Some examples of projects that our customers have built are electric cupboards and drawer slides, hidden compartments in furniture and behind picture frames, automated windows and skylights as well as kitchen elements such as spice racks that drop down into a counter.

Linear Actuators in Home Automation & Prosthetics

Michael Greig | Actuonix Motion Devices


Tell us a little bit about Actuonix and how it got started and why the rebranding in 2016.

Actuonix Motion Devices was originally founded in 2004 under the name Firgelli Technologies Inc. At that time, we were a sister company to Firgelli Automations who sold larger linear actuators while we manufactured smaller ones. The two companies have always been independent entities, we just shared the Firgelli name.

In June 2016 we decided to eliminate the confusion between the two businesses, so we renamed ourselves Actuonix Motion Devices. We were not acquired nor sold, and remain the same company as before with same quality products, helpful staff and facilities. We are working hard to develop new micro linear motion products and to create a strong new brand under the name Actuonix Motion Devices Inc.


What are the main products you offer.

We sell micro linear actuators, RC linear servos and accessories that help our customers mount and control those core products. Our first product was the PQ12 micro linear actuator. Launched more than a decade ago, it is unmatched in it's combination of size, power and low price. Over time we have launched dozens more products. We now offer 5 different families of linear actuators: the PQ12, L12, L16, P16 and just launched our new T16 linear track actuator.


Why might somebody choose a linear actuator over a rotary servo or motor?

Linear actuators have a few key advantages over conventional rotary servos and motors. The first major advantage is power. Linear actuators are capable of higher forces than standard rotary servos. Second, micro linear actuators are typically simpler to mount and adapt to a project than rotary servos.

If you're trying to create linear motion using a rotary servo, it's going to require some complicated mounting and linkage. We've found that for many projects, a linear motion device is exactly what the builder is looking for to avoid the extra work that comes with adapting their design to work with rotary motion.


Give us an idea on the ease of use of your linear actuators.

For the home-automation market, most will use our S and R series actuators. R series actuators are a direct plug and play replacement for RC linear servos. If you're controlling your project with an RC receiver, it couldn't be easier. The R series are also compatible with Arduino as well as other micro-controllers.

All of our products are available as an S series which is a simple 2-wire actuator that is controlled by reversing polarity. These can be powered with a battery or a DC power adapter and are simple to wire up to a DPDT switch for basic operation.


You have targeted the Home Automation market, how can your products be utilized in this field and what are the advantages.

Our products are ideal for home automation projects that require linear motion in a tight space. Some examples of projects that our customers have built are electric cupboards and drawer slides, hidden compartments in furniture and behind picture frames, automated windows and skylights as well as kitchen elements such as spice racks that drop down into a counter.

Our team put together a simple wireless locking mechanism using an S series actuator and our wireless remote control. This can be mounted in a bedroom, on a front door, or in a kitchen drawer or cabinet.

If you're using Arduino, the automation possibilities are endless. Some examples that we've seen are pet doors, chicken coop doors, household windows and skylights that close automatically based on daylight or time of day. ¬ The only real limit is your creativity; we're constantly seeing our customers find new and interesting ways to use our products.


Lets talk Robotics and manufacturing. Give us a couple examples of where Actuonix products are being used and what advantages they are providing the user.

One place our PQ12 actuators have been very popular is in the robotic prosthetics market. We're proud to have our PQ12's driving the most innovative products in the industry such as the innovative hands from Open Bionics and YouBionic. These companies are revolutionizing the prosthetics industry by designing affordable, 3D printed robotic hands.

We have worked with companies in the automotive and motorcycle industries as well as medical, aerospace and construction. We provide both stock and custom actuators to a variety of businesses of all sizes. Many of these are massive companies and household names.


I understand you sponsor community and college projects, tell us about those.

Actuonix Motion Devices is always on the hunt for projects to sponsor. We prefer new ideas, innovative DIY automation and robotics projects. We've sponsored several individuals who are working on projects for mobility and rehabilitation of the disabled. We sponsor our local FIRST Robotics team and various engineering team projects from universities around the world.

Last year, we had the opportunity to provide an LAC (linear actuator control) board to the HAT (Hargrove Adaptive Toy) project. The team at Hargrove Engineers wanted ¬ build a cost-effective wheelchair by converting a Power Wheels car into a mobility wheelchair for a young girl with cerebral palsy. The project was a huge success and we're happy to say that we have the privilege of sponsoring them with more boards this year.

Of course we like opportunities to promote our actuators but more than that, we love seeing our products making a difference in our community and in our world. If you are involved in a humanitarian project that could use our products or you're building something outrageous or unique, we'd like to hear from you. We may be interested in sponsorship.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of HomeToys

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