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How Does an Electric Actuator Work?

Sep. 25, 2020 | 20:10:38

An electric actuator is a mechanical device used to convert electricity into kinetic energy in either a single linear or rotary motion. It automates damper or valve in order to increase process efficiency and complexity. Designs for electric actuators are based on the specific tasks they accomplish within the processes for which they’re intended, and they can vary in both dimension and size.

There are now more applications for electric actuators due to the movement toward massively increased decentralization taking place in automation technology. New process controllers can now be equipped on last-generation electric actuators, which makes it simpler to meet recently updated automation standards. Thanks to failsafe capabilities that preserve user control over the process even in the event of power loss, using electric actuators is now safer than ever before.

Main Components of an Electric Actuator

The motor of an electric actuator can operate on any voltage and is used across many different industries. The most common voltages used in single-phase motors are

· 115 VAC

· 24 VAC

· 12 VDC

· 24 VDC

· 208 VAC

· 230 VAC

In addition to these options, three-phase motors also use voltages of 230 VAC and 460 VAC.

An actuator’s brake is mounted on top of the motor. It’s responsible for stopping the media from forcing the valve open when it should be closed by locking the motor rotor in position when not in use.

The motor start capacitor is the third main component of an electric actuator with AC motor. It gives the motor enough power to start. Electric actuators with DC motors do not require a capacitor.

The final critical component of an electric actuator is the two single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) end of travel limit switches. One is for the closed position, and the other is for the open position. These switches provide the adequate number of electrical contacts in the immediate, closed, and open positions.

Applications: Where are Electric Actuators Used?

Electric actuators appear in a number of industries. Typically, they’re used in industrial applications associated with manufacturing valves, pumps, and motors. They most commonly automate industrial valves, and many types of technical process plants use them, including:

· Upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas plants

· Wastewater treatment plants

· Power plants

· Food and beverage plants

· Farming and agricultural plants

· Pulp and paper plants

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