ipc valves

Why actuators fail?

An actuator on a valve is like a “robotic muscle” that takes input signals and converts them into mechanical motion or action, similar to how our muscles respond to signals from their brain to perform physical tasks. Such complex mechanical devices can fail for various reasons. Here are the top 7 reasons why actuator fails. Further we delve into some specific reasons why pneumatic and electrical actuators could fail.

Check out the top 7 reasons why actuator fails


  • Wear and Tear of Actuators:

    Actuators undergo mechanical stress during their operation, which can lead to wear and tear of components such as gears, bearings, seals and actuators may eventually fail due to fatigue or wear-out, especially if they are not properly lubricated or maintained.

  • Actuators Misalignment:

    Actuators may require precise alignment with other system components or mechanisms to function properly. Misalignment due to installation errors or mechanical shifts can cause excessive stress or strain on the actuator, leading to premature failure.

  • Overloading Causes Actuator Failures:

    Actuators may be subjected to excessive loads or forces beyond their design limits, which can cause structural damage or motor burnout. Overloading can occur due to operational errors, unexpected external forces or system malfunctions, resulting in actuator failures.

  • Electric Actuators Mechanical wear:

    Electric actuators may have mechanical components, such as gears, belts or couplings, that can experience wear and tear over time. Mechanical wear can result in reduced actuator performance, increased backlash or complete failure of the actuator. It can be caused by factors such as repeated motion cycles, friction or stress on the mechanical components.

  • Lack of Actuator Maintenance: 

    Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring the proper functioning of actuators. Neglecting routine maintenance tasks, such as lubrication, cleaning or calibration, can result in accumulative wear, decreased performance or eventual failure of the actuator.

  • Actuator Failure Environmental factors: 

    Electric actuators can be exposed to environmental factors such as moisture, dust, dirt or extreme temperatures, which can cause damage to electrical components, motors or mechanical parts. Corrosion, oxidation or contamination can occur in the electrical connections, motor windings or mechanical components, leading to actuator failure.

  • Actuator loading:

     Actuators have specific design limits for their maximum load capacity. If the actuator is subjected to excessive loads beyond its rated capacity, it can cause mechanical stress, deformation or structural failure. Overloading can result from improper sizing, incorrect installation or unforeseen changes in the operating conditions and can lead to actuator failure.

It’s important to note that the reasons for actuator failures can vary depending on the type of actuator, its application, what type of valve it is mounted upon and operating conditions.

Regular inspection, proper maintenance and adherence to manufacturer’s guidelines can help mitigate these issues and extend the lifespan of actuators. Additionally, consulting with qualified technicians or professionals for actuator repairs or replacements is recommended to ensure proper troubleshooting and resolution of issues.