What is the Difference between Pneumatic and Electric Valves?

If you are out in the market looking for industrial valves, you might have come across both pneumatic and electric actuated valves. If you want to know about their specific functions and how they are different from each other, we have compiled a list of things that will help you understand. 

Before starting, it is important to know that neither one of them is better than the other. It entirely depends on the purpose you have in mind and the range of functionality that you can derive out of it. Now let us see how electric and pneumatic valves are different:

Compatibility with the Power Source

There are a number of factors that are related to the power source of the actuator. Both pneumatic and electric actuators require certain levels of efficiency from the power source to function optimally. These factors include:

  • Power source availability at the factory 
  • Level of control and torque
  • The size of the valve will determine how much power it will consume
  • Having a failure mode in case of system failure
  • Speed and frequency of operation
  • The environment of the plant, i.e., whether it is indoors or outdoors

The compatibility will also determine whether it will be suitable for different floating dock ideas or not. 

The Temperature Factors of the Environment

If you are working in a factory, you want the machinery to keep functioning optimally no matter the temperature conditions it is in. Extreme temperatures can include both hot and cold ranges. Depending on the material of construction, the temperature range will vary based on the manufacturing process. Both electric and pneumatic actuators are well equipped to handle extreme temperatures

Both the activators can handle freezing temperatures as well as extremely hot environments. If you want some modifications to be made in the temperature range, the pneumatic valve manufacturer will help you to extend the toleration point. But even if the material can be customized to handle extreme temperatures, the switches, and other control accessories might not be able to handle them because they are made of plastic or some other material. 

Pneumatic actuated valves require regular maintenance for proper functioning. Electric valves require complete sealing so that the moisture from the working environment cannot penetrate the connections. Preventing short-circuiting is the biggest concern of getting an electric actuator. Protect your equipment with the help of shosky security

Hazardous Environment

In case a particular manufacturing environment is hazardous, then pneumatic actuators are preferred. While pneumatic actuated valves are the norm, many industries also prefer using electric actuators for better functionality. If an electric enclosure is being used instead of a pneumatic one, it needs to be put in an enclosure for the safety of the plant and the people. 

Pneumatic actuators are better when it comes to safety standards in hazardous environments because they will not explode. Pneumatic actuators also prove to be more cost-effective because you do not need to add different safety features along with them. Whenever electric actuators are used in hazardous areas, it has mostly to do with the limitations of a pneumatic valve. 

The Duty Cycle

When it comes to the duty cycle of the two valves, pneumatic actuators have a better response rate. The more you use them and the more they work, the better they will function down the line. In contrast, electric actuators will need to be used less frequently. Pneumatic actuators do not overheat, but electric actuators have a serious issue of overheating. 

If you want it to keep functioning well, then you will have to let it rest for a while before continuing the function. This might seem like a serious drawback, but since actuators are not required as frequently as one might think, you can pick either of the two. 

Time for Stalling

Based on the duty cycle, stalling is also one of the points determining how long an actuator can function. Since actuators are left idle for a long period of time, stalling can cause overheating. Pneumatic actuators can take as much work as you can put on them. But with electrical actuators, stalling will cause overheating and high power consumption, which is not cost-effective at all. 

Consider the Modulating Control

When it comes to modulating control, an electric actuator is a better choice than a pneumatic one. The functionality with electrical actuators is great when it comes to modulating control which is why you do not need pneumatic actuators. 

The Takeaway

There are many other ways in which pneumatic and electric actuators can be compared. The functionality and applicability make either of the two the practical choice depending on the purpose for which it is to be used. Both have their own pros and cons and should be chosen accordingly. 

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