High Speed Linear Actuator (Progressive Automations) Review

Science Bros, ROBOTIC ARM

Hello everyone, it’s time for a tech review. Indeed in our comedy show on YouTube Called Science Bros. : Savior of Humanity, we build a weird robot and we are using the High Speed Linear Actuator (PA-15) from Progressive Automations. These kinds of actuators will be really useful for other robotics projects of us, so we needed to find a good and durable one to reuse it a lot. Is it the case? Let’s find out in this article!

Finding an actuator

So you all know that we are Canadians and being in Canada have many positive side, like maple sirup and poutine, but for finding pieces of equipment, it can me a pain in the ass. Also, because of our shitty Canadian dollar, everything costs us more and don’t forget the taxes! And being a student doesn’t help the case unfortunately. But anyway let’s stay positive here. So I search many websites to try to find the fastest linear actuator that exists, because we needed that for the first YouTube Project.

When I search online, there was no such thing, all the actuators were, too small for what I wanted or seemed really, really cheap coming from China. I tried at first to contact Chinese manufacturers to see if I could have good price, but I realize it would be too long of shipping and just so much trouble for a shittier piece of equipment.

Find Someting in America

So I search for many builders and every time Progressive Automations was popping out on Google. So I’ve decided to give it a try. I was really impressed by their product. Of course, it was costing more than the cheap actuators of China, but I really felt like it was better quality. Also, I saw that they had cool programs for students that they are building projects with their projects.

Depending of the projects or what do you do to promote it or just make media out of it, they can repay whom a certain amount of money. So I found it really nice, because has an engineering student myself with no money to put on equipment like this I think it’s really nice. They have also scholarship for students.

Time to buy

So seeing all this and being an impulsive guy, I said OK let’s buy it. The one I bought is the PA-15. I took the fastest one. Of course, with more speed the less force you have. What is nice with their website is that you can choose the stroke, then the force and they are showing what speed you can have after. So I took the 6-inch stroke, with 11 lbs of force and about 9,05” per second of speed. Which is pretty fast for an electrical actuator. Because normally when you want some speed, who choose more pneumatic actuators.

Opening the Box

Couple of days later I received it. The package was well wrap and the box was intact. I don’t know for you but I always check that when I drop my money for some piece of equipment like that. So I opened the box and damn it looked good and solid. Weight is good and this is heavy-duty quality. I work in automation and this could fit in industrial projects easily.

Pretty but does it work well?

I really like when a piece of equipment looks good, robust and clean. But it has to work well too!

Testing Time

So there is not 9000 ways to test actuator. The job is simple… It has to stroke up and down. The real thing to test here is the durability and if the speed and force reach the specs.


So for the durability test I just plug two buttons wired with an Arduino Uno and I just press up and down like a lot. When I say a lot, I spend like an hour doing that just to see if something could go wrong. The result is that I didn’t have a problem at all. Of course, in an industrial application we don’t know how much strokes it could take before it goes broken. But I guess it’s a lot. The spec for the duty cycle is 20% (4 minutes on, 16 minutes off). Make sure to check all the specs that will fit your project before buying.

Just take in consideration that I put a really small load for this test because for my project I really needed only the speed. But if you need for more force or anything, I would advise you to ask their customer service, I asked them a couple of questions myself and there are really fast to respond and they answer questions really quick.

Speed and Force tests

Well, being a student with not really the good equipment to test speed or force. I just recorded the stroke and calculated the time before it reached the extremity. All the tests I’ve done the actuator was really stable and was near the specs that they show on their website. Again, this test was with a really small load. So, of course, if you put a different load it will affect the speed. The Force I needed has been reached with my test so I didn’t need more tests than that.

Also, even if it’s saying High-speed actuator, don’t think it’s the speed of light. Like it’s really fast for an actuator driven by an electric motor but like I said, pneumatic can be really faster than that. So make sure that it’s gonna fit the speed you want.

Why that kind of actuators?

I took that kind of actuators, because I wanted it to be electrical, and my lab being my small student apartment I didn’t want to buy like a compressor and hoses and everything just for a small project. Also, I wanted to use again the actuator for other robotics like I said. For something faster and industrial and I would recommend the pneumatic ones. For something really stronger, I would recommend big hydraulics ones. But electric motor is really used a lot in robots now and for some application that you can’t have the air of the fluid, these kinds of actuators will do the job I think.

Verdict For now

People who know me, know how I can criticize stuff that I think are not worth it. But this time, I have to say that’s a really good piece of equipment. It looks strong and the specs reach my expectations. Of course, it’s the first product I buy from them so I don’t know for the rest. I would really like to test more equipment from Progressive Automations. Let me know if you would want to see that! I will maybe do some videos reviews too on YouTube. Let me know if you buy equipment from them and you have been satisfied.

So let’s see you in another project of the Science Bros! Don’t forget to check the merch. I’m sure you would be sexy with a Science Bros. Shirt! Haha!

Have a nice day guys! See you later, I’m gonna go eat a poutine.

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