Intelligent movement with IC actuators

14 Dec 2020

Using electric linear actuators with integrated controller for automation of industrial machinery or agricultural vehicles has many benefits.

Actuators with an integrated controller (IC) need no external control box or relays, making them very easy to install. IC actuators offer various feedback types, easy control solutions, end of stroke in/out signals, customisation and actuator monitoring possibilities. It also enables parallel movement and integrated Bus Communication.

The integrated controller is built on the well-known H-bridge technology with switch polarity.

Get an overview below of the feedback and configuration options with IC. This can help you tailor a movement solution to meet your requirements and integrate smoothly with your application.


Receiving feedback from an actuator will give a precise overview of its position. This feedback is essential for achieving optimal performance in most applications.

Actuators with IC offer a range of integrated feedback types, making it easy and fast to read out the position of the actuators:

Relative positioning

Relative positioning is a count-based feedback type – like climbing a ladder and determining the position based on the number of rungs you have grabbed, rather than just looking down. This is mainly useful for applications where power is applied constantly, to prevent the actuator from moving a few millimetres when power is off and thereby losing the ability to provide accurate position feedback. If that happens, the actuator would have to move to physical end of stroke (inwards or outwards), to get re-calibrated.

Feedback types:

  • Single Hall
  • Dual Hall

Absolute positioning

Absolute positioning is a position that is stored mechanically, where the actuator always remembers its position. This is a good choice, if you have an application where power is sometimes off. In this way the actuator would still have the actual position stored, when it is powered back up again.

Feedback types:

  • Mechanical potentiometer
  • Analogue 0-10 V and 4-20 mA
  • PWM
  • Endstop signals


Use the configuration options in IC actuators to adapt the actuator movement to your application.

The following parameters can be configured:

  • Feedback types and scaling
    • The IC actuator can supply the user’s control system with one of several types of feedback. After choosing the feedback type, feedback values can be defined - for example current feedback with 4-20 mA. That way, the feedback output would be 4 mA when the actuator was in retracted position and 20 mA in extended position. Feedback is based on pulses and the quality of the output is referred to as resolution. A rule of thumb is that a low spindle pitch entails a high resolution – and therefore a more accurate position feedback. When configuring a virtual end of stroke, the IC ensures that feedback is scaled. For example, in an application where the actuator must stop at 50 % stroke length, the signal output must be 20 mA at that position instead of at the physical end of stroke.
  • Virtual limits
    • Virtual limits can be defined in both inward and outward positions. If the actuator receives a run signal, it will only move to the virtual end of stroke. This is particularly useful if you are using your actuator for prototyping. It can also be handy with applications where you occasionally need to adjust the stroke length.
  • Soft start and soft stop
    • With soft start and soft stop, the actuator slowly accelerates to full speed or slows down from full speed. This helps extend the service life of the actuator and provides smooth operation of the application. Soft start and soft stop can be configured in millisecond precision. By default, the value is set to 300 ms (unless otherwise specified), but this value can be re-configured with a margin of up to 30 seconds.
  • Current limits
    • Current limits can be set for both inward and outward directions. Variation in temperature influences the actuator’s current consumption. The integrated controller intelligently handles this with two different predefined current limits, depending on the surrounding temperature. These limits can be configured according to specific application requirements.
  • Adjustable speed
    • The actuator is preconfigured to 100 % speed. This can be adjusted to a percentage of the maximum speed. We recommend that you keep the value between 50-100 % speed, as lower values could result in reduced actuator performance.