New Motorized Lead Screw Actuators are Offered in NEMA-Standard Bolt-Hole Patterns

Press Release Summary:

The Motorized Lead Screw Actuators are designed for force-sensitive applications that require stroke length shorter than 2.5 in., loads less than 200 lb and speeds below 20 in/s. The units are offered for NEMA 8, 11, 14, 17 and 23 motor frame sizes in single or double stacks. The actuators offer resolutions ranging from 0.063 to 7.5 µin of linear travel per step. They are used in adjustment of microscope slide stage, tilting a computer monitor or vertically positioning a pipette onto test tube array.

Original Press Release:

Thomson Introduces Hybrid Stepper Motor/Lead Screw Actuator with Antirotational Guidance Built In

08.07.2018, RADFORD, VA –Thomson Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of mechanical motion control solutions, has expanded its line of stepper motor linear actuators with models featuring built-in anti-rotational guidance. The new motorized lead screw actuator (MLA) product saves designers of high-precision, shorter-stroke applications the cost, time and maintenance worries related to designing and building externally guided systems themselves. 

“Combining lead screws and stepper motors is a simple and cost-effective method of achieving precise linear motion,” said Thomson Product Design Engineer Julian Anton. “However, accomplishing that with basic stepper motor and lead screw assemblies can require designing costly external anti-rotational guidance systems. With our new MLA product line, customers who want precise motion can just specify load, stroke length and end mounting, and they are good to go.”

Built-in anti-rotation

The load of a typical stepper motor linear actuator attaches to a nut that rides back and forth as the screw turns. Translating the rotational motion of the motorized lead screw into the axial motion needed to move the load back and forth requires restraining the nut. Traditionally, application designers accomplish this with external guidance assemblies, but these can take up valuable space and add cost and complexity. 

The Thomson MLA design eliminates the need for external guidance by surrounding the shaft with an aluminum cover tube with molded internal splines that lock onto the nut to keep it from turning. This design also features an integrated bushing that enables it to withstand small radial and moment loads. 


The new Thomson MLA is best suited for space-constrained, force-sensitive applications requiring shorter strokes that must be repeated with high precision. Examples include adjusting a microscope slide stage, tilting a computer monitor or vertically positioning a pipette onto a test tube array. Ideal applications have stroke lengths shorter than 2.5 inches; have loads lighter than 200 lbf on various motor sizes; and require speeds below 20 in/s.

Availability and configurations

Thomson MLA stepper motor linear actuators are available immediately for NEMA 8, 11, 14, 17 and 23 motor frame sizes; in single or double stacks; with many motor winding options. Linear resolution options range from 0.063 to 7.5 µin of linear travel per step.

The actuators ship with NEMA-standard bolt-hole patterns, but custom pattern profiles are also available, as are custom end mounting, wiring, cabling and connectors. Because the lead screw extends from one face of the motor only, devices such as rotary encoders can also be attached easily.

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About Thomson

With more than 70 years of motion control innovation and quality, Thomson is the industry’s premier producer of Linear Ball Bushing® Bearings and Profile Rail Bearings, 60 Case® Shafting, ground and rolled Ball Screws, Linear Actuators, Gearheads, Clutches, Brakes, Linear Systems, and related accessories. Thomson invented the Linear Ball Bushing Bearing in 1945, and has set the standard ever since with an unsurpassed set of mechanical motion control solutions serving global commercial and aerospace & defense markets. Thomson Industries, Inc. has facilities in North America, Europe and Asia with over 2000 distributor locations around the world.

Thomson Industries, Inc., 1500 Mittel Boulevard, Wood Dale, IL 60191-1073; 1-540-633-3549; 1-540-633-0294 (fax);;

Editorial Contact: Shreyasi Bhaumik - +44 (0) 203 409 5090

Company Contact: Rob Gallagher – +1 630 694 3321

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