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Electric vs Pneumatic Actuators & Their Importance

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The Actual Difference in Actuators

A valve actuator is defined as a mechanism that opens and closes a valve. By definition it seems simple but in reality there is nothing simple about them. There are two basic valve operating designs, linear and rotary. Therefore, basic actuator designs are linear, rotary and sometimes rotary linear. Typically, rotary operated design valves provide the best overall value in valve automation.

Valves that need to be opened, closed or throttled frequently are popular candidates for pairing with an actuator. Actuators are attached or built into a valve body to automatically adjust the flow of fluids, gases, steam, solids or slurries through a valve. If you’re in the market for an actuated valve, there are many things to consider before selecting the ideal one. First, there are several types of actuators, pneumatic, electric, water hydraulic, oil hydraulic and self-contained electro-hydraulic (oil). The two most often used types of actuators are pneumatic (air) and electric. These technologies are very different and understanding the benefits and limitations of each one is critical. In general, it’s important to consider the application, location and intended functionality. Throughout this article we explore the benefits of the two most popular actuator types: pneumatic and electric.

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