Related Terminologies

Table of Contents

What are actuators?


Table of Contents

An actuator is a component of a machine or device that converts electrical, air, or hydraulic energy into mechanical force to facilitate physical movement. To put it another way, it is the part of any machine that makes it possible to move.

When answering the question of what an actuator does, the process is sometimes compared to how a human body works. A machine’s actuators work to perform a mechanical action, just like the muscles in a human body that enable energy to be converted into some form of motion like the movement of the arms or legs.

What is an actuator? Actuators are found in almost all of the machines we use every day, from simple electronic access control systems to mobile phone vibrators, household appliances, automobiles, and robots. Electric motors, stepper motors, jackscrews, robot electric muscular stimulators, and so on are typical examples of actuators.


Simply put, an actuator is a device that converts electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, or other forms of energy, to mechanical in a manner that allows for control. The type of energy to be converted and the function of the actuator determine the quantity and nature of the input. For example, electric and piezoelectric actuators use an electric current or voltage as their input, while hydraulic actuators use an incompressible liquid and pneumatic actuators use air as their input. Mechanical energy is always what comes out.

In contrast to artificial intelligence and machine learning, actuaries are not something you would typically read about in the media on a daily basis. However, the fact of the matter is that it plays a crucial role in the modern world like no other device has ever done before.

For instance, in industrial mechatronics systems, they are the only ones who have to make sure that a device like a robotic arm can move when electricity is applied. Air flaps, idle speed, and fuel management are all controlled by actuators in the engine control system of your car for optimal combustion.

In contrast to artificial intelligence and machine learning, actuaries are not something you would typically read about in the media on a daily basis. However, the fact of the matter is that it plays a crucial role in the modern world like no other device has ever done before.

They aren’t just used in big projects. At home, actuators are essential tools for setting up cabinets or consoles that can hold televisions and open with a single button press. They can also be found in TV and table lifts, which users can adjust at their convenience using electric switches or buttons.

Want to relax while watching TV? It probably also has a movable head or footrest that moves with an actuator. Actuators are also necessary for home automation systems that can intuitively close window blinds based on the amount of light entering. In a nutshell, they can be used for anything that moves mechanically, and the majority of devices do so in some way.

Following are the standard parts that are essential for the working of an actuator:

Power source: This gives the energy input that is important to drive the actuator. In the industrial sector, these are typically fluid or electric.
Power converter: The power converter’s function is to supply power to the actuator from the source in accordance with the controller’s measurements. Power converters in industrial systems include electrical inverters and hydraulic proportional valves.
Actuator: the actual apparatus that transforms the energy that is supplied into mechanical force.
Mechanical stress: Typically, the actuator uses the converted energy to make a mechanical device work. This mechanical system that is being driven by the actuator is referred to as the mechanical load.
Controller: An operator sets the appropriate input quantities and other setpoints using a controller, ensuring that the system runs smoothly.


As we have already seen, actuators can be used in many different areas. However, this does not imply that every actuator is created equal. You ought to be able to determine which actuator best meets your requirements before making a purchase. This comprehensive guide will help you select the appropriate actuator for your requirements.

Step 1. Assess the movement required:

Does the article you have to move in your task require straight or rotational development? While rotary actuators, as their name suggests, produce circular motion, linear actuators are useful for applying a mechanical force that causes an object to move in a straight line.

Step 2: Consider the energy input:

Due to their increasing sophistication and adaptability to a wide range of operations, electrical actuators are gaining popularity. However, this does not mean that it is appropriate for every work. Think about water driven or pneumatic actuators in the event that your work does exclude electrical voltage input.

Step 3: Assess the precision level required:

When it comes to handling smaller tasks like packaging, which require precision and the ability to repeat the same action hundreds or thousands of times, some actuators may not perform as well as they should. While these actuators are ideal for heavy-duty work in rough environments,

Step 4 : Find out how much force you need:

An actuator is used to move or lift an object. Determine the weight of this object in your case. Although many actuators may appear similar, their load capacity will vary. An actuator’s capacity to lift is determined by its load capacity. Check that your object’s weight matches the actuator’s capacity before purchasing one.

Step 5: Find out how far you need the object moved:

In this case, distance—or stroke length, as it is technically known—is important. The stroke length concludes how far your article can be moved. Actuators of varying stroke lengths are frequently offered by manufacturers.

Step 6: How fast do you want the movement to be:

Depending on the project, most people place a significant amount of importance on the actuator’s speed. Projects that generate low force typically move faster than those that require actuators to exert high force. Distance per second is the measure of an actuator’s speed.

Step 7: Consider the operating environment:

Is it necessary for the actuator to function in a harsh or rough environment containing dust or humidity? If this is the case, you should go with a product that has a higher rating for protection.

Step 8: Decide on the mounting style:

Before making a purchase, it is essential to comprehend the advantages of the various mounting styles available for actuators. A linear electric actuator, for instance, can pivot on both sides while extending and retracting thanks to a dual-pivot mounting technique. This allows the application to move along a fixed path with two free pivot points.

On the other hand, for actions like pressing a button, stationary mounting is useful because it secures the actuator to an object along the shaft. From where you started, you should be able to reduce your choices to a significantly smaller pool at this point. You will need to further narrow down from here. For instance, linear actuators are available in a variety of designs to accommodate various functions. For instance, the rod-style, which has a shaft that expands and retracts, is the most common and straightforward of them all. Track style, which doesn’t change its general length or size during tasks are more fit when space limitations are an issue. TV and table lift installation is also possible with column lifts and other actuators. Operating voltage and motor type are two other options to think about.


Performance metrics are outputs that can be measured and used to assess a product’s quality. Actuators can be viewed as under a few execution measurements. Traditionally, torque, speed, and durability have been the most common. Energy efficiency is now viewed as equally significant. Volume, mass, operating conditions, and other factors may also be taken into consideration.

Torque or force

Naturally, torque is one of the most critical aspects of an actuator’s performance. It’s important to keep in mind that there are two kinds of torque metric to take into account: static load and dynamic load. The actuator’s capacity when it is at rest is referred to as the static load torque or force. The device’s torque capacity when it is moving is referred to as the dynamic metric.


An actuator’s speed is affected by the weight of the load it is meant to carry. Usually, the speed is lower the more weight there is. As a result, the speed metric should be examined first when the actuator is not under any load.


The sort of actuator and the maker’s plan chooses the solidness of an actuator. Although hydraulic actuators, in comparison to electric actuators, are regarded as more robust and durable, the manufacturer will determine the quality of the material.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is becoming a more and more important metric for all kinds of machinery as concerns about conserving energy and how it affects operating costs grow. In this case, the better an actuator is, the less energy it needs to do its job.


Given the broad spectrum of actuators that are out there, different methods are used to connect them to the control. Connecting an electric linear actuator is a rather simple process. Many electric linear actuators come with four pins these days and their connection is as simple as plugging them in. However, if your actuator does not have four pins, the process is slightly different. You will need to buy an additional connector, which often comes in 6- and 2-foot length.

  1. Prepare the wires
  2. Connect the wires
  3. All set


The selection of an actuator and its proper connection are only two steps in the process. The actuator should be mounted in a manner that is suitable for your application as well. An electric linear actuator can be mounted in one of two common ways, which are outlined below.

Dual pivot mounting

A mounting point that is free to pivot, typically a mounting pin or clevis, is used to fix an actuator on both sides using this approach. The application can achieve a fixed path motion with two free pivot points thanks to the dual pivot mounting, which allows the actuator to pivot on either side as it extends and retracts.

Door opening and closing is one of this method’s most useful applications. The door can swing open when the actuator extends because of the two fixed points. The angle changes as the door closes and opens, but the pivot gives the two mounting points enough room to rotate. When employing this strategy, ensure that the actuator has sufficient space to extend without encountering any obstructions.

Stationary mounting

The actuator is fixed to the shaft by means of a shaft mounting bracket when it is mounted in this manner. This kind of mounting is usually used to get an action like pushing something head-on. For instance, this kind of mounting is perfect for turning on or off a button. Make sure the mounting equipment can handle the actuator’s load before choosing this method.


Linear electric actuator applications are virtually limitless. They are used for material handling in factories. Cutting gear that goes all over and valves that control stream of unrefined components are instances of this. Linear actuator systems are also used in robotic arms and robots outside of the manufacturing sector to move in a straight line.

Customers are constantly looking for ways to incorporate linear actuators into their applications as automation trends gain popularity.
Electric linear actuators have become useful for automating window shades as a result of the growing popularity of home automation systems. Using TV lifts that make use of linear electric actuators, household appliances like televisions can be placed at the ideal height without any problems. Table lifts, on the other hand, use actuators to adjust the height to meet the needs of the user.

They assist in aligning the panels with the sun’s path in the solar power industry. Electric linear actuators are utilized for precise and delicate movements even in industries like agriculture, where heavy machinery that makes use of hydraulic actuators is more prevalent.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Whatsapp

Leave a comment

Over 1.2 Million+ learners impacted worldwide

Learners from 170+ countries have grown in their career through our programs

Explore Programs  

Global Presence

Get in touch to learn more about how you can make the best of your talent

Spend less time worrying about job availability, and more time growing your knowledge. Join DIYguru Program today.

If you’re a current student, please get in touch through the DIYguru dashboard to ask about more details of this Program.

Please note, eligibility for this course is reserved to students who have done related projects and have relevant profiles matching with the pre-requisite of this course.

The DIYguru team hold the right to cancel your admisssion into the program without any explanation via email if found unsuitable and unfit.

Our 7-day money-back guarantee starts from the moment of signup and runs through the free week. Cancellations between days 7 and 30 will get a prorated refund.

Fees for the program is charged only when the admission is approved.


Colleges and Institutions

We're growing rapidly across the country, don’t miss out.

Partner with Us


Corporates and Industries

Have workforce requirement or employee upskilling!

Get in Touch



Work with a team that’s transforming future mobility.

DIY with Us

Book Your Free Session Now

Avail free Guidebook and Expert Mentorship in EV domain curated by Industry experts.

Register to continue..

× Need help?