Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Proportional valves for closed-loop control of inert gases in process automation.

Festo has published a new whitepaper entitled: “Proportional valves for closed-loop control of inert gases in process automation.” The whitepaper, which can be downloaded for free from the Festo website, looks at how proportional valves can be used as an alternative to regulating valves and flow meters for closed-loop control of inert gases used in process automation plants.

In process automation applications, the pressure and flow of gases are tightly controlled. Inert gas systems, for example, are used to prevent the atmosphere in reactors and process tanks in a plant from coming into the explosive range. Other applications include the transfer of materials between process tanks and filling, frequently found in the food and drinks industry. To control these functions, dedicated lines with regulating valves and flow meters are generally used.

“Some process automation applications require valves and flow meters for each pressure and gas level, which can cost anywhere between £2,000 and £7,000, (€2700 and €9500)” says Steve Sands, product manager at Festo. “This whitepaper proposes that by using proportional valve technology in a closed-loop system instead, significant benefits can be realised in addition to lower installation costs.”

With proportional-valve technology, plant managers can control and adjust the pressure and flow levels of inert gasses more accurately to achieve the optimum for the process. By integrating the proportional valves on an intelligent valve terminal, diagnostic capabilities can be extended. In addition, proportional valves mounted in this way have a smaller space requirement meaning they can be installed inside control cabinets positioned in a non-ATEX zone; the explosion protection requirements can be reduced thereby further reducing installation costs.

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