Aircraft Actuators | An Important Tool in Aerospace Engineering

Actuators are among the most important components in an aircraft. They perform a wide variety of tasks to ensure the aircraft functions properly. While aircraft actuators may not be as exciting as engine turbines and autopilot systems, they play a critical role in how those larger assemblies work.

NMG Aerospace has been a leading manufacturer of airplane actuators for more than 20 years. We offer a multi-generational selection of motor actuators and linear actuators, having consistently improved upon our innovative design over time. And, with our acquisition of Electromotive Inc., NMG has also become a leading solenoid valve manufacturer.

But what exactly are actuators and solenoids, and why are they so important for aerospace design and engineering?

A deicing valve aircraft actuator

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What Is an Actuator?

Simply put, an actuator is a type of device that receives power and converts the control signal into motion. Aircraft actuators can control many different systems including engine startup, wing flaps, landing gear, and much more. However, actuators are not exclusive to airplanes. In fact, they are present in nearly every industry that involves simple or complex machinery.

To operate, an aircraft actuator needs to receive a control signal and have a source of some form of energy. The most common forms of energy used in actuators including electricity, hydraulics (fluids), pneumatics (air), and sometimes even direct human input.

Once the actuator receives the signal, it uses the available energy to create mechanical motion. More often than not, these systems act as a type of automation.

While there are several types of actuators, NMG specializes in linear actuators, electromechanical actuators, and solenoid valve actuators.

Linear Actuators

Linear actuator for aircraft landing gearLinear actuators are largely the most common type of actuator, and they are essentially what they sound like. These actuators turn the control signal and energy into a linear motion. For aircraft, linear actuators are an important part of engaging and retracting landing gear as well as activating airplane flaps for controlling the plane mid-flight.

NMG has been manufacturing linear actuators since 2010, and we are now a leading supplier of linear actuation systems and components. We offer design, assembly, and testing capabilities for hydraulic linear actuators with fluids such as Red oil and Skydrol. Our testing can also support pressures up to 10,000 psi, so we can create actuators for a wide variety of applications.

Electromechanical Actuators

Electromechanical actuators are a unique type of actuator that gives the simple mechanical actuator a major upgrade. Rather than using a control knob, electromechanical actuators utilize an electric motor. This motor creates rotary motion, which is then turned into linear displacement.

The central advantage of electromechanical actuators is performance. Here at NMG, we design actuators that are extremely lightweight while offering exceptional torque and mechanical efficiency.

Solenoid Valve Actuators

Solenoid valve actuatorSolenoid valves often work in tandem with electromechanical actuators, but what is a solenoid valve?

Solenoid valves are valves operated by electromechanical systems. They are used wherever the aircraft needs automated fluid flow and pressure. The device contains an electromechanical solenoid that actuates a valve that is either hydraulic or pneumatic.

These devices are most commonly used for starting aircraft engines and keeping them running as well as deicing and evacuation systems. Having acquired Electromotive Inc. in 2016, NMG has become a leader in the design and manufacturing of solenoid valve actuators.

Why Choose NMG Over Other Aerospace Companies?

Aircraft actuators and solenoid valves are complex systems that require the expertise of proven aerospace engineers. NMG Aerospace is one of America’s leading aerospace companies, offering precision machining, quick lead times, and competitive pricing for actuators and several other aerospace components.

We work directly with many high-profile aviation and defense agencies both domestically and internationally. Our clients depend on our 50+ years of experience to develop high-quality parts that meet the strict requirements of the aerospace industry.

If you have been looking for an airplane actuator or solenoid valve manufacturer, contact NMG today, and our staff will be happy to answer your questions and help you get started on your project.