The Mechanics of Actuated Valves

Valves are used to release a certain amount of gas at a time. Hand wheels and levers typically were used to perform this action, but a human controlling it wasn’t always as effective as possible. That’s where actuated valves came into play.

Learn more about actuated valves and their benefits.

What Is a Valve Actuator?

pipingAn actuator allows the valve to be automated mechanically so there’s no human interaction needed to cycle the valve. The actuator is remotely operated and can even provide a shutdown mechanism in an emergency so a human isn’t exposed to certain risks.

It also allows jobs to be completed where it’s impossible for human interaction, such as space limitation.

When Did the Valve Actuator Originate?

While the technology seems recent, hydraulically actuated valves were used in the Industrial Revolution, and in the 1920s, pneumatic actuation was used. As more advanced plants developed with high-pressure requirements, more sophisticated actuators were created.

Then the 1950s brought new gas actuators for high-pressure demands in the pipeline industry and electrohydraulic actuators for critical applications. Today, they’re used in many plants all over the world.

What Are the Different Types of Valve Actuators?

oil workersThere are many different valve actuators in use today, and the appropriate one is selected based on the job that needs to be done. Check out the different types of valve actuators and their actions from Cameron Valve Academy.

Double Acting: Actuators in a double-acting configuration have air/liquid supplied to both sides of the piston, with one side being higher pressure, which achieves the movement required to actuate the valve. This configuration uses the air/liquid as energy to both open and close the valve.

Spring Return: Actuators in a spring return configuration have air/liquid supplied to only one side of the piston, and the energy to move the mechanisms comes from a spring on the opposite side. This configuration uses the air/liquid as energy to open or close the valve, while the spring acts to affect the opposite motion.

Pneumatic: Pneumatic actuators utilize compressed air to generate the operating energy. These actuators are quick to respond but aren’t ideal for environments under high pressures, as gas is compressible. Pneumatic actuators can be either spring return or double acting.

Hydraulic: Hydraulic actuators use liquid as a means to apply pressure to the actuators mechanical components. They generally can exert a large amount of force because liquid isn’t compressible, but are generally limited in acceleration and speed. Hydraulic actuators can be either spring return or double acting.

Direct Gas: Direct gas actuators utilize a high-pressure natural gas or nitrogen supply to achieve on/off control of a valve in any natural gas transmission application. Direct gas actuators only come in double acting configurations.

Gas Over Oil: Gas-over-oil actuators use high-pressure gas supplied from the pipeline, suspended above a hydraulic fluid to move the mechanics of the actuator. Gas-over-oil actuators only come in double-acting configurations.

Electric: Electric actuators use a power source, such as a battery, to run the actuator. They usually include intricate electrical circuitry to program when the actuator operates. Because they use electricity as a power source, they may not be the best actuator for remote installations.

CPV Manufacturing offers a wide range of high-quality automated valves. Click here to check them out.