high current speed control of linear actuator

Choosing a High-Speed Linear Actuator

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
PA Engineer

There is currently a huge assortment of linear actuators available in our range, each with varying speeds. This variety allows you to select an option with capabilities that match your project exactly, with varying methods used in regulating these speeds. Many projects require high-speed actuators to achieve faster motion for their project. In this article, we will take you through which high-speed models we have available in our range, and when an actuator can be classified as ‘high-speed’.


What Is an Ultra-High-Speed Linear Actuator?

There is no specific outline for what constitutes different types of actuators as ‘high speed’, but rather production guidelines which exist for this classification. Some of these factors include the type of actuator you have, where it’s going to be used, and its type of drive mechanism. These specifications have an influence when labelling a high-speed linear actuator.

Types of High-Speed Linear Actuator Models

Below we highlight the various high-speed linear actuators available at Progressive Automations.


PA-15 Linear Actuator

While 5”/sec is considered a fast speed for actuators, there are linear actuators capable of reaching faster. The PA-15 is a super-high-speed linear actuator capable of reaching up to 9.05"/sec with the slowest pace as 3.20"/sec, a rate still considered quite impressive.

PA-15 Linear Actuator


PA-14 Linear Actuator

If your project requires a smaller sized actuator, a high-speed option is the PA-14. With a no-load speed of 2.00”/sec, this miniature linear actuator is an example of speed and small size working together for optimum functionality. There are also high-speed micro-linear actuators available that are tiny enough for smaller jobs if the miniature linear actuator is not suitable.

PA-14 Linear Actuator


PA-17 Linear Actuator

When a job requires a high force that can handle heavier weights, an industrial actuators like the PA-17 is needed. This is a reliable linear actuator that can produce high speeds when comparing its force capacity and industry averages.

PA-17 Linear Actuator


Linear Actuator Speed Control (DC Speed Controllers)

Each linear actuator comes with a specific range of inches per second, running on the amount of power fuelled into them. Some models, such as our PA-10, can get faster with an increased voltage and slower with a decreased voltage (although this rule does not apply to all). To manage these conditions, you would need DC Speed Controller which controls the actuator’s speed from its maximum rate to zero. DC motor controllers cannot, however, increase the limitations of the actuator’s speed.

For example, a PA-14 with a speed of 2.00”/sec, can be controlled from 0 to 2”/sec using the DC speed controllers. This speed cannot surpass 3”/sec, even with a DC controller. Alongside DC speed controllers, there are various other types of variable speed actuators, allowing you to play a hand in controlling their pace.

The new high current DC Speed Controller (AC-26-30) increases the control capabilities for linear actuators in the entire Progressive Automations’ inventory. With a 30A current rating, and 12-48VDC voltage range, the AC-26-30 can control the speed for all the Progressive Automations’ actuators from 0% to 100% speed.

The onboard control knob allows fine-tuning control and a secure “off” position. Four conveniently located screw terminals at the front of the unit allow for a straightforward hook up. A built-in fuse helps protects against short circuits. The wiring below is an efficient and simple wiring method that provides full speed control in the extend and retract directions.

DC Speed Controller Schema 

For a visual guide, follow our YouTube instructional video below for how to hook up a DC Speed Controller. 

High-Speed Linear Actuators and Potentiometers

When adding a potentiometer to a high-speed linear actuator one can easily control the speed. A potentiometer’s purpose is to measure voltage, but its primary goal is to act as a position transducer. When a linear actuator has a potentiometer, you have the option of switching it to different speed options like one would when switching the gears in a car. An excellent example of a potentiometer would be the 12-24 VDC Synchronized Dual Potentiometer. It cannot consistently control the speed of a linear actuator through the level of energy, but instead, it saves pre-sets.


High-Speed Linear Actuators with Feedback

Another type of linear actuator would be a high-speed linear actuator with feedback. This type can change the position with controls making the linear actuator adjustable. This allows the linear actuator to be modified according to different applications where the feedback is needed. The PA-14P is an example of this. However, there are multiple types of actuator feedback, each made to serve a different purpose.


12-Volt High-Speed Linear Actuators

Electric linear actuators can be categorized by the input voltage they have. The majority of Progressive Automations high-speed linear actuators have 12 volts. These provide more thrust force. And they come in different types and sizes. When you are selecting this type of linear actuator, there are two things to consider: thrust and actuator stroke length.


Final Word

There are a large variety of linear actuators, each with different capabilities, and specifications. From this article, we you have been equipped with insight into which linear actuators and what speeds may fit your needs. Still not 100% on which one’s right for you? Contact our engineering support team, who will guide you through exactly which actuator will suit you best.