05262016Thu
Last updateThu, 26 May 2016 9pm

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Industry and Regulatory Changes in Offshore Operations

Industry and Regulatory Changes in Offshore Operations

On May 13, 2016, the offshore oil and ga...

Strategies for Successful SIS Valve Diagnostic Implementation

Strategies for Successful SIS Valve Diagnostic Implementation

End users and contractors alike strive t...

Stop Check Valves

Stop Check Valves

Stop check valves are vital to several i...

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Industry Headlines

ValvTechnologies Names Garcia, Mermelstein to New Positions

1 DAY AGO
ValvTechnologies Names Garcia, Mermelstein to New Positions

ValvTechnologies, Inc. has named David Garcia director of manufacturing and Steve Mermelstein as regional director, Americas and director, channel management.

Previously, West Point graduate Garcia served as director of operations for Merla Wellhead Solutions and held plant manager positions at Hallib...

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Emerson Automating UK Waste-to-Energy Plant

1 DAY AGO

Emerson will provide control systems and project services for a new waste-to-energy power plant near Knaresborough Allerton, North Yorkshire, UK. Construction is expected to be completed in 2017, with the plant fully operational in 2018.

The plant , which will also incorporate biogas and recycling faci...

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U.S. Still Top Producer of Petroleum, Natural Gas Hydrocarbons

2 HOURS AGO

The U.S. remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2015, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates . U.S. petroleum and natural gas production first surpassed Russia in 2012, and the U.S. has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 20...

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Why $50/Barrel Oil Means Stability to U.S. Producers

9 HOURS AGO

The rise to $50-per-barrel oil means a return to stability, particularly for domestic shale producers, according to Dan K. Eberhart, CEO, Canary, LLC. At this level , companies that saw the value of their product drop more than 75% in less than two years might have the confidence to resume drilling ac...

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Survey: Manufacturing Execs Investing in Advanced Tech

7 HOURS AGO

 A convergence of disruptive factors such as new technologies, increasing competition, and pricing pressures, is forcing manufacturers to increase investment in new products and services as they seek to innovate manufacturing capabilities, according to the 2016 KPMG Global Manufacturing Outlook ...

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Durable Goods Orders Surge 3.4%, But Demand Soft

9 HOURS AGO

New orders for manufactured durable goods in April increased $7.7 billion or 3.4% to $235.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up three of the last four months, followed a 1.9% March increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.4%. Excluding defense, new or...

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Hydraulic Actuators Gaining in Use

vmsum11_actuatorsHydraulic actuators (in black) for flow control valves in a distribution terminal of a pipeline help control gasoline, diesel and other products.

Although the actuator market is dominated by pneumatic and electromechanic products, a growing number of niches require the performance levels of electrohydraulic actuators.

Pneumatics have been the mainstay of control valve manufacturers for the better part of the last century—just imagine how large the installed base has grown to be. Electromechanical designs, on the other hand, date back almost as far as pneumatics, but have only recently been seriously considered for throttling control applications.

But what about hydraulics? The basic technology also has been around a long time, but the technology was never considered mainstream because of the complexity, maintenance requirements and costs. Still, some people argue that today, hydraulically driven actuators are among the highest performing modulating designs with the widest range of thrusts and torques. And, over the last 20 years, advances in hydraulic actuator technologies have opened doors to applications previously categorized as either pneumatic or electromechanical opportunities.


THE DIFFERENCES

So, what changes have we seen over the last few decades? Here are some thoughts on that issue.

Operation has changed from “continuous” to “discrete”: Conventional hydraulic technology, whether a central hydraulic reservoir power unit or a valve-mounted individual reservoir, is based on a servo system that uses a continuously running unidirectional motor and pump. This technology has superior frequency response (small spool valves for directional changes) and offers extremely tight positioning control with high available stroking speeds. A potential drawback is that these systems use gravity-fed reservoirs that communicate with the atmosphere. This can lead to ingress of condensate and particulates, requiring significant filtration and maintenance.

Discrete operating technology utilizes a bidirectional motor and pump in a truly self-contained, sealed hydraulic system. This eliminates the need for an active reservoir. It also means the oil volume is a small fraction of what would be required for a continuous system. The motor and pump operate discretely, only running when required to make a position change. Power consumption is lower than any other control actuator technology.

While the frequency response available with a discrete system is high, it can’t compare to the continuous system. However, the hydraulic fluid filtering and maintenance are eliminated, and the positioning accuracy and control remains as good as a continuous system.

“Self contained, discrete” technology has gained more acceptance in the control actuator market: What this really describes is a form of electromechanical actuator with a hydraulic transmission instead of a gear train. Electromechanical actuators use reversible motors and operate discretely (just like the discrete type of hydraulic actuator). Most traditional electromechanical actuators are designed for isolating duty and as such lock in position and power down when set point position is satisfied. Unlike the self-contained hydraulics, traditional electromechanical actuators are usually limited to fail-in-last-position on loss of motor power. Some newer designs of electromechanical actuators can replicate the functionality of the hydraulic or pneumatic actuators; however, most traditional electromechanical actuators have limitations on duty cycle and life cycle when compared to hydraulics or pneumatics.


A COMPARISON

So what does the self-contained discrete hydraulic technology have in common with pneumatics? Pneumatics are revered by most control valve manufacturers as the foundation of control valve positioning. They are the puppet controlled by the puppet master, which is the smart positioner. Pneumatics have been proven performers, with about 100 years as the staple of control valve actuation. That’s why it’s hard to stack up this younger, self-contained discrete hydraulic technology against the legend that is pneumatics.

However, both types are capable of continuous movement. They both have a variety of failure modes—through the use of simple springs or stored energy devices such as accumulators and volume tanks. However, pneumatics is more akin to conventional hydraulic technology regarding the power source. Just as a conventional hydraulic uses a continuously running unidirectional motor and pump to maintain pressure, the pneumatic has stored energy (supply pressure) from a central air compressor. Both approaches consume much more power than either the electromechanical or the discrete electrohydraulic technologies.

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