Belt Driven Actuators: Loads and Speeds

Actuators are systems used to control or drive a load. There are pneumatic, hydraulic and electric actuators, all utilizing mechanical parts to move a load. A category of electric actuators are belt actuators and belt drive systems. Belt drive systems are an excellent alternative to rodless air cylinders. Belt actuators have an integrated guide system to carry the load as it travels. The drive can move the load but it must be supported by an external guide system. When comparing the actuator system and the belt drive system, they both have similar specifications. The belt drive would require an external support but can handle the most thrust load. Let’s take a look at a few more differences between MISUMI USA series belt actuators and belt drive systems.

MSA belt driven actuators have a repeatability of 25 microns and models that can run at speeds in excess of 10,000 mm/s.  They feature an extruded aluminum body with a t-slot, which will allow you to mount positioning sensors. They also have an easy to adjust belt tensioner, a one-piece machine and stress proof shafted pulley, a zero backlash belt to pulley, and corrosion-resistant components.

MSA belt drive systems do not have a load bearing mechanism. An extra load bearing mechanism such as an external support system is needed for each of these systems. These belt drives are a great alternative to a pneumatic cylinder system.  You eliminate the air system components ie. flow controls, cylinder, fittings, air compressor etc.  You also have the ability to program multiple positions.

MSA-SB1 and MSA-SB2 are both economical replacements for long rodless air cylinders. The SB1 can be used as a drop and drive replacement where a guidance system is already in place. It has the ability to move loads up to 100 pounds with a max speed 5050 mm/s. The SB2 can move loads up to 500 pounds with a max speed of 10160 mm/s. MSA-SB2 has a zero backlash belt to pulley design and corrosion-resistant components.

MSA-PSC utilizes a slider linear support. It is suitable for light load applications on both horizontal and vertical axes with a maximum travel speed of 1,270 mm/s, a maximum load of 20 pounds with a repeatability of plus/minus 25 microns. Max acceleration can exceed 5 G’s and no maintenance is required for this system.

MSA-628 is for light load and light moment load applications and uses a roller with a hardened shaft as a linear support mechanism. It handles loads up to 25 pounds with a max speed of 5,080 mm/s and moment load of 1.4 N/m. It is recommended to check the belt tension periodically as preventative maintenance or after a serious crash situation. Also, apply light oil to the integrated felt wipers.

For medium load and light moment load applications MSA-M6S is a great actuator.  It is the same support mechanism design as the MSA-628 but with 50 lb and 6,230 mm/s max load and speed.  Moment load is 3.3 N/m. Maintenance is the same as the 628.

Now for our heavy load carrying belt actuators. MSA-14S is suitable for loads up to 200lbs and can handle 26 N/m of moment load.  This series is excellent for vertical orientation applications due to its wide load handling and moment capacity. MSA-14H handles loads up to 400 pounds and can handle 52 N/m of moment load.

The MSA-NBC can be used for light-duty loading and moments. This is a plastic roller design as the linear support mechanism with a max load of 100 pounds. Max speed is 2540 mm/s, excellent for hanging loads. MSA-135 utilizes the same roller design and can handle heavier loads up to 500 pounds and max speed of 5080 mm/s.

MSA-R20’s linear support mechanism is a linear guide.  This is great for high speed and heavy load applications. Up to 400lbs of load and 10,160mm/s max speed.

As you can see MISUMI carries a variety of belt driven actuators and systems. Be sure to consider all application parameters when specifying an actuator. For a quick guide, below you will find an overview chart of all of our belt actuators. Each actuator has a configurable stroke length, some up to 6300 mm length with 50 mm increments. More detailed information can be found on their perspective webpage from, visit us!


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    Belt Driven Actuators: Loads and Speeds

    Actuators are systems used to control or drive a load. There are pneumatic, hydraulic and electric actuators, all utilizing mechanical parts ...
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