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How Linear Actuators Work In Power Windows

Anna Sapiga
Anna Sapiga
PA Engineer

Technology within the automotive industry has seriously improved over the years, from interior functionality to car mechanics and capabilities. One such technological advancement has occurred in vehicle power windows. Electromechanical linear actuators play a critical role in making vehicle power window automation as powerful and seamless as they are.

However, power windows do not need to be restricted to cars alone, as window actuators are widely used in a variety of settings. Windows are present everywhere, and so is the opportunity to automate them through power window actuators. This article will discuss how automated power windows work and aim to highlight the importance and benefits of window automation.

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What are windows actuators?

What is the mechanism that makes these automated windows so reliable and user friendly? The underlying mechanism behind automated windows owes all credit to electromechanical linear actuators or, electric window actuators.

A motorized window actuator facilitates the opening and closing of windows through motor-driven automation. In other words, it is another form of an electric automatic window opener and is available in the form of a rod, chain, folding arm, pinion, and rack mechanism. Some actuators come equipped with sensors, which can open and close windows when there is smoke, rain, hail, or any other movement. Subsequently, the actuator does all the lifting, opening, and closing, each of which is directed by controls and smart sensors. Motorized windows are an excellent addition to your home.

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How do window actuators work?

Electric window openers are often operated remotely through a button on an individual device. Motorized windows are an excellent addition to a smart home. Once the button is pressed, the motor within the opening mechanism is activated and the actuator will do its work.

Linear actuators within windows can be divided into three mechanisms:

  • Rack and Pinion: The mechanism within a rack and pinion converts rotational motion into linear motion. The pinion is a circular gear and it engages a linear bar with teeth, also known as a rack. Whenever power is applied, the pinion rotates. The rack moves with the pinion, and the rotational motion of the pinion gets converted into linear motion. In such windows, the rack is within an external casing and is often attached to the window. Once the pinion moves, the rack gets pushed out and the window is opened.
  • Rod: An extendable rod is fitted onto a track and both parts are enclosed within an external casing. As the rod is activated from the electric motor, the rod starts extending. Since the rod is attached to the window, the window actuator begins to extend as the rod extends forward.
  • Chain actuators: These actuators are available in single and double variations. Single chain actuators are fitted in vertical windows, while double-chain actuators are better suited for wider windows that can’t be opened in one go. Chain actuators work in a similar fashion and can be compared with rack and pinion actuators. A chain is engaged with the pinions, which is mounted on a drive shaft. As the pinions begin to spin, the chain links are rotated at a 90-degree angle. In the case of a window opener, the chain is attached to a window. As the chain reaches a straight form, the window is pushed open. When it retracts, the window closes.

Photo of driver's hands pressing a button to roll the window up in a vehicle

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How to choose a window actuator?

Choosing a reliable window actuator means you need to make a well-informed decision, depending on the types of windows in your house or building. Subsequently, you can go through the different actuators and see which one fits your situation. Chain actuators will prove to be useful when you have high up openings, where the windows are difficult to access. On the contrary, wider windows may require using twin chain actuators.

Linear actuators are capable of opening heavy duty roof domes and lights. Meanwhile, folding arm actuators work well inside hung doors and windows. Despite their small size, they play an important role in ensuring your windows are automated as conveniently as possible and serve their purpose well. A well-informed motorized window opener supplier will be able to guide you in the right direction, especially when it comes to installing the right power actuators within your home windows.

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Why an automatic window opener is good for your home?

Motorized window openers provide a series of benefits to home users; from remote windows to blinds and shades, there are a lot of options to explore. Here are some key benefits of window automation, which includes, but are not limited to:

  • Convenience: Convenience is written all over home automation. People with large homes and multiple windows can easily manage them with one button. With automated windows, you can benefit from remote window control while sitting anywhere in your home. Furthermore, the use of sensors will make this easier, more convenient, and tailored to your needs.
  • Comfort: Strenuous lifestyles determine our day-to-day schedules. When a simple thing like operating windows through sensors and a button can open/close windows, there is a lot of comfort within this automation.
  • Safety: Some windows are simply impossible to reach and can prove quite dangerous to try and operate manually. Ensuring safety in your home can be achieved through automated processes, with hard to reach windows a high contender in this list.
  • Further Automation: Why stop with just your windows? Your home and window automation can be further enhanced through automated blinds and shades, enhancing convenience and comfort. All this control rests within one remote control; just one single device to control the movement of your windows, shades, and blinds.

Even though electric windows for homes are a relatively new market, there are still a lot of options available to homeowners through the versatility of electric linear actuators.


Motorized window actuators are a useful tool wherever you decide to apply them, be it your car, home, or anywhere else. There are different types to choose from based on your requirements and add-ons that can further enhance your automation experience. While automation is a relatively new market, there are still a lot of options available to homeowners in the form of smart home automation. What is yet to be seen is how this market will continue to grow in the future, and the added benefits it will bring to homeowners.  

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