What is a Valve Actuator?

What is a Valve Actuator?

A valve actuator is a mechanical device that uses a power source to operate a valve. This power source can be electric, pneumatic (compressed air), or hydraulic (the flow of oil). There are two main types of actuators, one for each of the two main types of valves that require them. They are rotary and linear.

Selection of the best actuator type for any application is dependent on many factors including:

  • Valve type
  • Power sources available
  • Environment of installation
  • Operational functions and characteristics
    • need for fail safe
    • cycle life
    • duty cycle
    • speed of actuation
    • need for manual override
  • And as always... Cost

We have tools for helping you select the best actuator for your application. All valve configurators allow the quick and easy comparison of all applicable actuators.

Rotary Valve Actuators
As the name implies, rotary valve actuators produce the rotational motion needed to operate roatary valves such as ball, plug, and butterfly valves. Rotary actuators are available in many different styles, each with its own benefits.

examples of rotary valve actuators

Linear Valve Actuators
Linear valves such as globe, gate, and pinch valves - due to their distictly different operation - require actuators that are drastically different from the rotary type. These actuators must produce linear motion to operate the valve. They are also available in many styles.

examples of linear valve actuators

Valve Actuator Power Sources
Both linear and rotary style actuators are available with the various power sources mentioned earlier: pneumatic, hydraulic, and electric. In addition to these, there are also several distinct types of manual operators.

See: Type of Pneumatic Valve Actuator