Electric Actuator

Understanding Design Considerations When Choosing Valve Actuators

Valve actuators are mechanical devices that move or control valves, and they are essential for industrial process control. But with so many types of valve actuators available, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your application. The type of control system, and overall cost are all important factors that determine the best solution for the particular application. Taking the time to consider each of these elements will ensure you find the valve actuator that fits your needs. Understanding these design considerations is key to making an informed decision on which valve actuator is right for your project. This blog post will outline the key design considerations you should take into account when selecting a valve actuator.

Valve Actuators

What is Valve Actuators?

A valve actuator is a device that moves a valve open or closed. It works in conjunction with two parts: the valve body and the operating mechanism. The operating mechanism is typically either manual, electric, pneumatic (compressed air), or hydraulic (liquid pressure).

Types of Valve Actuators

There are a variety of different types of valve actuators available, each with its own unique features and capabilities. The most common types of valve actuators include electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic.

Air pressure actuates pneumatic valves which allow for precise control over the action of the valve.

Hydraulic valve actuators use hydraulic pressure to control the movement of the valve, which is often more powerful than other types and ideal for applications that require a heavy-duty solution.

Electricity can power electric actuator systems and can provide even greater precision in controlling the motion of a valve, making them suitable for many industrial or laboratory applications.

Other options include manual or manual/automated systems that allow for more flexibility when it comes to controlling the different aspects of the system. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the application, allowing for an optimal solution for any project.

Key Design Considerations for Selecting Valve Actuators

When selecting a valve actuator system, we should take a few key design considerations into account. These considerations involve the overall cost, type of control system, and compatibility with other components. It is important to take the time to evaluate each option in order to find the best solution for your particular application. Additionally, understanding how certain design elements will affect the performance of the valve actuator is essential for finding an effective yet cost-efficient solution. Here we introduce several key design considerations you should take into account:

1. Power source – What type of power source do you need? Electric? Pneumatic? Hydraulic?

The type of power source used with a valve actuator depends on the application and the desired output.

    (1) Electric power sources

Electric power sources are one of the most common types of actuator power sources used in a variety of industrial and laboratory applications. Electric actuators provide precise control over the action of a valve, allowing for exact timing and positioning. These types of actuators use electronic circuitry to control each component within the system. This type of power source is well-suited for high-precision applications that require tight control of the movement of the valve. Additionally, electric power sources are reliable and durable, making them ideal for long-term projects. Although they have many advantages, electric actuators can also be expensive when compared to other options.

Valve Actuators

    (2) Pneumatic power sources

Pneumatic power sources are a popular choice for valve actuators. It requires faster or larger movements than electric systems can provide. Powered by a pressurized gas such as air, these types of actuators use pressure to control the movement of each component. This makes them ideal for applications involving quick action, such as valves in high-pressure lines. They also tend to be more cost-effective than their electric counterparts, meaning they are often chosen for large and long-term projects. However, pneumatic power sources require more frequent maintenance due to the need to regularly inspect and replace components such as hoses and seals. Additionally, it is important to ensure to use of the correct type of gas in order to maintain optimal performance.

Valve Actuators

    (3) Hydraulic power sources

Hydraulic power sources are a type of actuator that uses pressurized liquid to control the movement of each component.  These types of actuators are often used in industrial and manufacturing settings due to their ability to produce powerful, reliable and precise movements. Furthermore, since the fluid is already pressurized, they can be operated at much higher speeds compared to pneumatic systems. A key benefit of using hydraulic power sources is that they require less maintenance than pneumatic systems as they do not need frequent inspection or replacement of components such as hoses and seals. However, this advantage also comes with some drawbacks such as higher initial costs and greater potential for leaks. Additionally, these systems tend to be quite noisy when in operation, making them unsuitable for certain environments.

Each type of power source has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand which one best suits your particular application before making a decision.

2. Operating environment – What kind of environment will the valve be operating in? Will it be exposed to extreme temperatures or harsh chemicals?

Knowing the environment in which a valve will be operating is essential to choosing the correct actuator. Certain operating environments can put additional strain on certain types of actuators and may require modifications or special considerations. For example, if a valve is exposed to extreme temperatures, then a motorized actuator that requires cooling might not be suitable for the application. The same is true for harsh chemicals. If the valve is located in an area with high concentrations of corrosive agents, then it might be necessary to choose an actuator made from materials with high resistance to chemical attack. It’s important to consider all aspects of the operating environment when selecting an actuation system so that it can perform optimally and safely in its intended application.

3. Control system – Do you need an integrated control system or just an individual component?

Deciding between an integrated control system or individual components is a major consideration when selecting a valve actuation system. Integrated control systems tend to provide the greatest degree of efficiency, safety, and reliability in operations that require complex control logic. These systems typically consist of multiple components such as sensors, motors, encoders, and digital controllers that work together in order to achieve the desired outcome. Individual components may be more suitable for simpler applications where a single actuator is all that’s needed to perform the task at hand. In either case, it’s important to make sure that the chosen solution meets all safety requirements.  Also, it should be compatible with other components in your process.

4. Cost – How much money do you have budgeted for this project?

Cost is an important factor when selecting a valve actuation system. Because it will ultimately determine which components and features you have available in your system. Knowing how much money you have budgeted for the project is helpful. It can ensure that you don’t overspend. Also, it can ensure you don’t end up with a solution. That’s either not reliable or doesn’t fit within your budget. It’s always best to carefully consider your specific needs before committing to any particular system. Because there are usually multiple options available for each application that vary in cost. Make sure to also take into account any additional costs associated with installation and maintenance. Because these can have a significant impact on the total price of the project.


Understanding design considerations when choosing a valve actuation system is key to ensuring your project’s success. Things like cost, type of control system, and compatibility with other components are all important factors that require careful consideration. Taking the time to weigh the pros and cons of each option will ensure you find the right solution for your specific application. Utilizing the expertise of a qualified specialist can also help you make an informed decision based on their experience in this field. With so many options available on the market today, there’s sure to be one that meets your needs perfectly!