Showing posts with label rack and pinion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rack and pinion. Show all posts

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Types of Pneumatic Valve Actuators

Scotch-yoke actuators
Scotch-yoke actuators (Morin)
Pneumatic valve actuators all provide the same function:  They convert air pressure to rotational

movement and are designed to open, close, or position a quarter-turn valve.  These include ball valves, plug valves, butterfly valves, or other types of 90 degree rotational valves.

The basic design variations of pneumatic valve actuators are as follows:

  • Rack and pinion
  • Scotch-yoke
  • Rotary vane

Let's review each of these in detail:

Rack and Pinion Actuators

Rack and pinion actuator
Rack and pinion actuator (Unitorq)
These actuators are sometimes referred to as, “lunch box,” because they, well, look like a lunch box. This actuator uses opposing pistons with integral gears to engage a pinion gear shaft to produce rotation. They are usually more compressed than a scotch yoke, have standardized mounting patterns, and produce output torques suitable for small-to-medium sized valves.  Rack and pinion nearly always include standard bolting and coupling patterns to directly attach a valve, solenoid, limit switch or positioner.  One of their features include several smaller coil springs mounted internally, which provide the torque to return the valve to its starting position.

Scotch-yoke Actuators 

Scotch-yoke actuators
Scotch-yoke actuators internal view.
These actuators come in a multitude of sizes, but are usually used on larger valves because they can produce a very high torque output.  They employ a pneumatic piston mechanism to transfer movement to a linear push rod.  That rod, in turn, engages a pivoting lever arm to provide rotation. Spring return units have a large return spring module mounted on the opposite end of the piston mechanism working directly against the pressurized cylinder.

Rotary Vane Actuators 

Rotary vane actuators
Rotary vane actuator animation.
These actuators are usually used when the application requires a significant space savings.  They take up less space when comparing size-to-torque with rack and pinion and scotch yoke. Rotary van actuators also benefit from a reputation of longevity.  They contain fewer moving parts than other types of pneumatic valve actuators.  Rotary vane actuators use externally mounted, helically wound "clock springs" for their spring return mechanism.

These style of valve actuators can all be secured with direct acting or spring return versions. Direct acting actuators use the air supply to move the actuator in both directs (open and close). Spring return actuators, as the name describes, uses springs to move the actuator back to its "resting" state. Converting a version from direct acting to spring return is done through simple modifications, typically just adding an external spring module, or removing the end caps from rack and pinion actuators and installing several coil springs.

When considering the choice of pneumatic valve actuators, your decision comes down to size, power, torque curve and the ease of adding peripherals. To ensure that your valve actuation package will be optimized for safety, longevity, and performance, the advice of a qualified valve automation expert should be sought out. That expert will be able to help you with the best selection of the appropriate valve actuator for any quarter turn valve application.

For more information on valve actuation, contact Piping Specialties, Inc.
https://psi-team.com
800-223-1468

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Understanding Rack & Pinion Pneumatic Valve Actuators

Internal view of rack and pinion actuator.
Internal view of rack and pinion actuator (UniTorq)
Rack & Pinion actuators are designed for operating quarter-turn valves such as butterfly, plug, and ball valves or for actuating industrial or commercial dampers.

The rotational movement of a rack and pinion actuator is accomplished via linear motion and two gears. A circular gear, referred to a “pinion” engages the teeth of a linear gear “bar” referred to as the “rack”.

In a pneumatic actuator, pistons are attached to the rack. As air or spring power is applied the to piston, the rack is “pushed” inward or “pulled” outward. This dual direction linear movement is transferred to the rotary pinion gear providing bi-directional rotation.

Rack and Pinion Animation
Rack and Pinion Animation
Pneumatic actuators have cylinders with pistons and springs that provide the linear movement. When one side of the piston is pressurized with air, gas or oil, the pinion bearing turns in one direction. When the air, gas or oil from the pressure side is vented, a spring (spring-return actuators) may be used to rotate the pinion gear in the opposite direction. A “double acting” actuator does not use springs, instead using the air, gas or oil supply on the opposing side of the piston to turn the pinion gear in the opposite direction.

Pneumatic pneumatic rack and pinion actuators are compact and save space. They are reliable, durable and provide a good life cycle. Mechanical wear of the heads and seals are their primary disadvantage.

Most actuators are designed for 100-degree travel with clockwise and counterclockwise travel adjustment for open and closed positions. World standard ISO mounting pad are commonly available to provide ease and flexibility in direct valve installation.
Rack and Pinion Actuator
Rack and Pinion Actuator (UniTorq)
NAMUR mounting dimensions on actuator pneumatic port connections and on actuator accessory holes and drive shaft are also common design features to make adding pilot valves and accessories more convenient.

Feel free to contact Piping Specialties, Inc. at www.psi-team.com or 800-223-1468 with any questions you may have about valve actuation.