Spring Return Actuators for any application

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Spring Return Electric Actuators
Fail-Safe Spring Return Electric Actuators
Fail-safe spring return electric actuators – more simply known as spring return electric actuators – are used on linear and rotary valves in a range of applications across nearly all industrial process systems. These types of actuators are used in situations that require valves to automatically and immediately enter a safe position upon loss of power.  Upon restoration of power, the actuator immediately returns the valve to its normal operating position, and is ready to resume normal operation.

When energized, the valve actuators move the valve to its operating position while opposing the motion of a spring mechanism. This action compresses the spring, causing a buildup of potential energy. When the system is de-energized – such as in a power failure event – the potential energy from the spring is released, and the valve is snapped into its fail position. The actuators fail position can be either the fully open position or the fully closed position only.

  • Fail-open: The valve’s operating position is closed. Upon loss of power the actuator springs the valve to the fully open position.
  • Fail-closed: The valve’s operating position is anywhere in the open range. Upon loss of power the actuator springs the valve to the fully closed position.


ICI’s Spring Return Electric Actuators
Spring return electric actuators from Indelac Controls Inc. (ICI) are specially designed for fail-safe applications using quarter-turn valves and dampers. Our spring return electric actuators are equipped with a hardened steel spur and helical gear drive train to guarantee reliable protection against catastrophic process failure during loss of the electricity to the system. Internal components are permanently lubricated at our manufacturing facilities, ensuring high efficiencies between moving parts, minimal routine maintenance, and quiet operation throughout the life of the actuator.

All standard equipment is enclosed in a heavy-duty aluminum enclosure with a thermally bonded ultraviolet resistant polyester powder coating to comply with NEMA 4 requirements for protection against ingress of water, dust, and dirt. Optional enclosures are available to meet or exceed the NEMA 4X and NEMA 7 specifications for safe and efficient operation in corrosive, ignitable, or explosive environments. Epoxy coatings are available to protect against caustic wash-downs, additional coating options are available upon request.

To ensure compatibility with a wide range of applications, ICI’s spring return actuators are available in six different models with various specifications and end torque capabilities (up to a maximum of 1,200 inch pounds).

Unlike pneumatic spring return actuators, spring return electric actuators must be powered to the open position and powered to the closed position during normal operation to maximize the life of the product. The spring return fail safe functionality is for use during power failure only.

Our actuator units have been designed to provide accurate control and reliable fail-safe automation capabilities while also striking a balance between cost-effectiveness and durability.

Food & Beverage
Food and beverage applications demand actuators that are durable and reliable. They must be able to operate for long hours and be capable of withstanding frequent high-pressure hygienic wash downs that expose equipment to a variety of materials, including detergents, steam, caustic soda, citric acid, and other chemical solutions. These chemicals can be highly aggressive towards metal components, so the selected actuator must be appropriately designed with adequate levels of corrosion resistance.

ICI Actuators for Food and Beverage
Indelac Controls, Inc. (ICI) provides a full product line of electric actuators that have been specifically designed with features that make them ideal for operation in the food and beverage industry. Our NEMA 4-compliant housing enclosures protect electrical and mechanical components from incidental exposure to splashing water, food particles, and other mild liquids.

For enhanced corrosion resistance, our NEMA 4X-certified enclosures protect the actuator and its components from the corrosive agents present in chemical washdowns. This provides a viable alternative to shielding covers, which can complicate designs, occupy valuable space, and interfere with maintenance.

ICI’s fasteners and shafts are manufactured with series 300 stainless steel for extra corrosion resistance. For further protection against corrosive chemicals, enclosures may be optionally coated with epoxy coatings, electroless nickel plating, chromium conversion coatings, or anodized coatings for surface passivation and barrier protection. We also offer a comprehensive range of models to meet the torque requirements of any application.

Facilities that produce fine or powder-like particles – such as flour mills – require even more specialized equipment. High concentrations of fine particles in the atmosphere may create ignitable, flammable, or explosive environments. For these applications, ICI offers actuators enclosed in explosion-proof NEMA 7 and NEMA 9 housing units. These enclosures are available for 12VDC and 24VDC power supplies and are rated for operation in Class I and II environments.

Spring Return Electric Actuators

Quarter-Turn Electric Actuators

Internal Battery Back-Up Actuators

ICI’s electric actuators can be used for various food and beverage applications and processes including:

  • Distillery automation
  • Brewery automation
  • Food and beverage manufacturing
  • Tank farm automation
  • Tank leveling
  • Portioning
  • Coolant processing
  • Pressure relief
  • Processing machinery and equipment
  • Controlling temperatures for cooking oil
  • Flow control
  • Utility services (steam and water)
  • Mixing valve automation


The Evolution of Actuator Design
Based on the power source used, actuators can be divided into two main categories:

  • Electric actuators: using either one-phase or three-phase power (depending on the size of the application and the availability in site) to energized a set of gears, operating any type of valve.
  • Pneumatic or hydraulic actuators: using either a rack & pinion or a scotch yoke device for moving a rotary valve.

They are other types of valve and damper actuators that use a combination of existing motors and gears, but most applications are included into those two categories.

These actuators have a relatively simple mechanism. Small to medium size devices are built with a rack and pinion mechanism and larger devices use a scotch yoke. There are so many rack and pinion actuators manufacturers in the world that these actuators are actually considered more like a commodity product rather than an engineered product. There are considerably less manufacturers of actuators using scotch yoke mechanism but the core mechanical design is close to identical, though some variations do exist. 
On smaller pneumatic actuators, some standardization of the controls and position feedback exists with international standards like NAMUR. But generally, most pneumatic actuators have added control components like solenoids, position transmitters… manufactured by third party manufacturers.

The development of electric actuators followed a different path. At first, the electric actuator was just a motor with a set of gears and some mechanical torque limit switches inside an enclosure. The controls were separate. Position feedback switches (auxiliary switches) and motor controls were later incorporated into the electric actuator enclosure. This marked an important milestone in the electric actuator industry, turning the actuator into an integrated control package. Later on, bigger, explosion-proof enclosures rated NEMA 7 and 9 were used, allowing electric valve actuator to be installed in various hazardous locations such as oil fields, chemical plants or gas pipelines. See blog about NEMA RATINGS The development of high quality, long lasting sealing solutions like O-rings and gaskets in combination with the use of temperature and condensation control equipment such as heater, thermostat, breather and/or desiccant pack allowed electric actuator manufacturers to safely add more electronic inside the actuator enclosure. This improvement allowed the use of greater monitoring and control options to improve overall controllability and safety of processes and automated systems. The next step was the development of non-intrusive configurations using newer and better electronic controls with communication protocols such as HART or MODBUS, improving the overall commissioning capabilities of control packages. Nowadays, wireless actuators are simple to use, easy to implement, easy to commission. They provide communication as well as diagnostics, while eliminating expensive wiring and install costs. Wireless technology is all around us, permeating every aspect of modern communication. See blog about WIRELESS ACTUATOR for more info. Technological trend of the latest years are the smart objects. We use them every day and everywhere. Smart actuators are next! And as technology continues to evolve always faster and faster, actuator manufacturers will keep innovating as well.

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Indelac Controls, Inc. (ICI)
Indelac Controls, Inc. (ICI) manufacturers a full line of quarter turn rotary electric actuators used for valve and damper automation. Founded in 1986, Indelac was incorporated as an “S” corporation on November 30, 1987. ICI takes pride in being a family owned and operated electric actuator manufacturer for over 32 years. All of ICI’s production is based in Northern Kentucky, though you can find our products in all 50 U.S. states and on 6 continents around the world. At Indelac, we are one big motivated family, and our family is dedicated to advancing the technology we use, along with our employees'expertise in a constant effort to better serve our customers'automation requirements. Our upgraded facility continues to utilize state-of-the-art machinery throughout the manufacturing process assuring the highest possible quality using American made products. Indelac's main goal as an electric actuator manufacturer is to design, develop, and manufacture a high quality electric actuator at a competitive price, while maintaining on-time delivery. ICI’s product line consists of electric actuators with torques ranging from 100 lb-in output torque through 27,300 lb-in output torque, as well as offering an array of controls for ordinary on/off controls, to sophisticated process control applications.