Guide to Choosing Smart Valves
Valves are a vital, yet often overlooked, component of any industrial operation that uses liquids or gases. This has historically been the case because, at their most fundamental, valves have a very basic purpose: to open and close.
Smart valves have changed that simplistic outlook. They offer capabilities that afford automation and greater precision in controls. They can go a long way to improving efficiency and safety for almost any operation.
This article covers the basics of smart valves: their function, advantages, and the different types and features to choose from. It will help you determine which is best for your industry or project.
What Is a Smart Valve?
A smart valve is a component that can automatically adjust its position or flow rate. It uses data from sensors or a programmed control system.
Sensors in smart valves can detect changes in temperature, water pressure, and flow. This can be used by technicians to adust operations. Some smart valves are programmable, allowing them to make adjustments on their own, based on circumstances.
Also, many smart valves come equipped with communication capabilities. Besides receiving data, they can transmit it to a control system. This includes valuable data about pressure, flow rates, and total volume that has passed during a given time.
What Are the Advantages of Smart Valves?
Smart valves can enhance efficiency and reduce waste. They do so partly by giving greater control to operators, who can make adjustments with remarkable precision. They can also make small changes that do away with operator error or are beyond human (manual) capabilities.
Smart valves can deliver information to technicians that can be used for better planning. This can increase efficiencies in operations immediately or in the long term.
Smart valves can also improve safety in different industries. For instance, they can identify irregularities that might otherwise go undetected. They can help technicians address minor problems before they become major ones.
Finally, the automation aspect of smart valves offers convenience. It can allow technicians to focus on other tasks besides monitoring pipeline efficiencies. It also gives them peace of mind that the system is functioning as it should without constant oversight.
How to Choose the Right Smart Valve
Selecting the best smart valve for your project or industry depends on different factors unique to your operations. Here are the main variables to consider.
Pneumatic vs. Hydraulic Actuators
Pneumatic and hydraulic actuators are both machines that convert energy into force or motion. This power is used to control mechanical functions. The difference is the medium they use to produce this power.
A pneumatic actuator leverages the power of compressed air to generate movement. The air is stored in a reservoir or piped in, then released to produce the movements in the valve. One of the biggest advantages of pneumatic actuators is they have a very fast response time and precise control of their functions.
A hydraulic actuator uses pressurized liquid, usually oil or water, to produce power. They are ideal for generating a large amount of force or motion, which may be necessary for some operations. They can also operate under very high pressure.
In short, if you are looking for valves with a fast response time or meticulous adjusting of flow rates, a pneumatic actuator may be preferable. If you are dealing with high pressures or situations where you need valves to adust or cut off heavy volumes, a hydraulic actuator may be more suitable.
Next, consider the type of valve that you need. There are many different kinds of smart valves available. These include butterfly valves, globe valves, gate valves, and many variations of ball valves.
Determine the level of automation and control capabilities you require. Do you need smart valves that technicians can operate remotely? Do you require integrated sensors and the ability to deliver data in real time?
Also, take into account the sensor capabilities. While there are valves that come with different features, identify devices that do what you need them to without going overboard.
For insurance, high temperature or pressure sensors may be essential to your operation. Other features, like remote control capabilities, may not.
Another option is to have valves with self-contained or external power sources. Depending on the location of the operation, having local power and controls may be preferable to a wired system with external power.
Brand and Durability
Finally, ensure you are going with a brand that is reliable and will function well for decades. Look for quality valves with features like high-pressure systems to ensure zero leakage. They will have water- or gas-tight construction and be explosion-proof.
Also, make sure the valves are built to withstand the conditions and specific purposes for which you will be using them. This includes corrosion resistance and the ability to hold up under high pressure or temperatures.
Look for valves that have simple, straightforward installation. Also, if you are integrating smart valves with existing systems, ensure they are compatible.
Find a Smart Valve Dealer
One of the best things you can do to select the right smart valve for your industry is to find a reputable dealer. Look for one with a lot of experience with these components. They will be able to further advise you on the types of smart valves and the distinct advantages each one offers.
Also, look for a dealer with a wide variety of smart valves. Having a range of options will ensure you find the best valve to suit your operations.
Learn More About Smart Valves
Now that you understand the functions and advantages of different types of smart valves, you can determine which is best for your job or industry. With so many designs and capabilities, you can find smart valves that meet your needs without exceeding your budget.
Anything Flows serves a growing domestic and global market with quality, state-of-the-art flow control solutions. In addition to smart valves, we offer a range of components, including metal-sealed ball valves, HVOF ball valves, and severe service valves.
Reach out to us today to learn more.