Spring Return vs Battery Backup Actuators: Which is Right for Your Valve Automation System?

by Susanna SargsianLast updated Jul 28, 2023Category: Electric Actuator Basics, Industry Solutions

When it comes to valve actuators, the choice between spring return actuators and battery backup actuators plays a crucial role in ensuring operational reliability and safety in your valve automation system. Each type offers distinct features and advantages that cater to different industrial applications. In this article, we delve into the differences between mechanical spring return actuators and battery backup actuators, helping you make an informed decision for your specific needs.

Mechanical Spring Return Actuators: (See our iVS model of electric actuators)

Spring return actuators are designed with a built-in spring mechanism that provides fail-safe functionality. In the event of a power outage or system failure, the spring is activated, allowing the actuator to return to a predetermined position.

Here are a few features of a spring return actuator:

  1. Safety and Reliability:
    Mechanical spring return actuators are known for their high level of safety and reliability. The spring ensures that the valve returns to a safe position, preventing any unintended flow or potential hazards in case of power loss.
  2. Energy Independence:
    Since mechanical spring return actuators rely on stored energy in the spring, they do not require an external power source during normal operation. This feature makes them suitable for critical applications where power availability may be unreliable.
  3. Limited Control:
    Mechanical spring return actuators offer limited control options as the actuator's movement is primarily determined by the spring force. The actuator can be set to a specific fail-safe position, but precise control over intermediate positions may be limited.
  4. Expensive:
    Since these actuators use stored mechanical energy from the springs, they are usually built with a lot of material and assembly takes more time. As a result, the price of these units are quite large when compared to battery backup actuators.

Battery backup actuators utilize a rechargeable battery as an alternate power source, providing continuous operation even during power outages or system failures. Here are some key features and considerations for battery backup/capacity return actuators:

  1. Seamless Power Continuity:
    With a battery backup/capacity return actuator, power interruptions do not disrupt the valve's operation. The actuator continues to function using the stored energy from the battery, ensuring uninterrupted control and process stability.
  2. Extended Control Options:
    Battery backup/capacity return actuators often offer a wider range of control options compared to mechanical spring return actuators. They can be integrated with control systems and provide precise positioning control for enhanced process automation.
  3. Maintenance and Battery Life:
    Battery backup/capacity return actuators require periodic maintenance to monitor and replace batteries as needed. The battery life and capacity play a crucial role in determining the actuator's runtime during power outages.

Choosing the Right Option for Your Application:

Choosing the Right Option for Your Application: When selecting between mechanical spring return and battery backup actuators, several factors should be considered, including the criticality of the application, power availability, control requirements, and maintenance considerations. Consulting with experts and understanding the specific needs of your industrial processes can help you make an informed decision that ensures optimal performance, safety, and reliability.

The choice between mechanical spring return and battery backup actuators is vital for valve automation systems. iVact offers a range of actuator solutions tailored to meet your unique needs. Explore our website today to learn more about our offerings and how they can benefit your valve automation systems.

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Innovative Actuation Incorporated (IAI) manufactures actuators for all industries. IAI provides actuators for both the commercial and industrial sectors.

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