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How Does Actuators Works?

In actuator valve engineering and design, it is essential for engineers, designers, and manufacturers to fully understand the aspects and processes of using this particular product that would eventually help build effective engineering designs in a safe and efficient manner.

One of the most significant products of the company would be the actuators. To make this technical term simpler, an actuator is a device that transforms or converts energy into motion. Also applied as a force, an actuator usually is a mechanical apparatus that takes energy, normally constructed by liquid, air, or electricity, and converts that into a specific kind of motion. This motion can relate to anything from clamping, blocking, to ejecting. These actuators are normally used in industrial applications or in manufacturing, and may also be used in different objects such as motors, switches, valves, and pumps.

From all the actuators available in the market, the most common type would be the ones that are powered by the air, also known as the air cylinder or the pneumatic cylinder. These air cylinders are air tight, usually made out of metal, which uses the energy of compressed air in order to move a piston. In addition, air cylinders are usually used in assembly processes and in manufacturing. On the other hand, grippers, normally used in robotics, use actuators powered by compressed air in order to work similar to the human touch.

Electricity or hydraulics can be a source of power for actuators. Much like there are air cylinders, there are also electric cylinders and hydraulic cylinders where the cylinder converts electricity or hydraulics into motion, and hydraulic cylinders are often used in several types of automobiles. Most of the actuators available have more than one type of power source. For example, solenoid valves can have the ability to be powered by both electricity and air. Electricity powers the solenoid, and the solenoid, powered by air, actuates the valve. Another option for this would be that the solenoid can be powered by both electricity and the hydraulics.

Whether in a linear motion, a rotary motion, or in an oscillatory motion, actuators can still be used, that is if they can create the motion with only one direction, in a circular motion, or in an opposite direction at normal intervals. Hydraulic and air cylinders can also be classified as single acting, which means that the energy source that justifies the movement in one direction, and that a certain spring is used for the other direction. Having these interchanged, these cylinders can act as double as an acting cylinder, which means that the energy is used in two different directions. Even if actuators are usually explained in terms of mechanical implements, muscles are often given as an example of an actuator. Energy, which is created by eating carbohydrates, is converted by the muscle, which in this case would be the actuator, and transform it into motion, such as playing basketball.

The above article was authored by Christel Lumabas who is part of MEA Inc. team. MEA Inc is a world leading organization that is composed of designers, engineers and manufacturers of valves and actuator including butterfly valve, valve actuators, diverter valve, linear actuator, hydraulic check valve and electric actuator for mechanical and electrical automation systems worldwide. For more information check out http://www.meaincorporated.com.

For better comprehension, I include some photos to better illustrate the actuators:

Actuator Diagram - photo adopted from Spirax Sarco

Actuator (topside) connected to one piece ball valve - Image adopted from Randex.

Similar to the latter image, this actuator (topside) is also connected to a one piece ball valve - Image adopted from Ferret.


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posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 8:38 PM,


At Friday, September 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always see you in faculty.good day sir

At Friday, September 19, 2008, Blogger Kipas Repair JB said...

Oh yea...Hi,

What's your name? what year are you in?

Maybe you can drop by my office and have a chat... :)

At Thursday, November 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this post. Very helpful.. :)

At Tuesday, November 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your article is amazing. It helped me a lot with my research about different kinds of valves and actuators and how this stuff works with other mechanical devices...

again,thanks a lot.


At Wednesday, September 23, 2009, Anonymous control valves said...

Thanks for the information, I like your take on blogging.


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The Author


I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!

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