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Belt-Driven Linear Actuators: Cost-Effective and Versatile

Belt-Driven Linear Actuators: Cost-Effective and Versatile

If you’re planning to build a linear motion system, it can be difficult to decide which type of linear actuator can best address your application’s many requirements. While screw-type and pneumatic actuators have many desirable features, belt-driven linear actuators can check a lot of boxes and are especially versatile for use in a wide variety of applications. In order to choose an ideal linear actuator for your application, it’s important to review some of the notable characteristics that belt-driven actuators can offer.

Belt-Driven Linear Actuator Attributes

Here is an overview of some points to consider when evaluating belt-driven linear actuators:

  • Load capability. While some actuator types are well-suited for extreme loads, belt-driven linear actuators’ load handling range is appropriate for a broad range of applications, from light duty to demanding. For example, Automationware’s belt-type actuator lineup can deliver force outputs ranging from 1,015 up to 13,725N.
  • Stroke length. Belt-driven linear actuators typically offer longer stroke lengths than screw-type actuators, making them suitable for applications with long travel requirements.
  • Speed. Because belt-driven linear actuators don’t have to overcome the whip effect that slows down ball-type actuators, they are capable of high speeds and accelerations — important characteristics for pick-and-place machines and other high-speed automated equipment.
  • Accuracy. Although belt-driven actuators are often associated with high speeds and long strokes, an ideal unit can also offer the accuracy that many automated machines demand. Look for actuators that incorporate recirculating ball blocks and guides that reduce friction and add rigidity.
  • Environment. Industrial applications typically present tough operating environments, with threats such as contamination, exposure to washdowns and chemicals, and shock, to name a few. To ensure long life, your actuator should be built to withstand these conditions. Automationware, for example, constructs actuators with the timing belt inside guide slots on the profile, preventing contamination from dust or processing residue. In addition, Automationware actuators are also available with anodized aluminum structures and stainless steel elements for use in washdown-prone equipment.
  • Customization possibilities. While motion component suppliers offer many standard products, it may still be difficult to find a belt-driven linear actuator that meets all your needs and also withstands tough industrial conditions. The right actuator supplier can offer, for example, different carriage configurations and protective elements necessary for use in harsh conditions. Their modularity also allows quick integration into machines and systems. Automationware also offers accessories to create single- or multi-axis solutions.

Cost-Effective Linear Motion Plus Quality and Performance

When choosing linear actuators, it often comes down to performance and cost. Belt-driven actuators are relatively inexpensive and, thanks to their long stroke, speed, accuracy and wide-range load handling capabilities, they offer an attractive combination of performance, reliability and cost-effectiveness for many industrial automation applications.

IKO is the U.S. distribution partner for AutomationWare. You can download our brochure on our belt-driven linear actuators at, or contact IKO at for more information.

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