What is a Rotary Actuator and how are they used

Rotary actuators are mechanical devices that create rotary motion to produce torque usually in either direction. They can be found in a wide range of applications, from industrial automation to robotics and home automation. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of rotary actuators and their uses, along with their control with a focus on the rotary actuators available from FIRGELLI


I. What is a rotary actuator?

A rotary actuator is a device that converts energy (typically electrical or pneumatic) into torque via rotary motion. They are commonly used in industrial and manufacturing settings to control valves, doors, and other mechanical systems that require precise, linear movement. Some examples of rotary actuators include electric motors with gear reducers, pneumatic cylinders, and hydraulic motors.

The most common type of rotary actuator is the electric motor-driven actuator, which uses an electric motor to rotate a shaft that is connected to a mechanical linkage. This linkage converts the rotary motion of the shaft into linear motion, which can be used to move a load or perform a specific task. Electric motor-driven actuators are available in a wide range of sizes and styles, from small, compact units to large, heavy-duty models.

Another type of rotary actuator is the pneumatic actuator, which uses compressed air to rotate a shaft. Pneumatic actuators are commonly used in industrial applications, such as controlling valves in manufacturing plants or opening and closing flaps on aircraft. They are also used in robotics, as they are able to provide a high level of force with a low level of energy consumption.

Hydraulic actuators are similar to pneumatic actuators, but instead of using compressed air, they use a fluid, typically oil, to generate motion. They are typically found in heavy industrial equipment and machinery where high force and power are required. They are particularly useful in applications where high force is needed and electricity is not readily available.

One of the most popular types of rotary actuator is the micro linear actuator. They are small and compact, typically used in robotics and home automation. They are used to open and close flaps, move objects, or perform other simple tasks. They are available in a wide range of sizes, and can be powered by electricity, batteries or even solar power. They are available in different stroke lengths, and can be controlled by switches, power supplies, remote controls, and even smartphones.

II. Various Types of Rotary Actuators and their Applications

A. Manual Rotary Actuators

Manual rotary actuators are commonly used to control valves, such as ball valves and quarter-turn butterflies. These actuators use a worm drive to increase the torque that can be applied by a manual operator. This allows the valve to be closed and held securely in place. These actuators typically have large hand wheels to make it easier for operators to apply the necessary force. They are also sometimes referred to as manual overrides or gear operators in the valve industry.

Figure 1: Manual Rotary Actuator

Manual Rotary Actuator

B. Electric Rotary Actuators

Electric rotary actuators use electric power from a motor to rotate components. They are used to control and move components to specific positions. The rotating element in these actuators can be a circular shaft or a table. The circular shafts often have keyways, while tables have bolt patterns for mounting additional components. The specifications of an electric rotary actuator include the voltage supply, maximum torque, repeatability, load capacity, operating temperature, rotation angle and linear stroke. Electric rotary actuators are used in various industries such as high-power switching gears, electric power, automotive, and packaging applications.

Figure 2: Electric tope Actuator

electric Rotary Actuator

C. Fluid-Powered Rotary Actuators

Fluid-powered rotary actuators, also known as pneumatic or hydraulic rotary actuators, use fluid power to rotate components. These actuators use either cylinders or rotors to convert the fluid power into rotational motion. They are typically powered by either hydraulic oil or compressed air. They are used to rotate components between 90 to 360 degrees depending on the specific requirements of the component or valve.

Figure 3: Fluid Powered Rotary

Fluid Powered Rotary

D. Rack & Pinion Rotary Actuators

Rack and pinion actuators are mechanical devices that are used to control dampers or valves in industrial applications. They use a system of gears to convert linear motion into rotational motion. The rack is a linear gear bar that has teeth, and it meshes with a round gear called the pinion. When a linear force is applied to the rack, it causes the pinion to rotate. This motion is then used to control the position of the valve or damper.

Figure 4: Rack and Pinion Type Actuator

Rack and Pinion Type Actuator

E. Scotch Yoke Rotary Actuators

This specific type of actuator has a yoke attached at one end with a groove for a block that merely slides back and forth and a sliding bar attached to a valve at the other end. The sliding block is simply attached to a piston, so as the piston moves, the block drives, which rotates the yoke and ultimately causes the bar to move to open the valve.

This actuator is used in the mining industry to separate nozzles inside rock washing lines, in the oil and gas industry to separate flow within pipelines, and in the water and wastewater industry to separate feed lines, tanks, and filters.

Figure 5: Scotch-Yoke Rotary Actuator

Scotch-Yoke Rotary Actuator

F. Helical Actuators

A set of helical gears and a cylinder are used by the helical rotary actuator to transform a linear input into an oscillating, rotating output. Three revolving pins and three helical grooves are cut into the outermost tube of the actuator's cylinder. To prevent it from passing too far into grooves inside the central cylinder, this tube likewise has three keys on its minor half. Air pressure presses down on the outermost cylinder once the cylinder is moving, opening the valve and compressing a spring on the exterior of the outermost tube. The spring forces the valve to close once the air pressure is removed.

Figure 6: Helical Actuator

Helical Actuator

G. Electrohydraulic Actuators

While electro-hydraulic actuators employ pressurized hydraulic fluid to operate a valve, electricity is their only available energy source. The supplied electrical energy is used to power an electric motor that operates a hydraulic pump, which then feeds pressurized fluid to operate a hydraulic actuator that operates the valve. Because the entire system is self-contained, there is no need for a separate hydraulic power unit, which simplifies system construction and increases dependability and safety.

Depending on the needs of the application, this actuator uses rotary or linear valves. When high operating speeds or fail-safe systems are required to operate valves that need significant thrusts or torques, these actuators are ideal.

Figure 7: Electrohydraulic Actuators

Electrohydraulic Actuators

H. Vane Rotary Actuators

Simply put, the pneumatic and hydraulic vane type actuators use a minimum of one or two vanes that are attached to a hub in a circular chamber or wedge-shaped area, anywhere the vane can turn from 90 to 280 degrees. These actuators use oil or air pressure to create motion at the output stem, which causes the hub to simply rotate between stops. While a single-vane actuator can rotate much more freely than a double-vane actuator within a fully circular chamber, the double-vane actuator has two opposed vanes that produce higher torque. When this actuator is pressurized, the vane begins to rotate and keeps going until the stroke is completed. When air pressure is applied to one end of the vane, the shaft may begin to rotate anticlockwise. Due to their large solid size, these actuators are typically employed to transfer, clamp, or position light weights in medium-speed applications.

Figure 8: Vane Type

Vane Type rotary actuator

III. Our Products

Firgelli Automations offers a wide range of rotary actuators for different applications, from micro linear actuators to heavy-duty high torque industrial actuators. They can be used in robotics, home automation, opening and closing flaps, and other industrial applications. Our actuators are available in a wide range of sizes and styles, and can be powered by electricity, batteries, or solar power. They can be controlled by switches, power supplies, remote controls, and even smartphones. If you're looking for a rotary actuator for your next project, be sure to check out the Firgelli Automations product page at https://www.firgelliauto.com/collections/rotary-actuators.

At Firgelli Automations, we offer a wide range of rotary actuators that can be used in a variety of applications, including robotics, home automation, and industrial automation. Our rotary actuators are high-quality, durable, and easy to use, making them the perfect choice for any application.


IV. Controls of Rotary Actuators

In terms of controlling rotary actuators, there are several options available depending on the specific application and the type of actuator being used. The most common method is to use a switch or power supply to control the electric motor. For pneumatic and hydraulic actuators, a valve or other control device is used to regulate the flow of air or fluid. Remote controls can also be used to control rotary actuators, allowing for remote operation of the device.

When it comes to controlling rotary actuators, there are several options available. The most common methods include:

  1. Switches: These are manual controls that allow you to turn the actuator on and off. They are often used in simple applications, such as opening and closing a window or door.

Figure 11: Rocker Switch for Linear Actuators

rotary actuator switch

  1. Power supplies: These provide the actuator with the electrical energy it needs to function. They are often used in applications that require a lot of power, such as industrial machines.

Figure 12: DC Power Supply 12v

rotary actuator DC Power Supply 12v

  1. Remote controls: These allow you to control the actuator from a distance, using a wireless signal. They are often used in home automation systems, such as controlling window blinds or curtains.

Figure 13: 2 Channel Remote Control System

rotary actuator Remote Control System

  1. Relays, timers, and controllers: These devices allow you to control the actuator in more advanced ways, such as setting a specific position or timing the movement. They are often used in precision motion control applications, such as in medical equipment and laboratory instruments.

Figure 14: 12-volt-double-pull-double-throw-relay.

rotary actuator 12-volt-double-pull-double-throw-relay.

V. Conclusion

At Firgelli Auto, we offer a wide range of actuator switches, remotes, relays, timers, and controllers to help you control your actuator. Our selection includes manual switches, wireless remote controls, and advanced controllers for precise motion control.

In addition to our rotary actuators, we also offer a wide range of controlling devices, including switches, power supplies, remote controls, and more. These devices can be used to control and operate our rotary actuators, making them even more versatile and easy to use.

Overall, rotary actuators are an essential component in a wide range of applications, including robotics, home automation, and industrial automation. With the different types of RA's that Firgelli Automations offers, it is easy to find the perfect actuator for your application, and our controlling devices provide an easy way to operate them. With our high-quality, durable, and easy-to-use products, you can be sure that your application will run smoothly and efficiently.

To learn more about our rotary actuators and controlling devices, please visit our website at https://www.firgelliauto.com/collections/rotary-actuators and https://www.firgelliauto.com/collections/actuator-switches-remotes-relays-timers-controllers-power-supplies.

Here you can find detailed information about each product, including specifications, features, and applications. If you have any questions or need help choosing the right product for your application, please don't hesitate to contact us.



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