Another device that is implemented within the IoT is an actuator. An actuator is a basic motor that can be used to move or control a mechanism or system, based on a specific set of instructions. Actuators can perform a physical function to 'make things happen'. One type of industrial actuator is an electric solenoid used to control hydraulics .
There are three types of actuators used in the IoT:
- hydraulic – uses fluid pressure to perform mechanical movement
- pneumatic – uses compressed air at high pressure to enable mechanical operation
- electrical – powered by a motor that converts electrical energy to mechanical operation.
Regardless of how the actuator causes the movement to be performed, the basic function of an actuator is to receive a signal, and based on that signal, perform a set action. Actuators are typically not able to process data. Rather, the result of the action performed by the actuator is based on a signal received. The action performed by the actuator is typically caused by a signal from the controller.