The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about linear actuators is a pneumatic cylinder with some control valves. They have been an indispensable part of the automation industry and still hold importance. Pneumatic cylinders are suitable for a variety of automation applications at a high speed or high loads.
Despite many advantages, pneumatics cylinders still face some fundamental problems which make engineers review alternate solutions. It is always difficult to position pneumatic actuators precisely under load due to the compressible nature of air, especially at high speed. A substantial waste of electricity due to idling of compressors, and leakages in the pipe lines keeps running costs of the system high. You always find a big maintenance manual under the hood, which speaks volumes about the high operational and maintenance costs involved in pneumatic systems.