requirements.  In addition, all of our products can be customized to suit your specific project needs.

Linear Actuators

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About Linear Actuators

Need to know a little bit more before you can make your linear actuator decision? Below is additional information about linear actuators and how they work. Contact us to speak with our staff who can answer any of your technical questions.

What is a translation stage?

Linear Actuators provide precise automated positioning and are typically available as either single axis, an XY stage, or XYZ stage. Linear Actuators are also commonly referred to as XY stages, XY Tables , or Translation Stages. Each axis of a linear actuator must constrain the six degrees of freedom (X, Y, Z, roll, pitch, and yaw) of the payload to only one, producing translation along a straight line. This is accomplished with a set of linear bearing guideways which are attached to a base structural member that provides a stiff support.  Our stages designed specifically for vertical motion can be viewed on our Z Stages page.

The linear bearing guideways can be implemented in a number of ways, including:

  • Ball and crossed roller bearings
  • Recirculating bearings
  • Cam followers or vee wheels
  • Air bearings

How do linear actuators work?

Once the payload has been constrained to a single degree of freedom, the system’s next mission is to actuate the payload and provide precise incremental linear motion along the guideway.

Linear actuator methods include:

  • Friction screws with anti-backlash nuts
  • Ball screws
  • Belt and pulley
  • Rack and pinion
  • Piezo actuators
  • Linear motors

Using a linear motor is generally considered to be optimal for high speed motion systems and is the most precise and repeatable linear motion actuation technology.

A translation stage with a linear motor requires a linear feedback device as well as a servo drive and control to close a position feedback loop. With a high-resolution linear encoder, linear actuators can provide position control down to the nanometer level. A typical application for high precision linear actuators is to control the focus of a microscope objective in a digital imaging system.