Abstract Nb films have been grown on arrays of asymmetric pinning centers. The lattice vortex dynamics could be modified, almost at will, by periodic pinning potentials. In the case of asymmetric pinning potentials a vortex ratchet effect occurs: the vortex lattice motion is rectified. That is, an injected ac current yields an output dc voltage, which polarity could be tuned. The output signal polarity could be switched with the applied magnetic field and the ac current strength. Ratchet effect occurs when asymmetric potentials induce outward particles flow under external fluctuations in the lack of driven direct outward forces. The output signal is similar using magnetic or non-magnetic submicrometric array of pinning centers. This device works as an adiabatic rocking ratchet. This superconducting ratchet could be a model to study biological motors.