In order to increase precision and productivity in production systems, active components are increasingly being used which operate on the basis of conventional principles such as electrodynamics, hydraulics or pneumatics. An increasing performance range leads to larger demands in terms of function and energy density, which conventional actuators can only fulfil to a limited extent. Thermal shape memory alloys are the basis of an actuator technology that can overcome these challenges, but have recently been researched and used mainly as wire actuators. The associated drawbacks regarding realizable forces and large installation space may be the reasons why shape memory alloys have not yet been established in the field of production technology. This paper presents an alternative form of using shape memory alloys, which makes it possible to realize significantly higher energy densities. Starting from specific use cases, the basic design is discussed and a developed design methodology for such actuators is presented. This methodology is validated by measurements. Finally, an exemplary actuator concept is presented.