Posted by on 9/18/2017 to
Rod and Track (rodless) actuators ultimately perform the same function - they move loads back and forth. Depending on your application however, there can be significant advantages to either rod or track actuators in your design.
Rod ActuatorsRod actuators are more common than track actuators. In fact, 90% of our product lineup are rod actuators. Simply put, any actuator functions by extending a rod out of the device to drive motion is a rod actuator.
These are ideal for applications where the load you are pushing is either very light weight, or not primarily supported by the actuator. Rod actuators are intolerant of side loads by design. Because of this, it's important that when using this type of device, your load is either supported by a guide device such as a linear slide rail or by some other means.
RodlessA rodless or track actuator does not have a rod that extends from the device to push or pull the load. Rather, it has a carriage or block to mount the load to, and it carries the load along the length of the actuator. Electric rod actuators can be driven via lead screw or belt. All of our track actuators screw driven.
There are a couple of main advantages to using a track actuator. First, they take up less space overall. For example, if you use a rod actuator, the unit has to be long enough when retracted to fit the rod inside the device. Add to that the length of the rod when it extends from the device. On larger actuators that adds up to significant length. Track actuators carry the load along the length of the device and thus can be used in applications where less space is available.
The second main advantage of using rodless actuators is that the actuator itself is capable of supporting the load. This not only saves you space in your design, but also saves you the cost of a slide rail.