Types of Actuators

Buying Guide: Different Types of Actuators

Have you heard about actuators? If you are not into mechanical works, you have no way of encountering actuators. But this doesn’t mean you will ignore it. It may look insignificant to you but this thing can make a difference at the end of the day. You do not need to be an engineer to understand the basic concept of actuators.

An actuator is part of a machine that is designed to move and control the mechanism or the system. The control mechanism can be as simple as a fixed mechanical system or as complicated as software-based system. To put it simply, actuators are mechanical devices that induce movement. Sometimes it is also called “mover”.  It uses energy sources like hydraulic fluid pressure, electric current or pneumatic pressure.

fixed mechanical system

In this section, you will be introduced to the different types of actuators – in case you need to buy one in the future. You will also learn the applications and uses of actuators. Here are the types of actuators:

Electric Linear

An electric linear actuator consists of a drive mechanism and linear guides using mechanical transmission or electromagnetism. The energy created will provide straight line (push or pull) motion.  You can see this type of actuator in machines that need controlled movement.

Fluid Power Linear

As for the fluid power linear, it comprises of piston mechanism and cylinder to yield linear displacement. This actuator uses hydraulic fluid, gas and other air pressure. Fluid power linear actuator is employed when a specific item needs a meticulous movement to a precise position. Like in the case of welding and clamping.

Manual Linear

Manual liner involves gears, wheels, and hand-operated knobs. Manual linear can be seen in commercial applications since it is known for its accuracy. There are different types of manual linear to include pinions, racks, and screws.

Electric Rotary

Electric rotary, as the name suggests, is powered electrically. This type of actuator is composed of motors and output shaft that can transform electrical energy to a rotating motion.  Electric rotary is essentially used when a valve necessitates controlled rotational movement.

Fluid Power Rotary

This rotary actuator is powered by fluid. It consists of piston mechanism, cylinder, output shaft and gearing. These things will result in a limited rotation travel. It will then change hydraulic fluid or gas into rotating motion.

Manual Rotary

Manual rotary gives rotational through the conversion of manual screws, gears, and levers. This actuator is usually consisting of gearboxes, output shafts, and hand wheels. You will see manual rotary in operating valves. Because of this, they are also called manual valve actuators.  There are different valve types like butterfly, ball, globe, and check.

Linear Chain Actuators

As the name suggests, a linear chain actuator utilizes sprockets and chains. This actuator will provide a straight line (push or pull) motion. Chains are available in different sizes and styles.

Actuators are mostly used by different industries to operate valves. These valves are utilized by packaging machines, production, and medical equipment. Buying entails choosing based on different parameters like timing, loading and stroke length. One of the most famous manufacturers, Belimo actuators & valves, can help.