Water Hydraulics Converts Simple Valves into Smart Control Valves
HYDRACT’ was a recent EU funded project with the aim of developing more energyefficient actuators for the sanitary valve industry. A significant side benefit of this work was the vastly increased capabilities of the retrofit valves with the new water hydraulic actuators. In fact, the production benefits of using smart valves overshadowed the original energy savings objectives in many cases.
The sanitary valve industry (brewery, dairy and pharmaceutical industries) has historically used pneumatic actuators as they can meet the required cleanliness standards at an affordable price. The problem with pneumatics is that the energy consumption is relatively high and they struggle to provide the level control needed for all but the simplest of tasks.
Enter water hydraulics. Tap water can meet the cleanliness levels required by the sanitary valve industry and as an essentially incompressible fluid, offer significant energy savings. Water hydraulics can also potentially provide even better motion control than oil hydraulics, but the cost of equipment is usually much higher. BHR Group was responsible for the product development and testing of a new breed of water hydraulic actuator that could be retrofit to mix-proof valves used throughout the brewery industry. The project necessitated the development of a miniature water hydraulic control valve and extensive laboratory testing on full scale rigs at BHR’s base in Cranfield, UK.
The ‘smart’ part of the actuator comes from wireless communication with the main plant controller and closed loop control of valve position combined with other process parameters such as flow, pressure or temperature. During extensive ‘demonstration’ trials within a large brewery, the water hydraulic actuator increased reliability of the plant by minimising pipework pressure transients and reducing damage to vulnerable valve seals. The ability to take an existing mix-proof valve and turn it into a control valve also considerably increased the versatility of the plant without the expense of switching to variable speed motors and controllers or changes to existing pipework. When considered at the design stage, the water hydraulic valve actuator can provide the sanitary valve industry with solutions that it has been waiting to adopt for years.
The miniature water hydraulic control valve which is the heart of the actuator is currently being assessed for other industrial, energy & power, and domestic applications. BHR Group has an extensive fluid engineering laboratory at their Cranfield site and their valve testing capabilities will be of particular interest to BVAA members.
For more information, contact the BHR Group via the below contact details.
Tel: +44 (0)1234 750422
Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 39
- Major Order for Fisher
- New director will build on power station success story at Exeeco
- Rotork valve actuators specified for southwest China’s first major refinery
- Flowserve Launches ValveSight
- No application too severe for KKI by David Lamb, Sales Director
- Emerson Unveils New 3-way Valve to Improve Temperature Control
- Flowserve Worcester Coated Valves Excel In Fishing Application
- Attention to Detail and Communication is the Key to Successful Valve Actuation: Peter Everett, CEO of H.S. Pipequipment comments on valve actuation
- Rotork’s new CVA, mounted to a Metso valve
- BVAA Chairman Bill Whiteley leaves Rotork after twelve years as Chief Executive Officer