The health care sector is a fast-paced industry, which is fuelled by urgent patient needs along with the need for ergonomic applications in general. The basic answer for such needs is found in the form of linear actuators, which have changed the very outlook of the health care industry.

Actuators have revolutionized the very essence of the medical sector, which has made life simpler for accomplishing complex tasks in hospitals and other health care institutions. Before we understand linear actuator uses, let’s take a quick look at what linear actuators are in reality. Since actuators are motors, they can convert a motor’s circular motion into linear motion, thereby making the device in question move in a straight line.

What is a linear actuator used for in health industry?

Linear actuators are being used extensively in the health care industry. An excellent example of an actuator in a medical device is well exemplified by medical devices like wheelchair actuators, actuator medical beds, ventilators, robotic prosthetic limbs amongst other medical devices. The main idea is to capitalize on automating those devices which work in a vertical or horizontal movement.

Photo of a beautiful girl looking at her prosthetic arm while sitting on the bed

Medical device manufacturers are replacing their traditional components with smaller, lightweight options. These modern options are durable, long-lasting, and extremely reliable for medical appliances. One such appliance example is of a ventilator, which uses voice coil actuators to regulate the flow of air through the use of smart valves. Voice coil technology, the underlying technology behind ventilators, is driven heavily by the concept of linear motion.

Examples of Linear Actuators in the Health Industry

The use of linear actuators in this industry  is exemplified in the following medical devices:

Photo of a pretty nurse taking care of a senior patient in a wheelchair

Wheelchair actuators:

Elderly patients and those with disabilities don’t wish to lose out on their mobility. Despite their mobility issues, the need to be able to move around is a necessity. Since empowerment is of utmost importance in such cases, modern electric wheelchairs have become the imminent answer. An actuator motorized wheelchair comes in different forms, some of which include seat elevators, recline systems, elevating leg rests, tilt-recline combination systems, and even wheelchair ramp actuators. However, in each of these versions, the actuator controls the wheelchair. With simple tweaks, there are a lot of combinations available to the healthcare industry in the form of actuators for power wheelchairs.

Photo of a couple of empty beds in an emergency room at a hospital

Linear actuators for medical beds:

Patients often find themselves restricted to the bed in times of injury or other ailments. Linear actuators can be used within the patient’s bed to adjust the backrest angle. Bed lift actuators are often used for providing comfort to people suffering from disabilities. Medical actuators such as the hospital bed actuators can be used to manage the bed’s speed, reduce noise, and effectively assist the patients in managing the backrest of their beds. On the contrary, an adjustable bed linear actuator can help the bed move up and down in a straight line so that patients can adjust their bed without any major movements. A typical bed frame with an actuator, which involves the movement of individual sections of the bed or table, will mostly make use of 12-volt, rod-style actuators.

Patient lifts:

One of the other linear actuators uses is well-exemplified inpatient mechanical lifts, also known as patient hoists. Such mechanical lifts play an integral role in lifting and transporting patients from one spot to another. This is made possible by using body mechanics, hoists, slings, and electromechanical actuators. Sometimes, some of these methods can be combined to enhance the use of patient lifts.

Stationary patient beds:

Another aspect of linear actuator uses comes to the fore in equipment which is often used in CT and MRI scanners. The patient table can be lowered/raised to make it easy for all categories of patients. Vertical motions are provided by telescoping actuators while the horizontal motion is provided by high-capacity linear actuators such as precision ball screw and rack and pinion drive.

Conclusion: Linear Actuators are a Health Sector Necessity

Medical devices are imperative in the health care industry. Further to the above-mentioned examples, with medical robots soon becoming the talk of the town in human surgeries, there is a lot more to expect from the world of linear actuators.

To find out more about the industrial use of actuators or wish to find a product suited to your project, contact us and we will gladly help!