Linear Motion Actuators

Linear Motion Actuators are mechanical devices that translate rotary motion into linear motion. They are essential components in many industries including manufacturing, packaging, food and beverage, and aerospace, to name just a few and are found in everyday devices including medical diagnostic equipment, 3D printers, machine tools, and robots among many others.

Linear motion actuators can be operated by mechanical lead screws, ball screws, hydraulics, pneumatics, and piezoelectric means. (Click here for more information on the types of linear actuators.) The most common types of linear motion actuators are mechanically-driven by either lead screws or ball screws.

For many applications, either a lead screw or a ball screw could be used, but each has its own distinct advantages depending on the specific application requirements.

Lead Screw Linear Motion Actuators

Lead Screw Linear Motion Actuators

Lead screw linear motion actuators, in their simplest form, are composed of a screw and a nut. As the screw is turned, the nut travels down the length of the screw, transporting a payload. A spring pushes the 2-piece nut apart to create preload to reduce backlash (axial play). While there are many variations in both screw and nut designs, lead screw assemblies’ inherent simplicity makes them more cost-effective for lighter-duty applications where speed, precision, rigidity and overall accuracy are needed. Despite a larger frictional energy loss because of the contact between the screw and the nut, lead screw linear motion actuators are generally quiet, smooth, clean, self-lubricating, corrosion resistant.

Ball Screw Linear Motion Actuators

Ball Screw Linear Motion Actuators

Ball screw linear motion actuators also utilize a screw and a nut, but the thread is filled with balls to reduce friction. As the balls move along the path of the helical screw, they are returned from the end to their starting point under the transport mechanism. Ball screw linear motion actuators offer minimal friction, high efficiency, are smoother and more accurate. They are typically used in applications which require higher loads, load speeds and longer life.

Deltron Linear Motion Actuators

Some of the considerations when determining whether a lead screw table or a ball screw table is ideal for a specific application include the required size, footprint, operating speed, load capacity, positioning accuracy, duty cycle and environmental conditions.

For over 45 years, Deltron Precision has been providing companies with the perfect linear motion solutions for their specific needs. Our DL series linear actuators are available in both lead screw and ball screw versions and offer the benefit of space-saving designs, fast and simple assembly, long life, and competitive pricing. Our Posi Drive® lead screw actuators are compact, economical, require no alignment of components, and install with standard fasteners.

For specific questions about our products, please visit or F.A.Q. page, Product Selection Guide, or feel free to Contact Us.

Other industry terms for linear motion actuators which Deltron Precision manufactures include: lead screw driven stages, lead screw stages, ball screw stages, lead screw tables, ball screw tables, linear actuators, ball screw actuators, ball screw driven stages, XY tables and more generally as linear bearings, linear motion slides, or simply motion slides.

For cost efficiency and quick turnaround times, Del-Tron Precision delivers. Visit or call 800-245-5013.