Ultimate Guide to Actuator Ball Valve

In this blog post, you’ll read:The actuator ball valve is the rotating ball-type valve fitted with an actuator. It is capable of controlling the function of the valve. The ball valve and actuator are different things, and they can be applied in pairs. It needs an energy source to perform its function.The energy source reacted with the pressure differential and design of the valve. The selection of the actuator ball valve depends on energy. The energy source is either electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic to the actuators.
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The actuator ball valve is the rotating ball-type valve fitted with an actuator. It is capable of controlling the function of the valve. The ball valve and actuator are different things, and they can be applied in pairs. It needs an energy source to perform its function.

The energy source reacted with the pressure differential and design of the valve. The selection of the actuator ball valve depends on energy. The energy source is either electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic to the actuators.  

Ball valves are essential in various applications, from home plumbing systems to large industrial processes. When combined with actuators, these valves are transformed, providing automated and precision control. Welcome to the ultimate guide on actuator ball valves.

What is an Actuator Ball Valve?

An actuator ball valve combines a ball valve—a valve that uses a hollow, perforated, and pivoting ball to control fluid flow—with an actuator, which automates the valve. This automation can be achieved using various energy sources, such as electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic power.

Why Use an Actuator Ball Valve?

  • Precision: Actuators allow for accurate valve position control, enabling precise regulation of fluid flow.
  • Efficiency: Automated valves can be controlled remotely, saving time and manpower.
  • Safety: In hazardous environments, using actuator ball valves can reduce the risk of accidents by minimizing manual intervention.
electric brass valves
electric brass valves

Why Actuator Ball Valve is a Motorized Ball Valve And an Electric Ball Valve?

The terms “actuator ball valve,” “motorized ball valve,” and “electric ball valve” are often used in the context of valve automation, particularly when referring to ball valves that can be operated automatically rather than manually. Here’s an elucidation of these terms in relation to ball valves:

Actuator Ball Valve

An “actuator” is a device or mechanism that operates or controls a valve. In this context, when we mention an “actuator ball valve,” we’re referring to a ball valve that is equipped with an actuator. This actuator can be powered in various ways:

Manually (by hand)
Electrically (using electric motors)
Pneumatically (using compressed air)
Hydraulically (using liquid under pressure)
The emphasis here is on the actuator mechanism attached to the ball valve, not necessarily its power source.

Motorized Ball Valve

A “motorized ball valve” specifically denotes a ball valve that is equipped with an electric motor to facilitate its operation. The term “motorized” indicates the presence of an electric motor as the source of power for actuating the valve.

Electric Ball Valve

The term “electric ball valve” is essentially synonymous with “motorized ball valve.” Both terms highlight that the valve’s actuating mechanism is electrically powered. An electric ball valve uses an electric actuator to function.

Reason for the Interchangeable Usage

All motorized or electric ball valves incorporate actuators, as the actuator housing contains the electric motor driving the valve’s operation. However, not all actuator ball valves are necessarily motorized or electric since some actuators might be operated pneumatically, hydraulically, or even manually.

The term “motorized ball valve” or “electric ball valve” is more precise than simply “actuator ball valve” because it designates the specific power source (i.e., electric motor). Yet, in many industrial settings, especially when the context is apparent, these terms can be used interchangeably, as electrically powered actuators are commonplace for certain applications.

To prevent misunderstandings, it’s always advisable to detail the type of actuation (electric, pneumatic, manual, etc.) when discussing or choosing ball valves for particular purposes.

Parts of actuated ball valve

motor valves
motor valves

How does the actuated ball valve work?

The actuator ball valve works similarly to its corresponding manual valve. Yet, in this valve, the actuator is mounted in place of the lever to run the stem. This item is linked to the ball, which is turned. It rotates the ball to give the required operation. Yet, the actuator gains the signal from the remote control location relying on its position. It will turn to start or stop the fluid stream via the ball valve.

This valve can be built or designed to alter location based on the sensor readings. The sensor can perceive and send changes in pressure or temperature. The actuator ball valve starts when the sensor reaches a pre-determined location set by the machine control staff. This will perform an essential operation.

It keeps the process fluid from executing an area that is already complete. When the sensor perceives the site accessible for more fluid, it activates the actuated ball valve. Yet, this will alter the location to permit process fluid to reach its point.

actuator inspection
Actuator inspection

Types of Actuator ball valve

This valve changes the electrical energy into torque via the electric motor. This turns the valve up to 90 degrees. The torque is transferred to the valve stem, thereby turning the ball valve. The electric actuator is offered in DC and AC models.

1. Electric Actuators:

  • How they work: These electric motors provide torque to operate the valve.
  • Applications: Common in home automation, water treatment plants, and places where electricity is readily available.

2. Pneumatic Actuators:

  • How they work: They utilize compressed air to generate valve movement.
  • Applications are often found in industrial applications, especially where compressed air is already used.

3. Hydraulic Actuators:

  • How they work: These use fluid-filled cylinders to generate valve movement.
  • Applications: Heavy industries and scenarios requiring high torque.
  • Electric actuated ball valves.

Pressure/Temperature Chart for Electric Actuated Ball Valves

Work temperature and work pressure specs
  • Pneumatic actuated ball valve

A pneumatic actuator, also called an air actuator, controls the ball valve by converting the compressed air energy into force. Yet, the pneumatic actuator is divided into a double-acting or a spring return. This division is based on the movement of the pneumatic actuated ball valve.  

Double-acting actuators provide the movement required to actuate the valve. It happens when air or liquid is applied to one side of the piston at a higher pressure than the other. In this result, the valve opens and closes by the pneumatic or hydraulic force of the air or liquid energy.

A spring on the opposite side of the piston provides energy to move the systems in a spring return. The single-acting actuated valve supplies one side of the piston with air or liquid. When a spring causes the opposite motion, the pneumatic or hydraulic pressure of the fluids is used to open or close the valve.

  • Spring return
Process Systems

Components of Actuator Ball Valves:

  • Valve Body: This houses the inner workings of the valve and connects to the piping system.
  • Ball: A spherical disc that regulates fluid flow.
  • Stem: Connects the ball to the actuator, transmitting actuator movement to the ball.
  • Seats: Ensures a tight seal when the valve is closed.
  • Actuator: The motor mechanism that operates the valve.

Key Features to Consider:

  • Material: Depending on the application, actuator ball valves can be made from brass, stainless steel, PVC, and more.
  • Size: Actuator ball valves range from small for home use to industrial-sized.
  • Pressure Rating: Choosing a valve that can handle the system’s pressure is crucial.
  • End Connections: These can be threaded, flanged, or welded, among others.

Comparison between Electric and Pneumatic Ball Valves

  • Power source

The main difference between electric and pneumatic ball valves is their driving force of working. The electric actuator operates on AC and DC voltage. The pneumatic actuator ball valve works on an air supply of 60 to 125 PSI. In case of no air supply, the electric actuator ball valve is operated manually.  

  • Component Size

The double-acting pneumatic actuator ball valve is 70% smaller than the electric actuator. The pneumatic actuator has higher torque per unit’s size than electric actuators. Yet, when a large valve is required, the pneumatic actuator ball valve works.

  • Speed

The speed of actuator rotation is essential, particularly in difficult situations. Yet, with the preciseness, both pneumatic and electric actuators can be fast. For instance, the pneumatic actuators need half a second to open and one complete set to close. But the electric does this within 6-sec responses on the type of brand.

  • Applications
electrical ball valve applications
electrical ball valve applications

Pneumatic actuated ball valve applied in the industry of;

  • Gas
  •  Food and beverage
  • Automotive
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Chemical admixture and treatment
  • Power processing

The electric actuator applies to food service equipment and vehicle wash systems. It is also used in manufacturing facilities, irrigation systems, and treatment equipment.

Seat or Packing Material

In some ball valve designs, friction between the ball and seat or packing will affect operating torque. Yet, this may vary with material and lubricant.

Uses for Actuated Ball Valves

Many industries that use fluids, including water, gas, air, oil, and other media, can use actuated ball valves. You can use actuated ball valves you buy for any of the following uses:

• Business procedures

• Chemical management

• Manufacturing

• Food and drink

• Mining

• Public health facilities

• Power stations

• Refineries for energy

• Production of clean water

• Landfills

• Transportable water

• Swimming facilities

• Irrigation

Additionally, actuated ball valves can be constructed from various materials. Yes, each material has unique properties. The actuated ball valve works in high or low-pressure and temperature environments. Different materials are used to help assure durability in a particular application. These ball valves are also quite durable.

Actuation Arrangement

One should think about how they want to operate the valve they are thinking about. There are many actuation choices available for a ball valve. The valve shows its autonomy from the apparatus it can interface with to be stroked. Installing a lever or handle will ensure that the function of the valve remains a result of manual operation. Other options include installing an electric actuator.

This will motorize the operation of the valve by an electric signal or a pneumatic actuator. Yet, it drives the action of the valve based on pressurized air. This does not support solenoid valves operated by an electric current. It is used to magnetize a ferromagnetic coil that is a part of their design and allows them to open or close. As a result, it can only function by using an electronic signal to activate the valve.

Actuated ball valve vs. Solenoid Valve

An electrical coil is activated to start a solenoid valve, which causes magnetism and causes an iron plunger to move side to side. The medium can move in the desired direction through the tiny holes disclosed by the advancing plunger. Large valves use solenoid valves to reroute air pressure to an actuator to open them. An actuated valve uses motors or air to spin the valve. Motors, which are more resilient to voltage shock, are used to activate valves. Solenoid valves are utilized when flow and pressure are low and a high switching frequency is needed. This is due to because of their rapid opening and closing characteristics.

How Solenoid Valves Work – Basics actuator control valve working principle
The Engineering Mindset

To start or stop the flow, a solenoid valve is employed. So, an actuated valve is usually a motor and gearbox that can modify the flow more limitlessly.



All actuated ball valve series come in fitting diameter sizes ranging from 1/2″ to 6″. There are six different complete valve pipe sizes:

Solenoid valve work details
Solenoid valve work details
Size of actuator ball valve

More sizes, dimensions, and non-standard actuator valves can be produced for customers on demand.


There is various type of actuated ball valve connections. These are;

  • threaded
  • flange
  • and socket.

The valves include an integrated that makes installation on the skids possible.


FPM rubber gasket seals offer exceptional chemicals. It also provides mechanical resistance, which is standard on all actuated valves. When FPM might not be suitable, EPDM rubber-type o-rings are an option. Common stem seals for FPM Viton gaskets are double o-rings. Reversible valve seats made of durable PTFE are a feature of valves.

Speed and Cycle Life

Operating speed may be the most crucial consideration when choosing a ball valve. It depends on the specifics of the application. Electrically actuated ball valves can be slow to open and close—measuring the duration in seconds rather than the solenoid’s milliseconds. Also, the ball valve’s electric actuator may have a limited duty cycle. It needs a set proportion of idle time to active time to prevent overheating the motor.

Power Options

details of the motorized valve
details of the motorized valve

Materials of Construction

Ball valve construction is more varied. Bronze, carbon steel, and stainless steel are common metallic materials offered. Still, there are also options in polymers like PVC, PVDF, and polypropylene—also more unusual metal alloys like Hastelloy and Alloy 20. Ball valve products may now handle a broader range of chemical compatibility. Yet, it is needed due to the variety of construction materials.

In contrast, ball valves and solenoids can work in clean gas and liquid applications. An actuated ball valve can be more resistant to impurities. It’s due to its design and material choice and stands for particles entering the subject medium.

Additionally, there are more end connection possibilities available with ball valves. Threaded and flanged connections are available for both types of valves. Some ball valves also have tri-clamp connections.

These will make them ideal for installation in sanitary applications. It is even suitable for socket-weld links that allow one to use them where welding is required. These quarter-turn devices are better suited for applications involving more harsh conditions. It is due to features like the construction materials and the ability to have welded ends.

Operating pressure

One must also consider the pressures when deciding whether to use a ball valve. In contrast, various designs of each choice can withstand varying working pressures. High-pressure ball valves withstand working pressures of up to maximum psi. The most inlet pressure and back pressure on the outer side of the valve that such a device can encounter.

24v electric solenoid valve
24v electric solenoid valve

Functions are both influenced by this working pressure restriction. Thus, a high-pressure ball valve remains a more suitable selection. It is also ideal in an application facing elevating operating pressure.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting:

Regular maintenance ensures longevity. Here are some common issues and solutions:

  1. Leakage: Often due to worn seats or seals. Replacement is usually required.
  2. Actuator not working: This could be due to a power source issue or malfunctioning components. Check connections or consider replacing the actuator.

Common Applications:

  • Home Automation: For automated water or gas flow control.
  • Industrial Processes: Automated control of chemicals, steam, water, or other fluids.
  • HVAC: To regulate the flow of heating or cooling medium.


Actuated ball valves are used where a fluid’s flow needs to stop, start, or control. The different actuated ball valve types are explained in this article. The applications for these valves range widely.

Actuator ball valves are a union of automation and fluid control, offering precise, efficient, and safe flow regulation in various applications. With this guide, you’re now equipped with the foundational knowledge to navigate the world of actuator ball valves, whether for residential or industrial use.

Although a ball valve can use an electronic actuator, these use 120 VAC or 24 VDC power sources. These ball valve assemblies can provide more manual override choices. It is because the actuation is non-intrinsic to the valve itself. The manual override enables one to operate a valve manually by turning a handwheel, bypassing the actuator.

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