How to choose the right portable actuator
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How to choose the right portable actuator

Portable actuators are designed to speed up the operation of large valves which have become stiff to operate over extended periods. Without use or maintenance, the moving parts within the valves deteriorate, lubrication dries up and corrosion sets in.

As well as improving productivity, using portable actuators also reduces the risk of strain injury to operators as valves are no longer manually operated. Valve actuators are available to meet most valve automation requirements.

To determine the most effective actuator type, our steps below will help assist through the process.

Step 1 – Access your environment

Whilst carrying out a simple assessment of the working environment, consider factors such as valve location, speed of operation, torque at the valve stem and power source availability.

Step 2 – Choose your motor

Our portable actuators are available in 3 different powered motors; battery, petrol and air (pneumatic). Each motor has distinct purposes.

  • Pneumatic motors may be used and in a wide temperature range and in hazardous areas
  • Battery motors are particularly recommended for use when no electrical power is available e.g. emergency operations.
  • Petrol motors are ideal for use in remote environments.

Step 3 – Choose your gearbox 

Choosing the right gear box will depend on the operational needs and function of the valve. Our 3 different gear boxes available; easy duty, standard duty and heavy duty fit with any motor type.

  • To achieve a fast speed and low torque, the easy duty gearbox should be used
  • For medium speed and medium torque, the standard duty gearbox is most appropriate
  • If a slow speed and high torque is needed, the heavy duty gearbox allows to turn with a strong slower rotation

Step 4 – Choose your head 

There are 3 different types of actuator heads, straight, right-angle and banjo. All of these heads are compatible with any motor, however the positioning of the valve will determine which actuator head can be chosen.

  • For valves that are sideways on, a straight head should be used
  • For valves that are in tight spots, a right angle head is appropriate
  • For rising stem valves, a banjo head should be used

Step 5 – Choose your adapter 

The valve handwheel is an indicator for what adapter should be used. There are 3 different types; fixed finger, spoke and fixed universal.

  • Fixed finger adapters clamp onto flat or slightly tapered handwheels
  • Spoke adapters clamp solidly and quickly to handwheels and can turn in both directions
  • Fixed universal adapters can fix on to almost every type of handwheel

For further information on our valve actuator products contact us on 01376 325506 or email