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Last updateThu, 19 Oct 2017 5pm

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Market Outlook 2018: A Sunnier Mood with a Few Caveats

Market Outlook 2018: A Sunnier Mood with a Few Caveats

The atmosphere at VMA’s 2018 Marke...

Is it Time to Toss Those Commissions?

Is it Time to Toss Those Commissions?

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly wha...

Cybersecurity for Process Control

Cybersecurity for Process Control

Security for any process plant has alway...

Young Valve Professionals: Megan Johnston

Young Valve Professionals: Megan Johnston

In 2014, VMA's leadership created the Val...

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Industry Headlines

Crude Oil, Petroleum Product Exports Reach Record Levels

Thursday, 19 October 2017  |  Chris Guy

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA ), crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per ...

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Industry Headlines

Emerson Agrees to Acquire Paradigm

3 DAYS AGO

Emerson has agreed to acquire Paradigm for a purchase price of $510 million, reflecting a multiple of 13 times expected 2017 EBITDA. Paradigm will be joined with Emerson’s existing Roxar automation software. The acquisition is expected to close within the next 60 days, subject to various regulat...

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ValvTechnologies Receives ISO 15848 Certification

4 DAYS AGO

ValvTechnologies’ EcoPack technology has received ISO 15848-1:2015 certification from Odin Heavy Industries. To earn ISO 15848 certification, ValvTechnologies underwent a stringent evaluation process that included a series of 17 helium leak tests and eight thermal cycles on a fully assembled v...

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Crude Oil, Petroleum Product Exports Reach Record Levels

2 DAYS AGO

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA ), crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per day (b/d) from the first half of 2016, reaching a record high of 0.9 million b/d. Petroleum product exports also grew over the same period with propan...

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Energy Intensity in U.S. Manufacturing Decreased

2 DAYS AGO

Energy intensity in manufacturing in the U.S. decreased from 2010 to 2014. U.S. manufacturing overall fuel intensity decreased by 4.4% from 3.016 thousand British thermal units (Btu) per dollar of output in 2010 to 2.882 thousand Btu in 2014. According to the Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (M...

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Fed Reports Economy Growth in September, Early October

2 DAYS AGO

Reports from all 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity increased in September through early October, with the pace of growth split between modest and moderate. The Richmond, Atlanta, and Dallas Districts reported major disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in some areas a...

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Industrial Production Up 0.3% in September

3 DAYS AGO

Industrial production rose 0.3% in September. The rates of change for July and August were notably revised; the current estimate for July, a decrease of 0.1%, was 0.5% lower than previously reported, while the estimate for August, a decrease of 0.7%, was 0.2% higher than before. Manufacturing output...

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Accessories for Control Valves

spr11_b2b_introHigh-pressure, angle-style control valves with high-pressure piston actuators are equipped with digital valve positioners, airsets and volume boosters, along with other accessories.While control valves are an essential part of most flow processes today, they cannot accomplish their key tasks without help from the many accessories that aid in smooth operation.

Control valves are a ubiquitous essential in today’s industrial facilities. Whether they are managing flow or controlling process conditions such as temperature or pressure, they are key to maximizing production, maintaining product quality and ensuring safety.

However, they cannot accomplish these tasks on their own. Equally important to the processes are the accessories that work with a control valve—helping ensure accuracy, boosting output, making various control system components compatible with one another and providing added layers of safety.

In this article, we will review some of these devices, the roles they play in a control system and factors that should be considered when specifying these devices.


VALVE POSITIONER

Positioners are required in almost all control valve applications. Many positioner types and communication protocols are available, but a positioner’s primary function is always the same: to accurately position the throttling element within a control valve as directed by a signal from the process control system.

The positioner receives a sign from an external process controller, compares the valve’s actual position to the desired position, and sends a command change to the actuator to correct the valve position in a controlled feedback loop. The process controller measures the change in the process and sends further changes to the position signal as necessary.

Without a positioner, a control valve position is an open loop; the valve moves in response to the signal but nothing is providing feedback to ensure the valve is in the desired position.

Four factors make positioners vital components in today’s process control systems:

Higher-pressure actuators: Positioners make it possible to use today’s higher-pressure actuators in traditional pneumatic control systems, which can reduce costs and make the valve more responsive.

Most pneumatic control systems use an output signal range of 3 to 15 psig or 6 to 30 psig. Traditional spring-diaphragm actuators are widely available in these ranges, but the output force from a given actuator size is significantly limited. And, piston actuators almost always require higher air pressures to perform optimally.

As a result, most actuators are designed and sized to operate at air pressure ranges well above the 3 to 15 or 6 to 30 psig delivered by the control system. Therefore, a positioner or other amplifying device is required to make them compatible with the control system’s lower output pressure. The higher air pressure allows selection of smaller actuators reducing overall equipment cost.

spr11_b2b_schematicTypical placement of some of the most commonly used control valve accessories
Forces within the control valve: Friction from valve stem sealing systems (packing) can be significant, particularly in higher-temperature applications in which graphite-based materials must be used. Unbalanced forces or flow-induced forces within the valve also will affect the actuator’s ability to consistently position the throttling element or plug within the valve.

A positioner continually monitors the effects of these forces and sends the appropriate feedback to the controller, ensuring that necessary adjustments are made quickly to keep the control valve performing as expected.

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