How Important Are Acme Thread Actuators in Aircraft Systems?

All aircraft are dependent on quality design and fabrication for even their smallest hardware to run effectively. One important advancement in hardware design which is still used in most aircraft today is the acme thread form used in screws. Despite being developed more than 100 years ago, the acme thread form has proven to be such a reliable and effective design. As such, it has become a staple form of threading design used in hardware to support actuators in many of today’s modern aircraft.

What Are Acme Thread Actuators?

The acme thread form is the original trapezoidal screw thread that was developed in the late 1800s. It has a 29° thread angle with a thread height that is half of the pitch or the distance between a point on one thread and the same point on the one directly following it. Additionally, the apex and valley of the threading are flat. The most important design feature is that, because the shape of acme bread has a wider base, it is stronger than a similarly sized square thread. As such, linear actuators using this thread are capable of supporting the larger loads which are commonly required on aircraft.

Aircraft Actuator Applications

The acme thread form is used in many of the electro-mechanical actuators that facilitate linear motion control in critical non-flight applications. The highly reliable and effective design of acme threading allows for these actuators to move large loads common in an aircraft system. Combined with powerful aerospace motors, actuators are able to drive a variety of linear motion control systems such as:

  • Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Inlet Door Actuators
  • Ram Air Door Actuators
  • Utility Door Actuators
  • Landing Gear Uplock Actuators
  • Air Bypass Door Actuators
  • Seat Adjustment Actuators
  • Canopy Actuators
  • Silencer Actuators
  • Airflow Control Actuators
  • Nozzle Actuators
  • Cargo Door Actuators
  • Crew Escape & Emergency Door Actuators

Actuators in Aircraft Docking and Maintenance Systems

To keep passengers safe and aircraft working in top condition, regular maintenance is required for every aircraft in a fleet. While periodic maintenance can be done by sending parts to outside facilities or bringing temporary machinery in, most airlines also require on-site docking and maintenance areas. These areas allow for heavy-duty maintenance which calls for more space and resources, including a range of linear motion control systems. Actuators using acme screws can easily lift and lower maintenance technicians, aircraft components, and supplies through the use of adjustable stands, sliding decks, and push boards. With the types of loads managed in aircraft maintenance docking systems, many of these actuators rely on acme threading for the strength and carrying capacity they provide and support.


Aircraft rely on durable equipment, many of which are the wide variety of actuators used to achieve motion from the nose to the fuselage, tail, landing gear, stabilizers, and wing tips. ASAP 3Sixty, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, is a leading supplier of aircraft actuators and a vast variety of other parts in the aviation industry. To get a custom quote for your comparisons on any of our offered items, simply fill out the available Instant Request for Quote (RFQ) form on our website, and receive a custom quote fit to your specific needs within 15 minutes!


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