Actuator

An actuator is a mechanical device for controlling or moving a mechanism. An actuator is usually powered by electricity, but can also be operated by hydraulic or pneumatic pressure or other power source. Actuators convert power or energy into motion, or to apply force.

Actuator Manufacturers

  • Zero-Max is an industry leading manufacturer of power transmission components. With over 60 years of innovative design and exceptional service, Zero-Max is a worldwide provider of power transmission solutions.
  • Tri-Tec Manufacturing has been designing, engineering, and manufacturing DOD-compliant actuators and related products since 1972. Designed for use is the world’s harshest environments, Tri-Tec products are used extensively by the US Navy and in civilian applications around the globe.

Examples of Actuators

At their most basic level, an actuator can be the simplest of machines, such as a screw or a wheel and axle — in both cases one kind of energy (turning a nut on a screw, turning a wheel) converts into motion, or another kind of motion (the screw turning, the axle attached to the wheel turning).

A more modern example of an actuator is the pneumatic cylinder or air cylinder. In this type of actuator the energy of compressed air is used to move a piston. In the scope of mechanical actuators, even the muscles in your body can be considered actuators that convert the energy from food into motion.

Types of Actuators

In modern engineering parlance, actuators can be divided into several categories:

  • Linear Actuators include actuators that create a linear motion, or motion only in one direction. The pneumatic cylinder is considered a one-way linear actuator. Piezolectric actuators are intrinsically linear actuators.
  • Rotary Actuators convert energy into a rotary motion, typically by rotating a shaft which can in turn transfer energy to any number of other implements. Motors most commonly are rotary actuators.
  • Oscillatory Actuators create motion in opposing direction at regular intervals.
  • Electronic Valve Actuators utilize onboard computers to control settings and communication for faster, more accurate operation and improved reliability. Many can be programmed remotely for added convenience.

 

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