Actuators (Outputs)


     An actuator is a piece of equipment that produces movement when given a signal. Actuators are used in the computer control of an environment, industrial automation and in robotics or , more generally, actuators are the machines used for output in control applications. For example take the situation in a computer controlled greenhouse...   
automatic pc temperature controlled greenhouse   When the temperature in the greenhouse is too high, the control program makes a decision to open a ventilator, reduce the heating or turn on a fan. A signal is sent to an actuator or motor to open the ventilator.  A valve in the greenhouse may be closed to restrict the flow of hot water through radiators and pipes and another motor or actuator will lower blinds to reduce the amount of direct sunlight.   Environmental control is not a major problem in small greenhouse but large commercial glasshouses covering several acres, could not be monitored and controlled manually. These glasshouses are very likely to be computer controlled.
    Put simply, actuators drive motions in mechanical systems. Most often this is by converting electrical energy into some form of mechanical motion. Follow the menu links on the left for a description of the principles of the most common types of actuators.


. Solenoids    Valves   DC Motors  Stepper Motors   Servo Control.


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