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What You Need to Know About Linear Motors

Mike Jeffries | October 19, 2020

Linear motors use magnetic levitation to move large heavy loads without any outside interference from friction. This actually creates more control over the load than any other mechanical option and helps it run more efficiently. Want to know more? We’re here to help.

Related Blog: The History of Electric Motors

The Different Type of Linear Motors

Linear motion can be achieved with different types of motor designs. Motion is created by either using a forcer, or a magnetic track where the load can be moved linearly to create force.  According to the type of application, most linear motors are used in the forcer rather than the track. 

The design is basically the same, however, greater control and maneuverability is obtained from the forcer moving along the magnetic track.

Here are the three types of linear motor designs:

  • Cylindrical Linear Motors: These were the very commercially ready type of linear motor. Over the years, this design has been surpassed in favor of other designs because of their inherently limited length. The only support is built into the ends of a cylindrical rod and in most cases this is a drawback as the forcer and the magnet would at some point along the track touch together and stall out the load.
  • U-channel Linear Motors: These motors were installed in two parallel track each facing each other and the forcer rides along a supported bearing between these two tracks. This type is the most widely used as it reduces all the magnetic flux and provides much more control over the load.
  • Flat Linear Motors: In this application, the motor coils are surrounded by a steel enclosure giving more precise control over the magnetic field. There are two types of flat linear motors. Slotted or slotless. Both types provide a greater amount of overall control of the load but are handicapped because of their low magnetic field output.

Advantages of Using Linear Motors

The first advantage that anyone can see from using a linear motor system is the absence of any belts and pulleys or racks and pinions for guiding and steering or any other rotation-to-motion application.

Another advantage is overall speed. Linear motion also eliminates any backlash that may occur in typical load moving applications. Linear motors can operate at very high speed with incredible pinpoint accuracy. Their speed is in the area of 3 meters per second.

Here are some key advantages from using linear motors:

  • Eliminating all the rotation to translation mechanisms.
  • Extreme speed with extreme accuracy.
  • Eliminates backlash and increases response.

Linear motors are being used more and more by several types of industries. If you have any questions about linear motors, contact us today to speak with a member of our expert team.

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Topics: electrical control, motor and control expert

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