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Pneumatic Actuators

See Also

Actuators are mechanisms that supply and transmit a controlled amount of energy for the operation of another mechanism or system. In other words, they convert energy - from a burst of air, electricity or a liquid - into motion. The action created may be to block, clamp, or eject and is used in mechanical applications such as motors, pumps, switches, and valves. Pneumatic actuators use the displacement of compressed air or gas to initiate the conversion into energy. Other types of actuators include electromechanical, linear, rotary, and solenoid.

Furnace Pneumatic Actuators

Furnace blower and the damper mechanisms operate using actuators as part of the ignition system. Pneumatic actuators use a burst of air to open and close the vents as needed. When the thermostat calls for heat, the pneumatic actuator is energized and drives the damper to its fully-opened position. Once this condition has been achieved, the actuator de-energizes, the pilot ignition system energizes, and the main burners ignite. After reaching the appropriate temperatures, the operation is restarted to close the damper, after which the actuator remains idle until the next heating cycle.

How to Buy a Replacement Pneumatic Actuator

Replacement pneumatic actuators can be purchased through heating and cooling supply stores or contractors. Specifications needed to ensure the appropriate size include: maximum air pressure in PSI (pound per square inch), the nominal spring range in PSI, the stroke in inches, exerted force in PSI, the operating pressure range in PSI, and the size of the dampers the actuator will be opening and closing. Pneumatic actuators prices vary greatly depending, in part, on capacity: the range is from approximately $40 to $300.

Who Makes Pneumatic Actuators?

  • Barber-Coleman
  • Belimo
  • Honeywell
  • Ingersoll-Rand/Aro
  • KMC Controls
  • Siemens
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