How Does an Electric Actuator Valve  Work?

In this blog post, you’ll read:An electric valve is a type of valve that uses an electric actuator to control its operation. The actuator moves or controls the valve's mechanism by transforming electrical energy into mechanical motion. The primary benefit of electric valves is that they can be operated remotely, providing excellent control over fluid handling systems. They are used extensively in industrial sectors like manufacturing, oil and gas, power generation, and water treatment.
Table of Contents

What is an Electric Valve?

An electric valve is a type of valve that uses an electric actuator to control its operation. The actuator moves or controls the valve’s mechanism by transforming electrical energy into mechanical motion. The primary benefit of electric valves is that they can be operated remotely, providing excellent control over fluid handling systems. They are used extensively in industrial sectors like manufacturing, oil and gas, power generation, and water treatment.

Electric valves can be further classified into different types based on their function, such as solenoid valves, motorized valves, or electrically actuated ball valves, to name a few.

motorized electric ball valve
motorized electric ball valve

What is an Electric Actuator?

An electric actuator is a device that translates electrical energy into mechanical torque. In the context of valves, an actuator is used to automate the valve. The electric actuator receives a signal from a control system (like a PLC), and in response, it moves or controls the valve.

Electric actuators come in various types and sizes, depending on the application. They can be used in a wide range of settings, from simple on/off home applications to complex and precise control in industrial processes.

Types of Electric Actuators

Electric actuators can be categorized into different types based on their operation:

Linear Actuators: These actuators convert electrical energy into straight-line motion. They are typically used with gate, globe, or pinch valves where linear stem motion is required.

Rotary Actuators: These actuators generate rotational motion from electrical energy. They are commonly used with ball, butterfly, and plug valves where a quarter-turn motion is needed.

Multi-Turn Actuators: These actuators are used where multiple rotations of the valve stem are required. They are suitable for gate valves, globe valves, and pinch valves.

Each of these types of electric actuators comes with its set of advantages and is chosen based on the application’s specific needs. They enable increased industry automation, contributing to higher efficiency and safety levels.

24v eletrically actuator
24v electrical actuator

Actuator Working Conditions: Power Sources

Electric actuators work under various conditions, depending on their specifications and the application. The power supply or source is a critical aspect of these conditions. Here are some typical power sources:

DC Power (Direct Current): Direct current is often used for smaller actuators or portable devices. DC voltages for these actuators typically range from 12V to 24V.

AC Power (Alternating Current): This is commonly used for larger actuators in fixed installations. These installations may have more substantial power requirements, and AC power can meet these needs. The standard voltages are 120V or 220V, but it can go up to 480V for large-scale industrial applications.

Battery Power: Some electric actuators are battery-operated, often for portable or remote devices where a direct power source might not be available.

When choosing an electric actuator, it’s essential to consider the available power source. Other factors, like the actuator’s speed, force, and stroke length, also depend on the power source and need to be evaluated based on the specific application requirements.

Apart from the power source, environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and corrosive substances can also influence the choice of the actuator. Therefore, selecting an actuator that matches your application’s unique conditions and requirements is essential.

actuator ball valve
actuator ball valve

Understanding Modulating Actuators and Control Signals

A modulating actuator is a specific type of electric actuator designed to precisely control the position of a valve, allowing it to be set to any position between fully open and fully closed. Instead of switching between two extreme positions (on/off), modulating actuators can adjust the valve to intermediate positions, offering superior control over flow rates, pressure, and other process variables.

Modulating actuators receive a control signal from a process controller or a control system. This signal instructs the actuator to move the valve to a specific position. The control signal can be analog or digital.

Analog Signals: Traditional analog signals for modulating actuators include 4-20mA current loops or 0-10V voltage signals. A change in the signal corresponds proportionally to a change in the valve position.

Digital Signals: With the rise of digital control systems, digital protocols like HART, Fieldbus, or Modbus are becoming increasingly common. They provide two-way communication between the actuator and the control system, enabling feedback about the valve position and actuator status.

Understanding modulating actuators and control signals is key to achieving precise process control in many industries, including water treatment, power generation, and oil and gas production. Selecting the correct actuator and control signal for your specific application is essential to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

Male plumber installing heating radiator in apartment.
Plumber installed a modulating valve.

Exploring Electric Actuator Valves and Their Types

An electric actuator valve is a device that utilizes an electric motor to control a valve. The electric actuator automates the valve, removing the need for manual operation, which can be a significant advantage in large-scale or hard-to-reach applications.

Different types of valves require different kinds of actuators with unique design features tailored to the function of the valve. Let’s look at a few common types of electric actuator valves:

Ball Valves: Ball valves use a rotating ball with a hole through the middle to control flow. Depending on the design, they are a popular choice for on/off applications and can be paired with multi-turn electric actuators or quarter-turn electric actuators.

Butterfly Valves: Butterfly valves use a disc mounted on a rotating shaft to control flow. They are typically used for regulating flow and are often paired with quarter-turn electric actuators.

Gate Valves: Gate valves use a ‘gate’ that moves up and down to control flow. They are typically used in on/off applications and are generally paired with multi-turn electric actuators.

Globe Valves: Globe valves use a plug that moves up and down against a seat to control flow. They are excellent for regulating flow and are typically paired with multi-turn electric actuators.

Diaphragm Valves: Diaphragm valves use a ‘diaphragm’ or ‘membrane’ that flexes to control flow. Depending on the design, they are often used in hygienic or corrosive applications and can be paired with either multi-turn or quarter-turn electric actuators.

Remember, selecting the right electric actuator valve depends on the specific requirements of your application, including flow control needs, operating environment, and safety considerations.

electric brass valves
electric brass valves

Diverse Applications of Electric Actuator Valves

Electric actuator valves are instrumental in various applications due to their automation capabilities and operational efficiency. Here’s how different electric actuator valves are employed:

Ball Valves: With their fast and firm on/off operation, electrically actuated ball valves are typically used in fluid, air, and gas applications, especially where tight shut-off is required. They are commonly found in water treatment plants, chemical processing industries, and oil and gas sectors.

Butterfly Valves: Because of their compact design and modulating capabilities, electrically actuated butterfly valves are widely used in HVAC systems, food and beverage industries, and water distribution networks to control the flow of liquids, gases, and slurries.

Gate Valves: Electrically actuated gate valves are used where a straight-line fluid flow with minimum restriction is needed. They are commonly used in the oil and gas, wastewater management systems, and other large-scale industrial applications.

Globe Valves: With their superior throttling capabilities, electrically actuated globe valves are mainly used in applications requiring precise flow regulation, such as power plants, steam distribution systems, and chemical processing units.

Diaphragm Valves: Due to their excellent shut-off capabilities and ability to handle abrasive and corrosive fluids, electrically actuated diaphragm valves are often used in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and food & beverage industries.

Implementing electric actuator valves in these sectors significantly improves operational efficiency and safety by automating valve operations and eliminating the need for manual control.

Working Conditions:

Electric actuator valves can operate under diverse environmental and operational conditions:

Power Source: They typically operate on standard AC or DC power supply. Common voltages include 24V, 120V, and 240V, although this can vary depending on the design.

Temperature: Electric actuators are designed to work in a range of temperatures. However, extremes of heat or cold may require unique actuator designs or materials.

Humidity & Moisture: Many electric actuators are rated for outdoor use, with enclosures that protect the internal components from moisture and humidity.

Hazardous Environments: Specialized electric actuators can be used in potentially explosive or hazardous conditions, with features designed to prevent sparks or other ignition sources.

Operational Mechanism:

Electric actuator valves work by converting electrical energy into mechanical torque:

Motor: When electricity is supplied, the motor within the actuator turns a gear train.

Gear Train: The gear train then drives a lead screw or other mechanism to move the valve stem. The gear reduction also provides a mechanical advantage, allowing a small motor to apply a large force to the valve.

Valve Operation: Depending on the design of the valve (ball, butterfly, gate, globe, diaphragm), this movement will either lift a gate, turn a ball or disc, or move a diaphragm, thereby controlling the flow of the media.

Control Signals: Most electric actuators respond to either analog control signals (like 4-20 mA or 0-10V) or digital signals from a controller, enabling them to modulate the valve position for precise flow control.

Remember that while electric actuator valves are designed for robust operation, their lifetime can be extended by operating them within their specified limits and maintaining them properly. Always consult the valve specifications or manufacturer for information about these valves’ proper use and maintenance.

actuator stop valve
actuator stop valve


Electric actuator valves come in a range of sizes to fit various pipe diameters. For instance, you might find these valves as small as 1/2 inch to 4 inches for residential applications or as large as 60 inches for large-scale industrial use. The valve size will depend on the specific application and flow requirements.

Working Pressure:

The working pressure is another crucial specification for electric actuator valves. It refers to the maximum pressure the valve can withstand while maintaining its function. This can range from low-pressure applications (below 20 PSI) in domestic water systems to high-pressure industrial settings exceeding 6000 PSI. The chosen valve must meet or exceed the working pressure of the system where it’s installed.

Working Temperature:

Electric actuator valves also have specified working temperature ranges. These valves are designed to operate effectively within these temperature ranges without experiencing performance degradation or damage. For most general-purpose valves, the temperature range might be between -20°C and 200°C. However, specialized valves can handle more extreme temperatures, both lower and higher. It’s essential to choose a valve that can withstand the temperatures of the specific media and environmental conditions where it will be used.

These specifications will depend on the type of valve, the material it’s made from, and its intended application. Always ensure that the valve you choose matches the requirements of your specific use case. Remember, not every valve is suitable for every application, and selecting the wrong valve can lead to system failures and safety risks. Always consult an expert or refer to the manufacturer’s data if unsure.

Electric actuator valves for Plumberstar’s applications typically range from 1/2 inch to 4 inches. Depending on the specific model and application, they can withstand a wide array of working pressures and temperatures. Let’s illustrate this in the table below:

Brass Actuator  Valve Size (inches)Working Pressure (PSI)Working Temperature (°C)
1/2PN16-20 to 200
3/4PN16-20 to 200
1PN16-20 to 200
1 1/2PN16-20 to 200
2PN16-20 to 200
2 1/2PN16-20 to 200
3PN16-20 to 200
4PN16-20 to 200

These values are placeholders, as the specific working pressure and temperature will depend on the type of valve and its intended application. Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for accurate data. Remember, the valve must meet or exceed the working pressure and temperature of the system where it will be used.

ball valves actuator
ball valves actuator

Raw materials

Electric actuator valves are often constructed from various materials based on their intended application and the fluids they will be controlling. Some commonly used materials include:

Stainless Steel: This material is renowned for its strength and corrosion resistance. It is commonly used in applications where the valve may be exposed to corrosive substances or high pressures.

Brass: Brass valves are highly resistant to corrosion and are typically used in applications where the valve will be in contact with water. They are durable and relatively easy to manufacture, making them a popular choice for many applications.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC is a type of plastic commonly used in electric actuator valves that control water flow. PVC is highly resistant to water corrosion and fairly inexpensive, making it a common choice for water-based applications.

Cast Iron: This material is typically used in larger industrial applications due to its strength and durability. Cast iron can withstand high pressures and is often used in valves that control steam flow or other high-pressure fluids.

Remember, the choice of material will greatly affect the valve’s performance, longevity, and suitability for certain applications. Therefore, choosing a valve with a material that matches its intended use is essential.

General Spare parts of electric actuator valve?

Electric actuator valves are intricate devices composed of various components, each crucial in ensuring optimal performance. Here are some of the critical spare parts of an electric actuator valve:

Motor: It’s the driving force behind the movement of the valve.

Gears: These mechanical components facilitate the conversion of the motor’s speed into the necessary torque.

Circuit Board: This is essentially the ‘brain’ of the electric actuator, which processes signals and manages operations.

Seals and Gaskets: These components ensure a tight and leak-free connection within the actuator and between the actuator and the valve.

Switches: Switches control the limit of rotation and the feedback signals.

Housing: This outer cover protects the inner components from environmental factors.

Each of these parts plays a vital role, and ensuring they are in good condition is crucial for the reliable and efficient operation of your electric actuator valve. In case of damage or wear and tear, these parts can often be replaced to prolong the lifespan of the entire valve assembly. Always consult your product manual or a professional for specific advice on your particular electric actuator valve model.

actuator spare parts
actuator spare parts

Why design the valve body adopting ISO5211 (F03) platform?

The ISO 5211 (F03) platform standard is widely adopted in the design of valve bodies due to several compelling reasons:

Interchangeability: Adhering to the ISO 5211 standard ensures that actuator mounting interfaces are standardized across different manufacturers. This allows for a seamless exchange of different branded actuators and increases compatibility.

Versatility: ISO 5211 standard allows for flexibility in mounting different actuators (electric, pneumatic, hydraulic) to the valve body. This adaptability enables users to choose the most suitable actuator based on their specific requirements.

Ease of Installation & Maintenance: Standardized mounting designs simplify the assembly process and reduce the time required for installation or maintenance activities.

Reliability & Safety: ISO 5211 guarantees a secure and robust connection between the actuator and valve, reducing the risk of operational failure or accidents.

By using the ISO 5211 (F03) platform for valve body design, manufacturers ensure their products are versatile, reliable, and compatible with various actuators, enhancing their usability in diverse applications.

electrical motorized ball vale 2way and 3 way
electrical motorized ball vale 2way and 3 way

What are 4 wires with 3 points of control?

In the context of electrically actuated valves, a “4 wire, 3 points control” refers to a specific configuration of wiring and control method.

The 4 wires typically stand for the following connections:

Power Line 1: Generally connected to the open coil of the actuator.

Power Line 2: Generally connected to the close coil of the actuator.

Common Wire: The return path for the current from the open and closed coils.

Ground Wire: This wire is connected to the ground for safety to prevent electrical faults.

The “3 points control” means that the actuator has three states it can be in fully open, fully closed, and stopped anywhere in between. The actuator can be controlled to open or close to a specific position, not just fully open or fully closed, allowing precise control of fluid flow.

It’s important to note that specific implementations can vary, and it’s always important to consult the specific wiring diagrams and manuals provided by the manufacturer for your particular actuator and control system.

3 wires
3 wires

2-way valve Vs. 3-way valve

When selecting the correct valve for your system, the decision between 2-way and 3-way electric actuator valves can significantly influence your system’s performance. Both types have their unique features and applications.

2-Way Electric Actuator Valves primarily function as shutoff valves. They feature two ports: one for fluid to enter and the other for fluid to exit. When open, the fluid freely flows through the valve. When closed, the fluid flow is entirely blocked. These valves are commonly used when you need to turn a fluid flow on or off without altering the flow direction or splitting the flow into multiple paths.

3-Way Electric Actuator Valves are more versatile, featuring three ports. The flow can be directed between two paths, converging into one output or diverging from a single input. Their uses include applications that require supply and exhaust to be isolated without pressure fluctuation or where the flow must be switched between two points.

Choosing between a 2-way or 3-way valve will depend on your specific needs in terms of fluid flow control. Always ensure that the valve you select is suitable for your application, considering the fluid type, system pressure, temperature requirements, and required flow direction.

electronic control ball valve
electronic control ball valve 2 port and 3 port

Choosing an electric actuator valve offers several benefits:

1. Energy Efficient: Electric actuator valves are known for their energy efficiency. They consume power only during the start or stop operation, unlike pneumatic actuators that require a continuous air supply.

2. Precision Control: Electric actuators precisely control the valve position, allowing for accurate flow control. This precision is crucial in various applications where flow regulation is necessary.

3. Easy Integration: Electric actuator valves can be easily integrated with digital control systems, enabling remote operation and centralized control of multiple valves.

4. Low Maintenance: These valves typically require less maintenance than their pneumatic and hydraulic counterparts, reducing long-term operating costs.

5. Environmentally Friendly: As electric actuators do not use hydraulic fluid, there is no risk of fluid leakages causing environmental damage.

6. Safe Operation: Electric actuator valves are often safer to use in hazardous environments, as they do not present the risk of sparking like pneumatic valves.

Remember, though, that the decision to use an electric actuator valve should be based on your specific application requirements, including power availability, performance needs, safety considerations, and cost implications.

Concerns while you purchase electric actuator valves?

1. Application Requirements: Understand your specific needs, such as the type of fluid, operating pressure, and temperature range. These factors will determine the right type of valve and actuator for your application.

2. Actuator Type: Depending on your control needs, you might prefer modulating control or on-off control. Modulating control allows for more precision, while on-off control is more straightforward and more suitable for situations where you only need to open or close the valve fully.

3. Power Supply: Ensure your facility can provide the correct power supply for the electric actuator. Electric actuators may run on AC or DC power and require a specific voltage, such as 24V, 120V, or 240V.

4. Size: The valve size should match your pipeline size. Oversized or undersized valves can affect your system’s flow control and efficiency.

5. Material: The valve material should be suitable for the fluid and the operating environment. You might need valves made of special materials like stainless steel for corrosive or high-temperature fluids.

6. Safety Features: Look for safety features like manual overrides, position indicators, and fail-safe modes. These features can enhance the safety and reliability of your system.

7. Certification: Check if the valve and actuator meet relevant standards and certifications, which can indicate quality.

8. Supplier Reputation: Choose a reputable supplier that can provide quality products and good after-sales service. Always ask for references and check reviews to ensure you are dealing with a reliable supplier.

Remember, the right electric actuator valve can significantly improve your system performance and operational efficiency. So, take your time to consider these factors and make a well-informed decision.

24v electric solenoid valve
24v electric solenoid valve

Electric actuator valve Vs. Solenoid valve

When selecting a valve for a specific application, understanding the difference between an electric actuator valve and a solenoid valve is crucial.

Electric Actuator Valve:

Electric actuator valves use an electric motor to control the valve’s operation. They are highly versatile and can handle a wide range of control tasks. These valves are often used in applications requiring precision, such as flow control in chemical processing or HVAC systems.


They offer precise control over flow rates, making them ideal for modulating service.

They are suitable for both small and large valves.

They can be used with a wide variety of power sources.


Electric actuator valves tend to have a slower response time compared to solenoid valves.

They can be more expensive and complex to install and maintain.

Solenoid Valve:

Solenoid valves are electromechanical devices that use a solenoid (a coil of wire that generates a magnetic field when an electric current is passed) to operate the valve. They are typically used for on-off control applications where a fast response time is needed, such as in safety systems or fluid power applications.


Solenoid valves have a fast response time, making them suitable for applications requiring quick on-off action.

They are generally more compact and lightweight than electric actuator valves.

They are typically cheaper and easier to install.


Solenoid valves are not ideal for modulating service but best suited to on-off applications.

They are generally limited to smaller valve sizes.

Their operation is dependent on a continuous power supply; power loss can result in valve failure.

In conclusion, the choice between an electric actuator valve and a solenoid valve largely depends on your specific application requirements. Consider factors such as the type of control needed (on-off vs. modulating), the required response time, the valve size, and the available power supply when deciding.

solenoid valve
solenoid valve

Installation and Maintenance of Electric Actuator Valves

Installing and maintaining electric actuator valves properly ensures optimal performance and extend service life.


  • Location: Choose a location where the actuator will be easily accessible for inspection and maintenance. Avoid places with excessive heat, moisture, or corrosive substances.
  • Orientation: The actuator can be mounted in any direction, but it is recommended to position it in a way that the manual operation, if present, is easily accessible.
  • Electrical Connection: Make sure to use the correct cable type and size for your specific actuator model and power requirements. Connections should be made in accordance with the wiring diagram provided by the manufacturer.
  • Piping: The valve should be installed in the pipeline correctly, respecting the direction of the flow indicated on the valve body.


  • Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect the actuator for any visible signs of wear or damage. Check the electrical connections to ensure they are secure.
  • Operational Test: Regularly test the operation of the actuator to ensure it is functioning correctly. This can be done by operating the actuator through its full range of motion.
  • Cleaning: Keep the actuator clean from dust and debris. Depending on the environment, the actuator may need to be cleaned more frequently.
  • Lubrication: Depending on the model, some parts of the actuator may require lubrication to operate smoothly. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for details.

Replacement of Parts: If any part of the actuator is found to be defective during the inspection or operational test, it should be replaced immediately to prevent further damage or system failure.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific installation and maintenance procedures for your particular electric actuator valve model. Safety should be your primary concern when installing and maintaining these devices.

actuator inspection
actuator inspection

Why choose us

Choosing an electric actuator valve from Plumberstar comes with several unique benefits:

Quality and Durability: At Plumberstar, we ensure that our valves are manufactured from high-quality materials, ensuring durability and long service life, even in demanding conditions.

Customization: We specialize in producing customized valve and pipe fitting products. We understand that every system has unique requirements, and we can tailor our products to meet your specific needs.

Technical Support and Service: We prioritize good service and communication, offering our clients comprehensive support, from the product selection process to after-sales service.

Testing and Quality Assurance: We provide free product testing and 100% product pressure testing, ensuring that our products meet the highest standards.

electrical ball valve
electrical ball valve

Wrapping it up

To sum it up, electric actuator valves are innovative components that enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of various applications across numerous industries. With their automatic operation, improved precision, and capacity for remote control, these valves have become the go-to option for controlling fluid flow in a wide array of settings.

While their functionality is vast, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of their working principles, types, specifications, applications, and installation and maintenance procedures. Moreover, considering factors such as the working conditions, raw materials, design aspects, and your specific requirements will help you make an informed decision while opting for an electric actuator valve.

Whether replacing a traditional valve system or designing a new setup, electric actuator valves are well worth your consideration. They represent the future of flow control, marrying the best of technology with fluid mechanics.

It’s always a good idea to work with reputable suppliers who can provide high-quality products and support you throughout your journey, from selection to installation and maintenance. With the right partnership and understanding, electric actuator valves can significantly contribute to the success of your operations.

Keep exploring, stay informed, and make the most of the evolving world of electric actuator valves.

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