The Benefits Of A High Torque Rotary Actuator


In simple terms, a rotary actuator is a part of a machine that controls the movement of a designed mechanism in a rotary way or torque. High torque rotary actuators have the efficiency and capability of transforming hydraulic power/pressure, electric energy, or pneumatic energies into the mechanical rotation. This is the reason why they have gained a reputation as the pneumatic or hydraulic equivalent of electric motors.

There are various benefits of high torque rotary actuators in a set-up system or machine, but understanding how it works is what will bring us closer to discovering the benefits. Let’s take a look at these…

  1. Pneumatic Rotary Actuators

To start with, pneumatic actuators generate movement in oscillatory motion through compressed air. The two major configurations of pneumatic rotary actuators are rack and vane and pinion configurations.

  1. Rack and pinion configuration: this configuration of pneumatic rotary actuators can consist of single, double, or multiple racks. It actually uses a piston and rack it is made up of, which moves in a linear direction and causes a pinion gear and output shaft to rotate.
  2. Vane configuration: it is made up of a vane mounted on a central shaft encased in a cylindrical chamber. It is designed in a way that the vane keeps up its rotational motion until it gets to the end of the stroke, as a result of pressurization.

As earlier said, the benefits of high torque rotary actuators will unfold as we begin to understand how it works. Therefore, we can point out three to four main benefits of the pneumatic high torque rotary actuators.

  • It is suitable for use in hazardous environments
  • It is highly durable
  • It is easy to use
  • It has high efficiency
  1. Hydraulic Rotary Actuators

Usually, pneumatic actuators are used for processes that require less motive force, but when a large amount is required, the ideal actuator to be employed is the hydraulic.

Hydraulic actuators come in three main configurations, which are: piston type, vane type, and gear type. However, of these three, the piston type is the most common.

  1. Piston type configuration: in the piston type, rotational motion is generated through the displacement of hydraulic fluid. Its basic components are the piston itself, cylinder, hydraulic supply, and return line, spring, and stem.
  2. Vane type configuration: the hydraulic vane actuator is quite similar to the pneumatic rotary actuator in the system of operation. Just as it is in the pneumatic rotary actuator, the vane configuration type of the hydraulic actuator makes use of pressurized fluid to make the rotation of the vane possible, thereby leading to the rotational motion of the central shaft.

iii. Gear type configuration: of the three types of configuration of the hydraulic rotary actuator, the gear type happens to differ a bit. In this type of configuration, to allow the generation of rotary motion connected to the shaft, meshed gears are moved by pressurized fluids.

Hydraulic rotary actuators have the benefits that make them preferable. Some of their benefits are enjoyed in the fact that…

  • The inability to compress fluids makes hydraulic actuators capable of holding force and torque constant without the pump providing excess fluid or pressure.
  • They can generate high torque and little speed is needed.
  • It is highly efficient and suitable for applications requiring high flow, like wheel motors for military vehicles, cranes, and excavators,
  • In comparison with pneumatic actuators, hydraulic high torque rotary actuators can produce force over 20 times greater than a pneumatic cylinder of the same size.
  1. Electric Rotary Actuators

The last one to be discussed is the electric high torque rotary actuators. Majorly, they are used in mechatronic engineering, which deals with both electrical and mechanical systems. Examples are the Alternating Current (AC) motors, Direct Current (DC) motors, and stepper motors. Benefits include…

  • Modulation of valves. They are divided between the range of multiturn to quarter-turn.
  • It gradually increases the rotational movement of the output shaft.
  • When compared to the pneumatic and hydraulic rotary actuators, they have simpler structures. This is due to the fact that they require electricity as a source of power to function.

Although the three main types of high torque rotary actuators have their individual benefits, the greatest general benefit they may have, however, is that they can be used for various applications in different industries.  For more information, be sure to visit


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