How to save costs when selecting process valve solutions

Festo Pty Ltd

Thursday, 01 August, 2019

How to save costs when selecting process valve solutions

By considering a few basic requirements of your application, you can easily find the right valve control solution to meet your process automation needs. Festo has identified that many fluid control valve users are wasting money. To help, they have developed a set of top tips for users to achieve significant cost savings by more closely matching valves and actuators to their specific requirements.

The top tips are aimed at guiding users through key considerations like process media, operating pressure and environmental factors to select the most appropriate product, rather than paying for a premium specification when it is not required.

Consider the media you want to control

Savings start with consideration of the process media, which will affect the choice of material for the valve. If the media is aggressive or corrosive, then stainless steel is likely to be the best option. But in many common applications — supply of cooling water in a machine for example — a brass ball valve or butterfly valve with polyamide coated discs is perfectly adequate and costs far less. By making smart choices, it is possible to deliver both best quality and best price when selecting valves.

In addition to matching the valve material to the media, the choice of operating pressure can also have significant cost and energy implications. Festo advises users to look for opportunities to select lower media pressure ratings. This can be achieved without affecting the connection norm or the burst pressure rating of the valve and a lower pressure rated disc means a smaller, lower cost actuator.

Environmental conditions are also an important consideration, particularly for actuator selection. Users should consider factors such as chemical dosing and cleaning regimes, in addition to immediate environmental factors. There is little point in paying a premium for stainless steel actuators if they are not necessary. If a standard aluminium actuator is not suitable, epoxy-coated actuators are cost-competitive and resistant to most chemicals, making them a great choice for corrosive environments unless the actuator actually needs to be fully submerged. Festo’s DFPD quarter turn actuators can be ordered with coating options as well as different shaft materials, to help users tailor the product to match specific operating requirements and keep costs under control.

Pneumatic valves and actuators featuring lifetime lubrication are available and offer trouble-free operation throughout their design life. Eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance checks and top-up lubricating oils, these modern products reduce lifetime costs and the associated environmental costs of safe storage and disposal of the lubricants.

Choose the actuator technology that’s most effective

There are four basic actuator types: manual, electric, hydraulic and pneumatic. Which type is most effective for your application will depend on the number of valves to be controlled, and whether or not you require a failsafe option and adjustable speed. The simple design of air actuators compared with the electric version means a lower initial purchase cost and lower servicing costs. Even when there is no existing compressed air services on-site, air actuators can be cost effective where three or more valves are being operated. Festo has tools to help you make lifecycle cost comparisons between electric and pneumatic actuators.

Evaluate your safety requirements

Basic safety requirements can be met in most applications by a double-acting pneumatic actuator. In the event of the loss of the compressed air supply, it will stop in its current position. Requiring fewer internal parts and smaller in size, this is a less expensive option than a single-acting actuator. However, for safety-critical applications — such as the transportation of flammable gas, or liquids presenting contamination danger — a single-acting actuator provides enhanced safety.

Aim for precise control of fluid and gases

Some processes demand more precise control of fluids and gases than others. In these cases, a simple on/off function is insufficient, and a modulating option is required. There are many electro-mechanical positioners available capable of operating in the toughest environments, and with a wide range of features. However, if your process does not take place in an ATEX environment, paying a premium for ATEX certification is an unnecessary cost. The Festo CSMX is a cost-effective alternative, featuring all the necessary functionality but without the EX rating and fieldbus functions that increase the cost. For even simpler applications, a 5/3 control valve combined with an analog control box is a low-cost option.

Find the low-cost valve option

A valve terminal is a cost-effective alternative to Namur-mounted single solenoid valves. It not only offers support for multiple process valves, but also features built-in fieldbus and communications connectivity, and has reduced wiring requirements. Its readily accessible controls, offering visual status confirmation, diagnostics and manual override, also simplifies commissioning and maintenance. Depending on the number of valves to be controlled, a basic valve terminal can be a highly cost-effective option when the savings on installation, wiring, loop checks, start-up and maintenance are taken into consideration. Festo Automation Consultants can evaluate your application against the options and help you specify the best solution.

Festo has supported many applications where savings of more than 50% have been achieved through a more considered approach using these tips. Users do not have to sacrifice quality or reliability but can gain enormously through better matching of the application and valve technology, and this is where Festo can really help.

If you are looking for cost-effective automation solutions, Festo can help you understand the choices available and the implications for cost and performance. Festo offers individual components such as process valves, valve terminals and electrical peripheral equipment, ready-to-install solutions and control cabinets as well as control panels and controllers.

For more information on Festo’s range of valves, actuators and valve terminals, please visit the following link:

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