Actuators for High-Temperature Situations

Actuator performance plays a vital role in overall process optimization. To prevent unnecessary outages, excessive wear and tear, and other problems, boiler control should be accomplished through actuators manufactured to perform well in that particular setting. Often that setting involves excessive temperatures where standard actuators not designed for high temperatures have the potential to fail. The dampers that regulate air flow in boiler operations require:

  • Consistent performance under varying conditions
  • The ability to make small adjustments
  • Continuous modulation
  • Low periodic maintenance requirements

Good boiler control requires an actuator that delivers both precision and reliability. The issue with many actuators on the market today is that they often provide one at the expense of the other.

Pneumatic and hydraulic actuators are generally not suitable for high-temperature situations. Pneumatic actuators tend to lack consistency and suffer from stick-slip response. Hydraulic actuators provide better control, but potential leaks may create a hazard near a boiler. Thus, electric actuators tend to be the standard for boiler control. However, not all electrical actuators have the right design for this application.

Continuous Modulating Control

The major shortcoming of standard actuators is that they are typically under duty-cycle limitations. While this works to prevent the motor from overheating, it also results in periodic losses of control. Boiler function without continuous control tends to result in more frequent outages and poor control.

Importance of Precision

Optimal process control for dampers and valves includes the ability to make minor adjustments remotely as situations change. Without it, cycling increases and there is a decrease in process consistency. For some boiler actuator manufacturers, the solution to avoiding an overheating engine is making the actuator with a large band, which leads to suboptimal valve placement. An actuator that offers continuous control has the capacity to respond to changing conditions. Some boilers are subject to extreme load swings and the actuator would require an instantaneous response capability to compensate for these changes, without overshooting the positioning.  Precise, instant control responses help improve boiler function.


Boiler actuators must function reliably under significant and varying loads, in changing and high-temperature environments. Effectiveness in this realm requires materials that perform well in harsh environments. High quality design and strict adherence to precision manufacturing practices are all important components. A continuous control actuator ends up experiencing less wear and tear due to the fact that it makes corrections instantly.

Benefits of Optimizing Boiler Control

When selecting actuators for high temperatures, plant managers naturally take into account cost effectiveness. However, this should not lead to choosing the lowest priced product, just meeting minimal standards. In the short term, a more efficient actuator cuts down on the amount of repairs and maintenance that will be needed. In the long run, it supports optimal boiler function, which yields lower maintenance costs in additional to many additional benefits.

Improved boiler efficiency cuts down on fuel costs and improves process performance. In addition, well-designed high-temperature actuators help reduce emissions, including NOx, excess oxygen and coal fire particles. Obtaining continuous control actuators can help improve compliance with relevant emissions standards.

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