The aerospace industry uses high-performance mechanisms capable of working under non-standard conditions. Linear actuators designed for use in airless space best suit the requirements of aircraft equipment components. They provide smooth 2D or 3D movement of various elements of a spaceship or airliner: starting from pilot seats and ending with flight control systems.

Industrial Linear Actuators: Revolutionary

Industrial actuators have drastically changed the processes of production mechanization, the technology for creating and operating automatic lines, and the automation of production processes. The scale of these changes is comparable to the move from the era of steam and coal to the era of electricity. With the evolving technologies and capabilities of linear actuators, they have made previously complex, time-consuming, and perhaps dangerous processes extremely easy. Operating them is easy; they can have a built-in or an external controller, controlling several electric drives or robots on a local network. Industrial automation starts with linear actuators, and their advanced technology has made things a lot more convenient, with the aerospace industry being no exception.

Photo of a laser cutting close up

Aerospace Actuators

Most systems used in the aviation industry are controlled through drives. For instance, they are often used to control and limit engine speed by adjusting the craft’s levers and flaps.  Actuators convert electrical signals into mechanical motion or other physical variables (such as pressure or temperature); thus, they play an extremely active role in the control systems. For some areas, aviation included, it is important that the drives achieve extremely high dynamic loads while staying lightweight. The ability of actuators to be installed in small, limited spaces is of high significance to this industry. Furthermore, they must also be able to withstand harsh conditions, such as strong vibrations, extreme heat, and cold. For instance, our PA-13 has a force capability of up to 3000 lbs, with an environmental rating of IP66. This is the type of actuator that would be suited towards the aerospace industry; however, purchasers need to be mindful of its operating noise rating of <90 dBA.

The production of components for the aerospace industry is focused on mechanical strength and reliability, high load capacity, compactness, and weight reduction. Components designed for aircraft interior solutions must be quiet, run smoothly, and be easy and convenient in use. For example, the inline actuator for controlling an aircraft engine is fully adapted to working in all ranges of torque and applied force. It provides full integration of the actuator with the flight control system of the aircraft.

Photo of a crew exploration vehicle in space

Aerospace Actuators and Rocket Launches

Aerospace actuators provide rocket launch and flight control in multiple areas of manufacturing and design. With the recent launch of the NASA and SpaceX rocket, it’s quite interesting to see how linear actuators play a role in this. Below are some of the areas where they are implemented:

  • Changing the position of the rails and shanks of launch vehicles, tactical and strategic missiles.
  • Controlling the angle of rocket engine nozzles.
  • Moving platforms and compartments.
  • Crew seat adjustment.
  • Maintenance before flight starts.

How to Choose an Aircraft Actuator?

Linear actuator manufacturers offer all kinds of aerospace linear actuators to meet the variety of demands and requirements. When choosing actuators, customers in the aerospace and aircraft industry should consider the following:

  • The stroke length. Aerospace hydraulic actuators have a stroke length between a few inches and 20 feet. However, the stroke length of industrial electric linear actuators, unlike hydraulic and pneumatic ones, has neither minimum nor maximum limits.
  • Review supporting devices and accessories required. For instance, a special mounting bracket is used for stationary installation when the linear drive is used only to act on a single element of the mechanism. A double hinge is necessary to ensure that the drive rotates when pulling in and out.
  • Should your actuator have feedback capabilities? Feedback drive models are capable of synchronizing several flight control parts, and controlling and adjusting the position and speed of the aircraft.
  • Protection rating. Your linear actuator manufacturer should offer models with high protection for wet and/or dusty environments.

Photo of a linear actuator by Progressive Automations

The Advantages of Electric Linear Actuators Compared to Hydraulic and Pneumatic

Ball-screw gears, hydraulic, and pneumatic linear actuators are being replaced with electric linear motors, an actuator with a linear servo that guarantees exceptional accuracy of movement at various speeds. In cases where you need to significantly reduce the duration of the working cycle, a linear electric motor is a prime choice, with its working acceleration (deceleration) reaching 3G. This is significantly more than what a conventional linear ball screw, hydraulic, or pneumatic actuators can cope with.

Conclusion

For most aspects of the aerospace industry, we recommend super-powerful actuators that can work with a force of up to 10 pounds and/or a stroke of 0.24 – 60 inches. If you need to use micro or miniature models of industrial linear actuators with a power of only 5 pounds, we will find the right model for you. Progressive Automations has been continuously developing its electromechanical actuator for industries such as the aerospace industry. We are actively collaborating with leading aerospace companies, manufacturers of passenger seats for aviation, as well as supplying our products to manufacturers of special vehicles and equipment for airports.

Alongside their use in the aerospace industry, electric linear actuators can also be found in the following industries and areas:

For any questions on industrial actuators or anything else in our product line, feel free to contact us through phone, email, or live chat. We will gladly help you with your query!