« Back To Robotics Editorials
SMAC Moving Coil Actuators Logo

Member Since 2014


SMAC makes Moving Coil electric actuators. These products are the fastest actuators in the world. Cycle life is well beyond 100M. They have the ability to softly land on surfaces and then apply a programmed specific force. SMAC’s new LDL series of linear actuators has a list price of around $300 making them the first real electric actuator alternative to air cylinders. This price is based on SMAC’s contstent cost down program featuring pointed coils, in-house manufactured encoders, and laser cut parts. SMAC invented the Linear Rotary actuator 25 years ago. These are widely used in Electronic Pick and Place, Quality Thread Check, Bottle Capping, and beginning to find wide use in Automatic Screw Driving and SMART Drilling and Tapping. Interestingly a number of companies are making an effort to copy SMAC - but are not able to match technology or price. SMAC also has stepped up its efforts in inspection by launching the MLA series - a direct challenge to old tech LVDT devices.

Content Filed Under:

Automotive and Food & Beverage Automotive , Food & Beverage , Pharmaceutical , and Semiconductor

Other Other

See More

SMAC’s LDL linear electric actuator is cost competitive with pneumatic cylinders.

POSTED 02/18/2021

Many users of pneumatic cylinders - in many industries - are looking for electric actuator alternatives for a number of reasons:

  • On the fly ability to change speed, stroke, force.
  • Higher cycle rates
  • Longer cycle life
  • Ability to feed back in real time what happened when work was done
  • Elimination of pneumatic infrastructure (Compressor, tank, dryer, etc.). 
  • Energy savings
  • Noise reduction 

Up to now this need has been difficult to fill. First off is cost - pneumatic cylinder/valve/flow control/position switch sets cost somewhere around $150.  

Even low cost stepper ball screw actuators cost more and only provide the programmable speed and stroke capability. Cycle life is the same and speeds are usually slower. 

Linear motor driven actuators are technically much better.  And Moving Coil type linear motors have the highest cycle rate and cycle life - >2 x faster than air cylinders with cycle life 10 x longer. They offer programmable speed, position, and force. They also have the ability to report back in real time how the work was done. They inherently have non rotating shafts. 

The drawback has always been the cost. 5 to 10 times higher than pneumatic systems. 

That has changed. 

The SMAC LDL actuator has a number of very innovative cost reduction elements that result in a list price of $300 for a 25 mm stroke unit, $350 for 50 mm.  These include:

  • Printed Coil technology with integrated SMAC encoder reader head. Effective investment make this is zero. 
  • Laser cut parts resulting in housing and end cap process times in the 5 to 30 second range. 
  • 1 piece multi -pole neodymium magnets. 
  • Precision linear guide life tested to 500M cycles. 
  • Automatic assembly - including smart screw driving - done using SMAC’s own products. 
  • SMAC’s built in VLC (Very Low Cost) controller amplifier offered with various communication protocols.                                                                 

Early wins over the world’s leading pneumatic equipment makers resulted from the following performance edges:

  • Cycle rate of 10 CPS vs pneumatic cylinders limited to 5 CPS. (Slamming of the air cylinder piston causes premature leak). 
  • Non rotating shaft eliminated the need for a guide shaft on the air cylinder which caused premature cycle failure. 
  • Programmable on the fly movement profile change made the machine process flexible and virtually eliminated set up time. 

The LDL is now offered in 12 and 25 mm widths (1/2 inch and 1 inch). Other standard sizes are being added and the use of laser cutting technology also results in quick development of special shapes - this is called MCA inside. 

Finally there is a cost effective electric alternative to pneumatic cylinders that is also technically superior. To learn more visit www.smac-mca.com or call 760-929-7575.