What are Valve Actuators?

In this blog post, you’ll read:A valve actuator is a type of mechanical device that opens and closes a valve's flow passageways as required. A manual operator or an external power source (such as electricity, compressed air, or compressed hydraulic fluid) can initiate the machine's movements. Its design determines whether it best suits on/off flow control or flow throttling.
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In industries, valve actuators are indispensable, as they regulate the passage of substances within systems and improve operational efficiency. Thus, it is imperative for engineers, technicians, and those involved in procuring these “valve operators” to comprehend the various varieties of valve actuators. The following post provides a detailed overview of the many types of valve actuators, including their functionality, applications, and the factors to consider when selecting the appropriate actuator valve for your requirements.

valve actuator
valve actuator

What Is a Valve Actuator?

A valve actuator is a mechanical tool used to operate a valve by “actuating” or “moving” a power source. This power source can be pneumatic (air-powered), electric, or hydraulic (liquid-powered) and is attached to two parts of the valve: the body and the pilot. This device is manipulated manually through a direct or geared mechanism linked to the valve stem.

Actuated valves are a type of control valve composed of a box with an input, an output, an operating mechanism, and a controller. Their value lies in their various advantages for many industrial applications, including water treatments, offshore platforms, energy production, naval industries, pipelines, and processing industries.

What Does an Actuator Valve do?

Actuator valves are utilized in different industries, such as gas, oil, water treatment, and manufacturing. Their primary function is to modulate the passage of fluids and gases, facilitating the precise and efficient management of various processes and apparatus.

Actuator valves may also be implemented to modulate pressure in conduits and other systems. By altering the valve’s position, the pressure of the medium can be regulated to align with the intended parameters.

Many industrial and commercial systems need precision fluid or gas flow control, and actuators and industrial ball valves are essential components. HVAC systems, chemical processing, oil and gas processing, and water treatment are among the many applications in which actuator valves are utilized.

Working Principle of an Actuator Valve

Despite the simplicity of the working principle of an actuator valve, the design and construction can differ based on the actuation method and application requirements. The general procedures for the operation of an actuator valve are as follows:

· Signal received by the actuator:

The actuator opens or closes the valve in response to a signal from a control system.

· Actuator power source operation:

The actuator’s power source is activated, which may consist of an electric motor, compressed air, or hydraulic pressure.

· Actuator operation:

Depending on the valve design, the actuator converts the energy from the power source into a linear or rotary motion.

· Changes in valve position:

The actuator’s movement alters the position of the valve stem, which in turn affects the valve disc or ball.

· Regulation of flow:

The valve position change regulates fluid or gas passage through the conduit or system.

· Feedback signal transmitted:

The actuator transmits a feedback signal to the control system to verify the valve’s position and flow rate.

    basic levers

    Common Valve Actuator Types

    Manual actuators, pneumatic actuators, electric actuators, and spring actuators are among the several varieties of valve actuators currently in use. The application’s specific requirements, such as the required precision, speed, force, and control, will determine the type of valve actuator.

      manual actuator
      manual actuator

      Pneumatic valve actuators turn valves on and off automatically or semi-automatic by turning the energy from compressed air into mechanical motion. They work by introducing air into a chamber and making it expand. This makes the pressure inside the chamber higher than the pressure outside. The pressure difference gives the air energy. Then, it can be sent out of the chamber and toward the valve part used to open and close it.

      Manual actuators are actuated by hand or by a mechanical lever. Controlling the position of a valve or other control device is straightforward and dependable. In comparison to other actuator varieties, manual actuators provide numerous benefits. Installing, operating, and maintaining them is effortless, and they do not need an external power source.

      Pneumatic Actuator Valve

      pneumatic actuator valve
      pneumatic actuator valve

      Pneumatic actuators employ compressed air to activate the valve. The valve is moved to the desired position by the pneumatic actuator, which converts the energy of the compressed air into mechanical motion. This process regulates the flow of the medium. Pneumatic actuators are used in process control applications and are available in spring-return and double-acting configurations.

      Electric Actuator Valve

      electric actuator valve
      electric actuator valve

      Electric actuator valves are employed in industrial applications that need precise control over valve position. An electric actuator valve is a valve actuator that operates using an electric motor. A control system, such as a programmable logic controller or a DCS (distributed control system), sends signals to an electronic controller. It regulates the electric motor.

      Spring Actuator

      A valve actuator that employs a spring to actuate the valve is known as a spring actuator. The valve is either opened or closed by compressing or releasing the spring. The valve is in its default position when the spring is in its normal, uncompressed state. It is either completely open or fully closed when the actuator is inactive.

      How to Choose the Right Actuator Valve?

      The selection of the appropriate actuator from valve companies is contingent upon various factors. These factors are the application requirements, valve type, actuation method, and budget. The following are a few methods to assist you in selecting the appropriate actuator valve:

      1. Determine the basics for the application:

      It is necessary to learn the environmental conditions of the application. The conditions should be:

      • Pressure and temperature range
      • Flow rate
      • Type of fluid or gas

      2. Determine the valve type:

      Various varieties of valves exist, including ball valves, butterfly valves, gate valves, globe valves, and needle valves. It is recommended that you select the most suitable variety for your application. Each valve has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

      3. Determine the actuation method:

      The actuation method can be manual, electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic. The selection is contingent upon the application’s requirements and the resource availability. For instance, an electric or pneumatic actuator would be suitable for remotely controlling the valve.

      4. Budget considerations:

      The cost of actuator valves can vary substantially. It is essential to find out the budget that can be allocated for the valve. A more expensive valve provides enhanced quality and reliability. However, it may not always be necessary for your specific application.

      5. Consult with an expert:

      Suppose you are still undecided about which actuator valve to select. In that case, it is always suggested to seek the advice of a professional in the field who can offer recommendations and guidance based on your application specifics.

      Taking these factors into account can help you select the suitable actuator valve. It will also meet your application requirements and ensure reliable and efficient operation.

      Contact Plumberstar to Get a Certificated Actuator Valve

      Plumberstar is a valve manufacturer in China that is both certified and prominent. Certified industrial actuator valves offer numerous advantages, such as enhanced reliability, safety, compliance, cost savings, and reputation.

      Actuator valves certified by Plumberstar are engineered to meet safety standards. It endures severe conditions, making them suitable for use in hazardous environments.

      A Plumberstar-certified quality control officer conducts a quality inspection during the actuator valve’s production. A series of tests is performed to ensure it meets the appropriate standard. To get a certificated industrial actuator valve, please get in touch with Plumberstar.


      An actuator valve is a device that regulates the passage of substances or gases within a system by opening or closing a valve. It is indispensable in numerous industrial applications, including water treatment, oil and gas extraction, and manufacturing.

      The valve selection for a particular application is contingent upon actuator valve operation and the various varieties available. Plumberstar can provide you with the highest-quality industrial actuator valve.

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