Saunders Smart Sensing Valve Technology Incorporates Intelligence

Diaphragm valves are regarded as the “valve of choice” for many applications due to the entrapment-free design and self-draining characteristics.

Being an integral part of the process system design, diaphragm valves play a critical role in controlling the flow of high value process media and optimising cleaning protocols. On critical applications, diaphragm valves are usually coupled with some type of feedback position switch that determines the status of the valve. While accurate position feedback is very helpful in monitoring real-time performance, nuisance trips and false alarms can result in unnecessary process shutdown and increased maintenance costs. False position indication can generate alarms that could potentially stop a process.

There are multiple types of linear detection devices that use mechanical, solid state or electromagnetic technologies. Mechanical limit switches, proximity sensors and linear potentiometers are not very accurate, nor reliable due to mechanical design and technology constraints. On the contrary, continuous electromagnetic sensing provides a higher degree of accuracy over conventional sensing technologies, and can eliminate potential costly failures when detecting the position of the valve. Pairing electromagnetic sensing methods with ultra-reliable diagnostics, accurate readings and the elimination of false alarms due to inaccurate position feedback, changes the dynamics of traditional control and provides critical information such as preventive maintenance diagnostics. Furthermore, continuous position sensing (electromagnetic or solid state analog) adds a new level of reliability and allows for detection of minor deviations in position (0.2 mm or less). This powerful concept ensures that a variation in position can be detected immediately and reported to the control room via networks, or locally by providing visual diagnostics at the sensor. The position detection available in continuous electromagnetic sensors facilitates preventive maintenance and, unlike mechanical sensors, they are immune to mechanical fatigue, wear of components, humidity, and vibration and temperature variations.

Understanding the numerous benefits that continuous electromagnetic sensing can provide, Saunders®, a Crane ChemPharma & Energy brand, introduced a new line of intelligent sensing solutions for diaphragm valves specifically for use in the Life Science industry. Saunders-VUE smart sensors, designed to maximize plant efficiency by eliminating false alarms and reducing set-up times, provide positive and accurate confirmation of the valve position while delivering a wide variety of diagnostics for continuous monitoring and preventive maintenance. The product line consists of two different state-of-the-art sensors, the Saunders I-VUE, designed for end users because of its enhanced diagnostics and easy calibration, and the Saunders M-VUE, ideal for equipment manufacturers because of its modular and compact design.

The Saunders I-VUE features contactless electromagnetic sensing technology that provides accuracy of less than 0.2mm, eliminating false position indication and nuisance trips that occur with mechanical sensors. Its self-calibration feature, which can activate remotely over a network or locally at the unit using a magnetic key, reduces set-up time from 30 minutes, as seen with traditional switchboxes, to only three minutes. The Saunders I-VUE also features a digital cycle counter that can identify the life of a diaphragm for a particular application under a set of process conditions, count the number of cycles completed by the valve, and sound an alarm that notifies the operator to perform maintenance once a certain number of cycles has been reached. In fact, the Saunders I-VUE can produce 15 different alarms that enable users to extract valve diagnostics like never before and is available in point-to-point, ASi and DeviceNet versions.

The Saunders M-VUE is the most compact intelligent valve sensor in the industry. Its modular design provides the flexibility to add or remove integral solenoid at any point during the life of the sensor and it can be direct mounted on Saunders actuators. The electromagnetic sensing technology featured in the Saunders M-VUE provides precise position confirmation with an accuracy of 0.3mm, making it an ideal sensor for small valves. Additionally, like the Saunders I-VUE, the Saunders M-VUE also offers one-step contactless valve and sensor calibration in three minutes. This quick calibration process delivers 90% savings in maintenance costs every time a sensor is calibrated.

With the growing trend towards smart components, the industry can evolve and utilize the technology available to save costs and improve efficiency and performance. The Saunders-VUE product line of intelligent sensors enables users to do just that, while improving the quality of their products. The Saunders I-VUE and Saunders M-VUE directly address existing pain points and offer solutions that complement and improve upon products and processes, adding intelligence to standard diaphragm valves and offering the industry new possibilities.

By: Ketan Pandit, Regional Business Line Manager – Crane ChemPharma & Energy, Saunders® and Edgar Marino, Application Specialist – Crane ChemPharma & Energy, Saunders®

Tel: +44(0)1633 486666

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 41

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