Damper actuators JOVENTA / FRAKTA

Damper actuators JOVENTA / FRAKTA

Damper actuators are comparatively small components in ventilation and air conditioning systems. But they are still indispensable for automatic control. All electric damper actuators commonly used today were developed by the founders of the well-known Swiss company Belimo AG.  

Short historical excursion

Before Belimo came onto the market with its very first damper actuator, all such actuators had a massive outgoing shaft. The actuators had to be mounted on a bracket and their shaft connected to the damper axis. For this purpose a lever including ball joint was mounted on the motor shaft and on the flap axle and both levers were connected with a linkage. This linkage also had to be adjusted in such a way that the 90° or 180° rotation angle of the motor was proportionally integrated into the rotation of the flap. This was very time-consuming and a real bottleneck in the installation of ventilation systems. The new Belimo SM 15 actuator (plug-in motor) had a hollow shaft which was simply plugged onto the damper shaft and attached to the shaft with the integrated clamping device (clamping block). Now the drive only had to be held at the opposite end, so that it would not turn on, but rotate the axle itself. For this there is the so-called anti-twist device. 

Belimo damper actuator SM15 - open
The first Belimo SM15 damper actuator

In the photo above you can see that the ancestor of today's damper actuators does not have much in common with his modern descendants. Nevertheless, this invention is so ingenious that it not only saved ventilation system manufacturers a lot of assembly time from now on, but also made it possible to set up a very successful company. Belimo has never had the principle of the plug-in motor protected. After these actuators had proven themselves in practice and teething troubles had been eliminated, all manufacturers of comparable products began to adopt the principle. And it has remained that way to this day.


JOVENTA damper actuators

JOVENTA AG was founded in Switzerland in 1991 by former Belimo employees. They were not able to implement their ideas for the further development of the actuators at Belimo and without further ado set up their own company. The Belimo actuators were indeed very functional. But their angular design did not flatter the eye. In addition, each series had different dimensions and signalling elements such as auxiliary switches and feedback potentiometers had to be plugged on the outside. The permanently installed connecting cables can also be regarded as a disadvantage. This is because a junction box must be set for each drive during installation. 

Damper actuators Belimo SM vs. JOVENTA standard
Design comparison Belimo SM vs. JOVENTA Standard

The JOVENTA developers were able to implement all of their ideas. The Standard and Special series have the same housing and therefore the same dimensions in all 4 torque classes (8 Nm, 16 Nm, 24 m and 32 Nm). This is an advantage for the damper manufacturers as they can always use the same console design. Auxiliary switches or feedback potentiometers are installed if required and therefore do not constitute an additional source of error like externally mounted modules. The electrical connection is made via internal terminals - no junction box required. And the rounded design not only looks pleasing. It also does not pose any risk of injury such as the sharp corners of the early Belimo drives.

Spring return actuator JOVENTA 16 Nm
Spring return actuator JOVENTA 16 Nm

The spring return series with 16 Nm torque, also developed early and for a long time the only one of its kind, follows the same design lines, but is necessarily larger due to the complex mechanics. Nevertheless, these drives are also immediately recognizable as JOVENTA products.


The development of JOVENTA AG

The JOVENTA damper actuators quickly established themselves on the market. But development and production, marketing and sales cost a lot of money. From the outset, JOVENTA was therefore dependent on external donors from among the owners of the US JCI Johnson Controls group. The development culminated in the fact that JOVENTA AG and all its sales subsidiaries were not only taken over by Johnson Controls, but were almost completely integrated. The drives are manufactured in JCI factories in Italy and overseas. The sales subsidiaries were almost all liquidated and their tasks taken over by the respective JCI country representatives. The only exception was JOVENTA Stellantriebe Vertriebs GmbH in Germany, which continued to exist as a JCI subsidiary and purchased the damper actuators produced by JCI for resale under the JOVENTA brand. At the same time, JCI still manufactures the actuators in different colours under the Johnson Controls brand and uses them in its own projects.

In 2010, the then and present managing director of the German JOVENTA GmbH was able to buy out the subsidiary from the parent company. Since then it has functioned as an independent development and sales company under the name FRAKTA Vertriebs GmbH. The original brand remained the property of JCI Johnson Controls. But FRAKTA has secured the right with long-term contracts to continue selling the well-known JOVENTA damper actuators.


The sales range of JOVENTA damper actuators

Anyone with a slight eye on the market will notice that the drive range of the large orange competitor has been expanded and renewed several times in recent years. At JOVENTA, on the other hand, there have been a few additions to the range over the years, but the core has largely remained the same.

Why change something that works reliably, is familiar to potential users and meets their needs? A damper actuator has a simple function: to open and close a ventilation damper. Depending on the task, it must move in one go to the respective end position (OPEN/CLOSED actuator) or, to regulate the air flow, assume the intermediate positions specified by a control signal (continuous actuator). Optional additional function is the signalling of the respective position of the actuator or damper by auxiliary switch, feedback potentiometer or a continuous position signal. And this function should be performed by the drives over as long a period as possible without interference. The JOVENTA damper actuators were and still are perfectly suited to these requirements.

- Transmission and electronics

At that time, the gearboxes were developed by an external specialist and are still produced today in southern Germany at low cost and high quality. They are extremely robust and guarantee that the 4 different torques of the standard series and the 2 torques of the special series with their very fast running times could be realised in one size. These fast runners were even a unique selling point of JOVENTA for many years. Competitors did not develop such drives until much later.

Only the electronics of the drives have been further developed over the years. On the one hand, components that were no longer available had to be replaced by other solutions. On the other hand, the circuit design was adapted to the respective technical standard. At the same time, functional improvements such as the reduction of power consumption in the end positions and the load-independent running time of the drives were implemented. Improvements "under the hood", which do not immediately attract the user's attention, but nevertheless bring advantages. Handling and installation of the drives always remained the same.

- product line extensions

Silence series
JOVENTA damper actuator series Silence with 4 Nm torque

In the course of time, however, extensions of the assortment became necessary. With the alwaysThe necessary volume flows for heating and cooling were reduced, duct cross-sections and flaps smaller. Therefore smaller drives with less torque were necessary. The Silence series with 4 Nm torque and later, already in the JCI era, the even smaller Small series with 2 and 4 Nm were developed. Smaller alternatives also had to be offered for the spring returns. First, a series with 6 Nm torque was launched on the market, which was later replaced by a series with 8 Nm that was better adapted to market requirements. The latest addition to this development is a spring return with a torque of only 3 Nm. With a large drive with 20 Nm torque, however, the spring return series has also been extended upwards.

- JOVENTA safety drives

It is not so well known that JOVENTA also plays an important role in safety actuators for fire and smoke dampers, as such actuators may only be supplied to the manufacturers of the dampers. With actuators for combination dampers (smoke extraction dampers with ventilation function), JOVENTA was once again a pioneer. In this context, JOVENTA also played a major role in the development of the SLC control and monitoring system for fire and smoke dampers, the control modules of which are still marketed under the JOVENTA brand today. Although the SLC system is still in use, the FSC system is already a modern and bus-capable alternative that offers considerably more possibilities than the old SLC system.


Latest developments

The separation from JCI Johnson Controls in 2010 enabled FRAKTA to selectively expand its product range. Since then, the company has increasingly offered water-side actuators and associated drives. But something is also happening with the damper actuators and peripheral technology. With the price list 2018/19, flap actuators based on the proven standard series were offered for the first time that can be directly integrated into MODbus or BACNET networks. And with the BMM series (BACNET MODbus modules), classic actuators and sensors can be easily monitored and controlled via these networks.


So much for an overview of the historical development and current status of JOVENTA damper actuators. Detailed information on the series mentioned can be found under the following links on the website:


If you have any questions about the above products, please contact the FRAKTA head office or the sales representatives. The contact details you will find here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



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