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What is the electric actuator?

- Sep 27, 2018 -

An actuator is a component of a machine that is responsible for moving and controlling a mechanism or system, for example by opening a valve. In simple terms, it is a "mover".


An actuator requires a control signal and a source of energy. The control signal is relatively low energy and maybe electric voltage or current, pneumatic or hydraulic pressure, or even human power. Its main energy source may be an electric current, hydraulic fluid pressure, or pneumatic pressure. When it receives a control signal, an actuator responds by converting the signal's energy into mechanical motion.

An actuator is a mechanism by which a control system acts upon an environment. The control system can be simple (a fixed mechanical or electronic system), software-based (e.g. a printer driver, robot control system), a human, or any other input.


An electric actuator is powered by a motor that converts electrical energy into mechanical torque. The electrical energy is used to actuate equipment such as multi-turn valves. Additionally, a brake is typically installed above the motor to prevent the media from the opening valve. If no brake is installed, the actuator will uncover the opened valve and rotate it back to its closed position. If this continues to happen, the motor and actuator will eventually become damaged. It is one of the cleanest and most readily available forms of actuator because it does not directly involve oil or other fossil fuels.