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Wed 12 Jun 2024

What Is a Double Acting Actuator?

Actuators are a critical component in modern industrial settings. They automate the control of various systems, particularly valves, and are essential for managing the flow of materials—liquids, gases, and even granular solids—across many industrial sectors. But what is a double acting actuator? What makes it different from its single action counterparts? Double acting actuators are distinguished by their ability to apply force in two directions, enhancing operations’ efficiency and reliability. This capability is not just a technical detail, it directly impacts your system’s operational efficacy and safety.

Double acting actuators are essential for applications requiring precise control over extensive operational cycles, making these rough and tough components a popular choice in the oil and gas sector. Their reliability comes from using fewer parts. Their action does not rely on delicate springs that require maintenance and regular replacement – double acting actuators can work consistently and reliably for long periods in challenging environmental conditions.

Getting To Know Actuators

At their core, all actuators are mechanisms that convert energy into motion. Various energy sources can power them, though the most common are electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic sources. Actuators are integral to many automated industrial processes, allowing minimal human intervention when controlling large-scale industrial systems.

Double acting actuators, in particular, can use power to move in both directions, to extend and retract. This dual action is facilitated by air or fluid pressure alternately applied to opposite sides of a piston within the actuator cylinder. This feature allows more precise control of the actuator’s movement, making double acting actuators ideal for more complex or heavy-duty industrial applications.

What is a Double Acting Actuator?

A double acting actuator is a sophisticated device designed to operate valves by applying force in both opening and closing movements. Unlike their single acting counterparts, which use a spring to return to the original position, double acting actuators use power to move in both directions. This design enhances the control and responsiveness of the actuator, allowing for rapid, efficient operations.

The mechanics of double acting actuators involve two air supply ports that control the movement. Air pressure introduced into one side of the piston causes it to move and rotate the valve to one position, while applying air to the opposite side moves it back, allowing for complete control over the valve’s position. This functionality is crucial for processes where precision and reliability are paramount.

The Many Advantages of Double Acting Actuators

Double acting actuators offer several advantages over single acting models, primarily due to their ability to control the movement of the actuator in both directions. This dual control allows for quicker response times and more precise positioning, critical in many industrial processes where timing and accuracy are critical.

These actuators are also much more reliable in environments that require robust performance. Double acting actuators minimise potential failure points as they do not rely on springs or other mechanical return mechanisms to function. Your operations benefit from reduced downtime for repairs and maintenance, improving productivity and cost efficiency.

When To Use Double Acting Actuators

Double acting actuators are widely used in industries requiring precise and reliable valve control, such as water treatment facilities, oil refineries, and chemical processing plants. Their ability to operate valves with force in both directions makes them particularly useful in systems where reversal of the flow is necessary without losing operational momentum. Systems gain enhanced flexibility and efficiency with double acting actuators, able to adapt seamlessly to changes in process requirements.

In emergency shutdown systems or critical flow control operations, the reliability of double acting actuators means that operations can be halted or adjusted swiftly and safely. This is particularly valuable in industries where safety and operational integrity are top priorities. The adaptability of double acting actuators to different environmental conditions also makes them suitable for outdoor applications where extreme temperatures or variable pressures are expected – perfect for the oil and gas industry.

Integration and Maintenance

Integrating double acting actuators into your existing systems requires some careful consideration of compatibility with your existing valves and piping. Always consult with technical experts like BM Engineering to get the right components for the right job and ensure a successful installation. Professional integration support prevents expensive errors, enhances system efficiency, and helps to ensure safety.

Maintenance of double acting actuators is straightforward. Regular checks and balances are essential to monitor air supply quality and pressure. The mechanical parts must be regularly lubricated and kept free from debris. This regular maintenance prolongs the life of the actuators and ensures they operate at peak efficiency. Scheduled inspections and prompt repairs save you significant time and money over the life of your actuators.

Double acting actuators are a robust solution for enhancing the control and efficiency of industrial valves. Their design allows for reliable operation in both directions, providing precise control over flow and pressure within systems. Any facility can benefit from their integration, giving industries smoother, more reliable operations.

Contact BM Engineering

Now that you know what a double acting actuator is, be sure to get in touch and speak with one of BM Engineering’s knowledgeable team members to see if we can provide a double acting actuator suitable for your requirements, or learn about our huge range of valves and accessories.

Contact us today by filling out our contact form, or alternatively, call our customer service team at 0141 762 0657 or email us at sales@bmengineering.co.uk.

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