Different Types Of Actuators – Ultimate Guide


An actuator is an electronic device that is used to send signals to a mechanical device. In this case, an actuator is used to send a signal to the lock on a door so that you can open it.

An actuator can be used in many different ways. For example, you can use it to make a car start when you push the button on the steering column. Or, you can use it to make a radio or a television turn on or off.

In this lesson, we are going to learn about different types of actuators and how they are used.

Here are some examples of different types of actuators:

Thermal and Magnetic Actuators

A thermal or magnetic actuator is a very simple device. It consists of a metal strip about an inch wide with a magnet attached to one end and a plastic clip (or some other type of fastener) attached to the other end. The metal strip is heated or cooled by a tiny electric current. This causes it to expand or contract which in turn moves the magnet relative to the clip.

It’s very simple, but it can be made to perform very complex functions. These actuators are used in everything from toys to space shuttles. They are used to open and close valves, move objects, and operate machinery. They are so useful that they are even used as a replacement for human hands.

Mechanical Actuators


A mechanical actuator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.  This electrical energy can then be used to operate an electrical device.  The conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy is called “mechanical-to-electrical transduction”.

There are many different types of mechanical actuators. One common type is the electric motor.  Another type is the solenoid.  Both of these are very common.  However, there are other types of actuators too.  

For example, a hydraulic actuator uses the energy of a liquid (usually oil or water) under pressure. A pneumatic actuator uses the energy of a gas under pressure. A rack-and-pinion actuator uses the energy of a toothed rack which is connected to a gear train to convert rotary motion to linear motion. And, a ball-screw actuator uses a screw and nut arrangement to convert rotary motion to linear motion.

You can use a mechanical actuator in a wide variety of ways.

Supercoiled Polymer Actuators

Supercoiled Polymer Actuators

A supercoiled polymer actuator is a device used to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. It is the most common type of actuator used in consumer products. The two main components of a supercoiled polymer actuator are a coiled spring and a plastic or metal housing. The housing contains an electrical contact which is connected to an electronic circuit. 

When the circuit is activated, an electric current flows through the spring, which causes it to expand or “uncoil”. This expansion pushes against the sides of the housing, which in turn forces a metal pin or some other type of projection outwards. This outward projection creates the mechanical force needed to do work.

Fluid Power Linear Actuators

Fluid Power Linear Actuators

The fluid power linear actuator consists of a cylindrical housing, a piston rod attached to a piston slidably mounted inside the housing, a pair of end plates at each ends of the housing, a pair of bearings mounted between the end plates, and a fluid cylinder connected to one of the end plates. The fluid inside the fluid cylinder is incompressible and it provides the force necessary to move the piston rod.

Fluid Power Rotary Actuators

Fluid Power Rotary Actuators

These devices are an alternative to the more traditional linear actuator. The rotary actuator consists of a steel shaft with a helical groove on one end, and a ball or roller on the other. The grooved end is inserted into the housing of the linear actuator. The difference is that the rotary actuator turns instead of slides. This causes the helical groove on the shaft to rotate and push or pull the other end of the shaft. Fluid power rotary actuators can provide a great deal of force for their size. They also have very high speed response. This makes them ideal for use as a manual override for automated functions. They can be used in a wide variety of applications such as door openers, drawer openers, seat adjustment, etc.

Linear Chain Actuators


Linear chain actuators are used in a wide variety of industrial applications. They are a type of “pneumatic” or air-powered actuator. This type of actuator is commonly used in manufacturing, construction, and heavy equipment.

A linear chain actuator consists of a metal or plastic tube that is attached to the object to be moved. A piston is slid down the inside of the tube. The bottom of the piston has a rubber-like O-ring that acts as a seal. Air pressure is built up behind the piston. This causes the piston to be pushed up the tube, which in turn, moves the attached object.

Manual Linear Actuators

Manual Linear Actuators

A manual linear actuator is a device that is attached to the control lever of a mechanical switch and it moves back and forth in a linear fashion. It does this by means of a threaded shaft that turns a threaded nut which is attached to the switch control lever. As the shaft is turned, the nut travels back and forth along the threaded shaft. This movement of the nut causes the lever attached to it to move in a corresponding linear motion.

There are many uses for these devices but one of the most common ones is to open and close garage doors. You can buy them individually or in kits. These are available from most any good hardware or home improvement store. You can also get them online from various suppliers. They typically sell for $20 to $40 each.

Manual Rotary Actuators

Manual Rotary Actuators

A manual rotary actuator is a mechanical device that converts rotary motion into linear motion. It does this by using a toothed gear (called a “rack and pinion”) to transfer the rotary motion of an electric motor or other prime mover into the linear motion required to perform a specific function.

These types of actuators are used in everything from garage door openers to automatic transmissions.  They are also used in a wide variety of industrial applications, such as hoists, cranes, conveyors, and material handling equipment.

Electric Linear Actuators

Electric Linear Actuators

An electric linear actuator (ELA) is a mechanical device that moves a mechanical element (like a valve or a piston) in a straight line. In other words, it’s a “linear actuator”.

What makes an ELA different from other kinds of actuators is that it does not have any moving parts. Therefore, there is no friction, no wear and tear, and no need for lubrication. As a result, ELAs have a very long life and are extremely reliable.

They are also extremely light weight, which makes them ideal for applications where the force needed to move the mechanical element is relatively low. For example, ELAs are often used to open and close valves on fuel injectors, which requires only a fraction of the force required to open and close a typical valve.

Electric Rotary Actuators

Electric Rotary Actuators

An electric rotary actuator is a mechanical device used to convert rotary motion into linear motion. It is essentially a small electric motor with a lead screw attached to it. As the lead screw rotates, it advances forward inside the electric motor, which causes the shaft of the motor to also advance. This linear motion is then transmitted to whatever object needs to be moved.

These actuators are used in a wide variety of applications. They are often used to open and close garage doors, operate window shades, adjust the position of a car radio, open and close valves, and perform many other functions.

Hydraulic Linear Actuators

Hydraulic Linear Actuators

A hydraulic linear actuator is a mechanical device that converts hydraulic pressure into a mechanical force. The force is usually in the form of a linear motion, which is usually in the form of a straight line movement.

Hydraulic linear actuators are often used as part of a system that includes some sort of hydraulic pump and reservoir. These hydraulic pumps are used to generate high pressures (up to 15,000 psi or more). A typical application for a hydraulic linear actuator would be to open and close the trunk of a car. 

When the trunk is closed, a rod attached to the actuator is pushed down into a cylinder. As the pressure in the cylinder is released, the rod will rise back up to its original position. This type of actuator is also used for operating garage doors, opening and closing cabinet doors, and a variety of other uses.

Hydraulic Rotary Actuators

Hydraulic Rotary Actuators

These hydraulic rotary actuators are commonly used to operate overhead garage door openers. They are designed to work with a standard “pneumatic-type” garage door opener. The main difference is that this type of actuator will not jam like a pneumatic actuator will if it gets clogged up with dirt or debris.

A rotary actuator uses an electric motor and a set of gears to convert the rotation of the electric motor into linear movement. This type of actuator is much more efficient than a pneumatic actuator, but they do have a slight disadvantage over pneumatic ones. Namely, they cannot be used in an atmosphere where there is a risk of explosion. This is because they use pressurized fluid instead of air.

Pneumatic Linear Actuators

Pneumatic Linear Actuators

A pneumatic linear actuator is a mechanical device that uses compressed air to rapidly extend and retract something. It is used for things like opening and closing garage doors, raising and lowering tailgates, and many others.

It has a piston that is attached to a mechanical link. As the piston moves back and forth, the link moves up and down. This causes the object attached to the link to move up and down. A linear pneumatic actuator can be used for almost any type of vertical motion. It is usually powered by a remote control or by a manual switch.

Pneumatic Rotary Actuators

Pneumatic Rotary Actuators

Pneumatic rotary actuators are the simplest type of linear actuator. They consist of a cylinder with a piston inside. The piston is connected to a rod. As the rod moves back and forth, it extends or retracts the piston inside the cylinder. 

This action rotates a nut attached to the rod. When the nut rotates, it causes a screw thread or helical gear to turn. This gear turns a threaded rod. The other end of the rod is connected to a mechanism that does something useful.

A pneumatic rotary actuator has several advantages over other types of linear actuators. It is very simple, so it is easy and cheap to make. It requires no electrical power to operate. It has no moving parts that can wear out. It can be made quite small, so it takes up little space. And, since it uses air under pressure, it can operate over a wide range of temperatures.

Piezoelectric Actuators

Piezoelectric Actuators

A piezoelectric actuator is a crystal that contains a high-voltage electric charge. When pressure is applied to the crystal, it causes the crystal to change shape. This change in shape produces an electric current.

An actuator can be used in a wide variety of applications. One of the most common uses for an actuator is as a control mechanism for a mechanical device. For example, if you own a pool and you want the water level in your pool to be just right, then you can use an actuator to open or close a valve that controls the flow of water into or out of the pool.


What Makes an actuator move?

The actuator is operated by means of an electric motor. The actuator is attached to a motor body.

This is connected to the control unit by means of a rotary shaft. The rotary shaft is equipped with a bevel gear which meshes with a similar bevel gear on the control unit. When you turn the control knob, the bevel gears turn and the shaft turns. This turns the actuator.

What is the function of an actuator?

An actuator is a sensor and a servo in one. The actuator is a current controlled motor and will move the control arm to a new position based on the current applied to the motor. The control arm is attached to the blade via a pivot.

As the control arm moves, it rotates the blade which changes the aerodynamic characteristics of the airfoil. This causes a change in lift which is detected by the sensor. The servo then applies a correction current to the motor and the process repeats itself.

How do you test an actuator?

The first thing you do is test the power supply. If the power supply is good, then you check the sensor. Check the sensor circuitry for shorts, opens, transistors, blown fuses, etc. If the sensor checks out, then you move onto the motor.

If the motor is OK, then you test the battery and/or charger. If everything checks out there, then you test the wiring harness. If that’s OK, then you test the lights and switches. And finally, if all that checks out, then you start testing the bike itself.


There are a lot of different types of actuators which are attached to the control panel of a car. These actuators are used for turning on and off the electric components of the vehicle. Without knowing about the different types of actuators, you may end up damaging the car because of your carelessness. Therefore, we have decided to write an article about this subject so that you will know all about this type of actuator.

We hope that after reading this article, you will be able to use the information in your daily life in a safe way.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

    Different Ship Types By Size In The World

    types of navigation

    Types Of Navigation And Which Are Best