It is surprisingly easy to scale up small microcontrollers to manage serious production systems. In this case an Arduino microcontroller capable of handling milliamps is sending signals via a 12 volt H-Bridge to control a 3 amp linear actuator capable of exerting 150Kg of force. The H-Bridge is a standard configuration of power transistors which allows high power systems to be managed by very low power systems. Linear actuators are like big pistons, able to push or pull objects with enormous force, except instead of a pneumatic or steam piston, this push / pull actuator is completely electronic.
The most surprising part of this assembly is the low cost – all the hardware you see in the picture above or the video below costs less than $50.
In this case the actuator will form part of a robotic system push lifting a heavy load. A second H-Bridge and actuator will complete the system, along with sensors to prevent the linear actuator exceeding its design tolerances, all managed by the microcontroller at the heart of the system.
Before you spend 10s of thousands of dollars on a bespoke electro-mechanical system which comes in a fancy box and does not really do what you want, consider contacting Desirable Apps, to see if there is a better way of fulfilling your electro-mechanical, Internet of Things, mobile app, software or hardware requirements.