Something completely different – unique electric linear actuator applications

By Tolomatic on March 10, 2015

We all recognize that electric linear actuators are critical and much-used components in industrial automation systems.  They’re at the heart of many machine tools, conveying configurations, and packaging systems.  But what if we look beyond those industrial uses?  Here are a few unique applications our actuators have found themselves in.

Flower globe lighting deviceTheater Prop Actuation


A manufacturer of moving stage displays for top entertainers designed an overhead lighting device that transformed from a globe into a flower. Each “petal” of this flower globe was actuated individually.

The lighting device needed a high force linear actuator solution with 100% safety and no risk of failure. The entire device needed to be lightweight so it could be attached easily above a stage. Less weight would also minimize shipping costs, an important consideration since the display had to be transported globally. The flower globe device needed to “wow” audiences who paid premium ticket prices so the actuator needed to operate smoothly and flawlessly.


Safety and reliability concerns dictated the use of an electric high force linear actuator solution. Eight RSA50-HT electric rod actuators actuate the petals of the flower globe. The actuators’ high force capabilities, superior repeatability, and proven dependable performance make them a great solution. For added safety, the actuators are equipped with geared reduction boxes that can stop movement in case of complete power loss. The actuators’ compact size allows for easy transportation of the globe in the closed state. The smooth action of the RSA-HT high force linear actuators delivers the “wow” factor the flower globe needed to create a truly spectacular effect.

Download our RSA series catalog here.

Physical Therapy ChairVibeTech rehab chair


The VibeTech One® Rehabilitation Chair from VibeTech, Inc. of Sheboygan, WI, uses controlled pressure and vibration to strengthen muscles in the lower extremities of patients with severely impaired mobility. The VibeTech One relies on:

  • A device that transmits vibrations through the patient’s lower limbs into the hips and lower back.
  • A footplate that introduces static loading on the patient’s lower limbs.
  • An electric linear actuator beneath the footplate that controls the amount of static loading from zero to 100 pounds.

Because the electric linear actuator is directly in line with the vibratory device, the actuator had to transmit vibrations to the footplate and patient. Excessive play or backlash would absorb the vibrations, making the VibeTech One ineffective. VibeTech also needed a linear actuator that would deliver the prescribed static load precisely, fit the footprint of the machine, keep overall machine costs down and not create noise that might disturb a patient.


The ERD15 electric cylinder meets all these specifications without the expense of a custom configuration. The ERD electric cylinder provides the precise control needed to manage static loading introduced by the footplate. It transmits vibrations, operates quietly, and is affordable.

Click here for ERD series brochure.

player pianoPlayer Piano


What if you had to design a piano that played itself? Not an old-time player piano with a paper roll and pneumatic action, but something electric and programmable.  Of course, you’d need a mechanism to strike the keys, and you’d need a way to position the striking mechanism to hit the right keys at the right time to play the right tune.  Then you’d need a way to control everything.


Tolomatic engineers had some fun and designed a system to do just that.  They used two ERD low-cost electric cylinders to strike the keys and two MXB belt driven rodless actuators as the positioning system. Four ACS controllers/drivers and one PLC control the action.

Watch our video of this musical application.


Learn more about the VibeTech application by downloading our case study.