Difference between Pneumatic, Electrical & Hydraulic Actuators

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Pros and cons of different Valve Actuator Types

Pneumatic Actuators

Pros

  1. Explosionproofing relatively simple
  2. Relatively insensitive to corroding environments if control air is used
  3. Unsophisticated design
  4. Use of control gas possible
  5. Logic interlocking of signals can be realised easily Relatively low cost
  6. High stroking velocities can be realised
  7. “Fail safe Outages of the auxiliary energy do not prevent reaching of safe position (springloaded actuator)”

Cons

  1. Distance to the source of energy is limited (dead time problems)
  2. Actuating force of springloaded units is limited
  3. Auxiliary energy must be generated and made available (cost implications)
  4. Auxiliary energy system requires considerable maintenance
  5. Small systems are normally not economical
  6. Sensitive to changing process pressure

Electrical Actuators

Pros

  1. Large distance to the source of energy is no problem
  2. Accessories and parts are standard supplies Easy interlocking of signals
  3. High regulation and control accuracy can be realised easily
  4. Large actuating force easy to achieve
  5. Remote control and monitoring functions can be implemented easily

Cons

  1. Larger actuating forces difficult to achieve
  2. Limited stroking velocity
  3. Explosionproofing costlier in comparison to pneumatic or hydraulic actuators
  4. “Reaching of safe position in case of auxiliary energy outages must be ensured
  5. by additional measures”
  6. High maintenance costs

Hydraulic Actuators 

Pros

  1. High actuating forces
  2. High stroking velocities are possible
  3. Outages of the auxiliary energy do not prevent reaching of safe position (accumulator)
  4. High stability

Cons

  1. Distance to the source of energy is limited
  2. Tubing is required for transmission of the actuating power, implying additional leakage risks
  3. Costly control
  4. Considerable maintenance requirements

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