When people see a valve with moving parts, their first reaction is that something must be wrong with it. After all, valves are supposed to be simple devices that let you control the flow of liquids or gases with the turn of a handle or flick of a switch, right? A closer look at these devices, however, reveals there’s more to them than meets the eye. In fact, many valves have multiple moving parts and additional features that are not obvious from a distance or at first glance. Understanding exactly what those moving parts do and how they work is key to choosing the right valve for any given application. This article covers everything you need to know about valve actuators so you can choose the right one for your needs.
How Valve Actuator Works
Valve actuator is a device that either pressurize or depressurize a valve to open or close it. You can apply pressure to an open or closed valve manually or with an actuator. There are three types of actuators:
- Electric actuators use electricity to power a hydraulic system that opens or closes a valve. They’re best for applications where power is available, and they’re highly customizable.
- Pneumatic actuators pressurize or depressurize a valve using air. They’re usually used in conjunction with a push-pull cable to activate the valve, and they’re common in process plants and factories.
- Hydraulic actuators utilize a liquid pressure source to open or close a valve. They’re often used in conjunction with a pilot valve to open and close the main valve. They’re best for applications where electricity cannot be used, such as outdoor locations and remote areas.
Importance of A Valve Actuator
A valve actuator allows you to control the flow of fluids and gases in many different ways. When you open or close a valve manually, you’re actually performing a very small adjustment to the system. This can be fine for certain applications, but for many situations, it’s not precise enough. You could, for example, be trying to precisely control the temperature of a piece of equipment or maintain a certain volume of gas being produced. In these cases, manually controlling the valve may not be accurate enough. A valve actuator allows you to control the valve in a more precise and reliable way. This is often critical in industrial settings where timing, volume, and temperature have to be controlled exactly.
Now that you know exactly what valve actuators are and how they work, you’ll be able to choose the perfect one for your needs.