What is the difference between a rotary and a linear actuator?

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An example of a rotary actuator is an electric motor, which is an actuator that converts an electrical signal into a rotating motion of its shaft. Linear actuators, on the other hand, produce a non-rotary motion, such as a sliding motion, or piston motion in response to an input signal. The distinction between a linear actuator vs rotary actuator is somewhat abstract.



Actuators can be classified into two types based on their motion. Two primary actuator types are rotary, and linear. An example of a rotary actuator is an electric motor, which is an actuator that converts an electrical signal into a rotating motion of its shaft. Linear actuators, on the other hand, produce a non-rotary motion, such as a sliding motion, or piston motion in response to an input signal. The distinction between a linear actuator vs rotary actuator is somewhat abstract. However, as a linear actuator can be built using a normal rotary motor as its basis, and vice verse. In each case, the initial motion produced is mechanically converted to the other motion-type. Linear actuators can be electrically operated or pneumatic. The pneumatic diaphragm actuator is more popular and used to actuate linear valves such as globe, three-way (diverting or mixing) and angle valves. Pneumatic linear actuators have the simplest construction and provide very precise control of flow. There are several factors that need yo be considered while choosing a linear actuator vs rotary actuator. To know more on how to Select the right Actuator for your valve? read one on my latest posts Click Here To better understand the difference between linear and rotary actuator i have illustrated below a chart of load factors across different types of actuators.
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Rotary actuators, with shafts performing up to 90-degree rotary motion, are mounted on rotary valves such as ball, butterfly, rotary plug and segmented ball valves. These actuators are derived from linear actuators, and use a gearbox or lever system to convert the linear motion into a rotary motion. The actuator construction, where compressed air acts on a rotary vane instead of a piston, has not established itself on the market. The most popular pneumatic rotary actuator is the reciprocating piston cylinder assembly.
In contrast to the pneumatic version of rotary actuators, the rotary motion of electric actuators is inherent. A complex linear unit is needed to transform the rotary motion into a linear stroke.

To Learn more on the different types of actuators we reccommend you read the following books. Click on the links below to BUY ON AMAZON

"Valve Handbook 3rd Edition" by Philip L Skousen
 "The Valve Primer" by Brent Stojkov

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Valve Solutions: What is the difference between a rotary and a linear actuator?
What is the difference between a rotary and a linear actuator?
An example of a rotary actuator is an electric motor, which is an actuator that converts an electrical signal into a rotating motion of its shaft. Linear actuators, on the other hand, produce a non-rotary motion, such as a sliding motion, or piston motion in response to an input signal. The distinction between a linear actuator vs rotary actuator is somewhat abstract.
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