01172018Wed
Last updateWed, 17 Jan 2018 9pm

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Young Valve Professionals: Logan Moore

Young Valve Professionals: Logan Moore

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

VALVE Magazine: Readers' Choice 2017

VALVE Magazine: Readers' Choice 2017

Happy New Year to our VALVE Magazine rea...

Educational Opportunities Abound at New VMA Knowledge Forum

Educational Opportunities Abound at New VMA Knowledge Forum

From technical to manufacturing to human...

Offshore Production in a Low Oil-Price Environment

Offshore Production in a Low Oil-Price Environment

Three years ago, The Washington Post publi...

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Interior Coatings for Waterworks Valves

Interior Coatings for Waterworks Valves

Monday, 15 January 2018  |  John V. Ballun, P. E.

Since the 1990s, two types of epoxy coatings have been commonly specified and used for iron valves in the waterworks industry: fusion-bonded epoxy and...

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Industry Headlines

ASCO Valve and Numatics Now Doing Business as ASCO, L.P.

1 DAY AGO

Effective January 1, 2018, ASCO Valve, Inc. and Numatics, Inc. began doing business as ASCO, L.P. This change in legal entities affects neither current channel alignment nor purchasing processes—everything will remain the same, including product authorizations. Within ASCO, a business unit of Em...

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Union Tech Names Chris Mayo Director for Global Power

1 DAY AGO

Union Tech recently announced that Chris Mayo has joined the valve sales team as director for global power. He will be primarily responsible for power markets, which include Union Tech’s Z1 Unibody Power Valve amongst other valve products in the Z-Series line.

Mayo is an industry veteran who bri...

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Natural Gas Prices, Production, Exports Increased in 2017

3 HOURS AGO

Overall, natural gas prices at key regional trading hubs were less volatile in 2017 than in previous years, as pipelines that came online throughout the year eased some infrastructure constraints that affect regional prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration . In the Northeast, w...

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Pipeline Capacity Expansions Accelerating in U.S. Northeast

2 DAYS AGO

With projects such as Columbia Gas Transmission’s Leach Xpress and Energy Transfer Partners’ Rover pipeline, “[t]he U.S. northeast should realize an increase of more than 3 Bcf/d of natural gas pipeline capacity by the end of this quarter, compared with an increase of 2.3 Bcf/d in ...

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House Unanimously Passes Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

1 HOUR AGO

The House of Representatives voted unanimously this week to pass H.R. 4318 , the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) Act of 2018. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation was written to increase the competitiveness of American manufacturers by temporarily reducing tariffs on nearly 1,700 different products ...

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Manufacturing Technology Orders Increased in November

1 DAY AGO

Orders for manufacturing technology climbed year over year and year to date in November 2017 according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). Orders totaled $425.97 million for the month, up 19.0% compared to November 2016. At a cumulative total of $4.06 billion for the year, orders we...

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Don't Overlook Linear Actuators on Gate Valves

At a recent sales meeting in California, I was surprised to discover the lack of awareness regarding linear valve actuators. In fact, one veteran of the valve industry remarked, "I didn't know you could operate a gate valve using compressed air and a linear actuator." Most folks in the valve industry are familiar with operating globe valves in this manner, but typically, multi-turn electric actuators have been used when automating gate valves. However, if the control application calls for faster stroke speed, mechanical failure position, precise positioning, or higher thrust, linear pneumatic or hydraulic actuators may be preferred.

The basic principle behind linear actuators is simple: a piston in a cylinder. This type of actuator is very simple and reliable; after all, it only has one moving part. Such a mechanical device has been around for more than 200 years. Pistons in cylinders first saw use in steam engines. Scotland's James Watt crafted the first good ones during the 1770s.

Attaching a linear actuator to a gate valve is fairly straightforward. First, the handwheel and drive nut comes off, exposing the threaded stem. Then, a coupling is used to connect the stem to the piston rod. This allows the linear actuator to move the stem up and down directly. The before-and-after pictures on the left and right, respectively, show the change from a manual valve to an automatic valve with the linear actuator.

Of course, the actuator is now producing "thrust" not "torque," and this is a critical specification for linear actuator design. As it turns out, the size of the cylinder is a function of the required valve thrust and the available supply (pressure x area = force). The cylinder is larger for a higher required thrust and a lower supply pressure. And since the actuator price increases as the cylinder size increases, engineers must verify that the supply pressure given is the highest available at the project site.

Moreover, if the calculated thrust is based on the maximum differential pressure rating across the valve (as defined by ANSI) and not actual operating design conditions, the specified thrust might be much higher than actual, which would require a larger cylinder and thus a higher price. Therefore, it is best to specify thrust based on actual design conditions to get the best price.

Linear actuators can be an effective automation solution for gate valves. As automation increases, so should our choices. That the linear actuator has proven reliable in many applications outside of the valve industry is testament to the enduring design of the pneumatic and hydraulic cylinder.

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