As defined in this book, actuator design is a subset of mechanical design. It involves engineering the mechanical components necessary to make a product move as desired.
Fundamentals of Engineering High-Performance Actuator Systems, by Ken Hummel, was written as a text to supplement actuator design courses, and a reference to engineers involved in the design of high-performance actuator systems. It highlights the design approach and features what should be considered when moving a payload at precision levels and/or speeds that are not as important in low-performance applications.
The main areas covered in this book are:
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