Actuators are designed to convert energy into motion in order to trigger a controlled reaction in a mechanical operation. The device takes the energy created using air, electricity, or liquid and transforms it into an action such as opening or closing valves, pumps, motors, or switches. Various types of actuators are available including electromechanical, linear, pneumatic, rotary, and solenoid.
A linear actuator applies the controlled force in a linear manner (as opposed to rotationally like an electric motor) by converting rotational motion into linear motion. Advantages to this type of actuator include: simple design and few moving parts, high speeds are possible, it is a self-contained mechanism, and displays the identical behavior whether extending or retracting. Unfortunately, these can only be used in low force applications.
Furnace Linear Actuators
Home heating furnaces use linear actuators to open and close the blower and the damper allowing hot air to blow into the house and gases to be expelled to the outside. The linear actuator is energized when it receives a signal from the thermostat for more heat. It converts this energy into action and it opens the damper. The actuator is de-energized once the damper is open and remains idle until the correct temperature has been reached. Once the desired temperature has been reached, the operation is restarted to close the damper. The actuator again remains idle until the next heating cycle.
Common Types of Linear Actuator
- Moving coil
- Spring return
How to Buy a Replacement Linear Actuator
Actuators are often sold as part of a replacement starter rather than individually. For instance, Honeywell sells damper parts for rigid round ducts that are triggered by a built-in actuator. Linear actuator prices vary greatly and can cost up to $600.
Who Makes Linear Actuators?
- Parker Hannifin