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How a PCB works in an industrial actuator

Here you can find information about Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and their functionalities related to the performance of a LINAK industrial linear actuator. Learn about PCBs with Integrated Controllers and BUS communication and the features they have in common.

Learn how positioning and soft start and stop of an actuator is controlled. How current and temperature measurement can protect the actuator and the industrial machinery in which it is mounted. Know more about EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) protection and the basic functionality of an H-bridge. Our man Hunter Stephenson explains all essentials in this video.

One of the most important things to know about an actuator is its position. The physical position of a PCB controlled linear actuator is based on Hall effect sensors, counting the number of pulses per spindle revolution.

The heart of our integrated controller is an H-bridge, which simply controls the in/out movement of an actuator by activating two transistors to make current flow diagonally past the motor connection. These transistors replace the functionality of mechanical switches/relays. For maximum self-locking ability on your actuator, the motor should be shorted when not moving.

A number of PCB features help protect the machinery, running with a LINAK industrial actuator. A heartbeat signal ensures the electronics are working properly, and the soft start/soft stop feature reduces the mechanical stress on the machinery and the actuator. This function is controlled by ramping up a PWM Motor Control signal and works in the same way as gradually releasing the clutch in a car.

Measuring current and temperature protects the PCB’s electronics and helps ensure reliable actuator performance. A microcontroller measures the current flowing through the H-bridge, and it shuts off the power if the current exceeds a predefined level. Sensors monitor both the H-bridge temperature and the ambient temperature inside the actuator housing and stop operation before the heat reaches damaging levels.

For EMC protection the actuator PCB has a load dump functionality and a polarity protection. The load dump level for LINAK industrial actuators is predefined to 45 volts. If a voltage peak passes this level, the PCB will be shut off.  Polarity protection ensures that the actuator is not damaged in case the power supply wires are wrongly connected.

Any questions about PCBs for industrial electric linear actuators, please feel free to contact your local LINAK office.

Three types of PCBs for LINAK industrial actuators

  • Simple PCB: Runs the actuator in and out, including endstop outputs and a few feedback options
  • IC PCB (w. Integrated Controller): Has an H-bridge for a wide range of configurable feedback outputs and performance settings, as well as monitoring and parallel drive
  • BUS PCB: It supports the same features as the IC PCB. Works for CAN bus, LINbus and Modbus protocols.

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