Using A Potentiometer

Using A Potentiometer

Anna Sapiga
Anna Sapiga
PA Engineer

by Ajay Arora

Applications that require linear actuators with positioning control get the most out of feedback actuators. Also known as ‘actuators with potentiometers,’ the motion devices allow a user to determine where along the stroke their actuator is, and then move their actuator forward or backward based on the information they have received. So, how does a potentiometer work?

How a Potentiometer Works

Commonly, potentiometers are used to control the amount of voltage that is sent to a device. A potentiometer is equipped with a conductive material that ranges from no resistance to the maximum amount of resistance. Using this conductive material, the potentiometer controls the amount of voltage sent to the operation.

In the case of actuators, a potentiometer is used to gather information from the actuator position and sends it to the controller (the computer or human). The feedback actuator is given a set point, and that point is given a numeric value. Once the screw reaches that point, the feedback signal is generated and sent to the human or computer controller. The controller can then base his/her/its next decision on this information.

Feedback actuators are commonly used in applications like printing, where re-alignment is a common practice for print heads. In industry, a drill bit may need to return to its starting position once it reaches a certain point. This point is predetermined and once the actuator reaches that point, the drill moves back to its original position, ready to perform the movement again.

Regardless of whether you are using imperial or metric measurements, an actuator can be customized to perform using either system. An actuator with a potentiometer can come in various stroke sizes, voltages and can even be customized for a specific application or operation, just like any standard actuator.

Feedback actuators take out the human element, providing precise movements every single time. In applications where there is no room for error, feedback actuators can do the same repetitive movements over and over again.

Do you have a project for which you need positioning control? Progressive Automations has a range of feedback actuators that can give you precise motion control you need. Browse through our selection, and if you can’t find the actuator you are looking for, let us know. We can custom build a custom actuator system to fit your operation. Contact us today, and we will be happy to discuss your project or application requirements with you.  We offer a variety of feedback linear actuators.