Positioning Applications With the KLA Linear Actuator

Linear positioning actuator delivers strokes up to 8 mm with 5 µm precision

The Kinitics Linear Actuator (KLA) is a shape memory alloy-based precision linear actuator that delivers high force and high speed in a compact package, making it an ideal linear actuator for positioning applications. Electrically powered, the KLA actuator has only one moving part, the rod, and operates without the backlash common to lead-screw and ball-screw actuators, improving performance in a positioning application. Additionally, in continuous-duty holding operation the KLA Linear Actuator requires little power, making it an efficient alternative to fluid-power options. Forces up to 2,000 N can be generated and maintained within sub-Newton accuracy while strokes up to 8 mm can be held to within 5 µm.

Shape memory alloys for speed, force and precision

From an electrical perspective, the KLA linear positioning actuator behaves as a purely resistive device, with a broad linear region over its stroke where position is linearly proportional to power input. In order to achieve high precision and accuracy, the use of closed-loop control is recommended, with a linear sensor the preferred feedback sensor. Complex communication or control techniques are generally not needed; in most cases a simple PI control loop can be utilized. The KLA linear positioning actuator can be connected to a Kinitics Controller, which drives the actuator and utilizes an analog gain signal (using a 4-20 mA input) or a PWM signal at the Pulse discrete input; in combination with a control system such as a PLC, an effective positioning system can be created.

A typical control loop using a Kinitics Automation KLA Linear Actuator and KCA020 Controller.




Shape memory alloy wires conduct electricity, and when current is applied undergo Joule heating to obtain a highly linear relationship between the wires’ length and energy input. This relationship makes the Kinitics SMA-based linear positioning actuator ideally suited for positioning applications, as the voltage source can be modulated such that power input matches heat dissipation, holding the actuator at a desired position. Furthermore, in a positioning application little power is required: Less than 8 percent of the actuator’s rated power (and even less, depending on the cooling medium) is required for the actuator to hold its rated load at a set position.

Configure an actuator and request a quote online, or contact us to find out more about using Kinitics Automation’s precision linear actuators in your application!
The KLA05 Linear Actuator uses shape memory alloys for high force, high speed and high precision, making it ideal for positioning applications.


Positional response under steady-state power

A more detailed application note on positioning applications with the KLA Linear Actuator is available. Contact us to receive a PDF copy.


Linear Actuators

Shape memory alloy-based actuator delivers high force and actuation speed in a small package.

  • High force-to-size ratio
  • Force up to 2600 N
  • Stroke up to 8 mm
  • AC and DC power options

Piston Pumps

Shape memory alloy-based actuator with medium pressure and fast actuation in a small package.

  • High pressure-to-size ratio
  • Pressure up to 15 Bar
  • Displacement up to 6.28 cc
  • Flows up to 14 LPH


AC and DC controllers to interface Kinitics Force and Piston Pumps with standard PLC.

  • Compact size, DIN rail mount
  • 120 VAC, 12 and 24 VDC versions
  • Discrete I/O and analog gain input for multiple control strategies