Geko Union/ Geko Fluid Control GmbH

How to Select Actuators for Valves

Selecting the right actuator for various types of valves involves considering several factors to ensure optimal performance and control. Here are the key steps to guide your decision:


Gate Valves: Gate valves typically require linear actuators, such as pneumatic or electric actuators, that provide sufficient thrust to move the gate up and down effectively.

Ball Valves: Ball valves often work well with quarter-turn actuators, like pneumatic or electric actuators, as they only need to rotate the ball 90 degrees for full open or close positions.


Butterfly Valves: Butterfly valves can use both quarter-turn actuators and multi-turn actuators, depending on the specific design. Quarter-turn actuators are common for most butterfly valves, while larger ones might require multi-turn actuators.

Plug Valves: Plug valves are typically controlled by quarter-turn actuators, similar to ball valves, as they only need a 90-degree rotation for operation.

Diaphragm Valves: Diaphragm valves generally use linear actuators, as they require an up-and-down movement to open and close the flexible diaphragm.


Application Requirements: 

Consider the required torque or thrust to operate the valve effectively. Actuating Devices should provide sufficient force to overcome the resistance in the system, including pressure differentials, friction, and other factors.

Think about the speed of operation. Some applications may require quick response times, while others may allow for slower actuation.

Determine whether the valve needs to be modulating (partially open/closed) or simply on/off. Modulating valves often require acting devices with precise control capabilities.

Environmental Conditions:

Evaluate the environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, and potentially hazardous atmospheres. Choose actuators that are suitable for the operating conditions.

In outdoor or harsh environments, you may need actuators with weatherproof or explosion-proof enclosures.

Power Source:

Decide whether to use pneumatic, electric, hydraulic, or manual actuators based on the available power source and infrastructure. Electric actuators are often preferred for precise control and ease of automation, while pneumatic actuators are suitable for quick actuation.

Control System:

Consider the control system in place. Ensure that the actuator can be integrated into your existing control system, whether it's a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), DCS (Distributed Control System), or a standalone controller.

Maintenance and Reliability:

Choose actuators from reputable manufacturers known for their reliability and ease of maintenance. Access to spare parts and support is crucial for long-term operation.

In summary, selecting the right actuator for a valve involves a thorough assessment of valve type, application requirements, environmental conditions, power source, control system, and reliability factors. It's essential to consider all these aspects to ensure efficient and safe valve operation in your specific application.

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