industrial valves

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) market could add more than $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Connected devices are improving operational efficiency and reducing downtime across a range of industries and processes.

What are your industrial valves doing to optimize your operations? Is it time for smart valves?

Learn more here about smart valves and what features to look for. You’ll find out how a smart valve can improve your processes.

What Is a Smart Valve?

Smart valves are part of the industrial internet of things. They have a digital valve positioner mounted on the valve actuator.

Function of the Valve Positioner

The valve positioner is the interpreter between the control valve assembly and the control system. It receives signals from the control system and adjusts the air to the actuator. The actuator then moves the valve to the correct position.

The positioner can also receive feedback from the valve stem or shaft and send it to the control system.

Expanded Functionalities of a Smart Valve Positioner

A smart valve positioner performs the same basic functions as a traditional valve positioner. It has additional capabilities, though.

Digital valve positioners have a built-in microprocessor. Positioning functions take only a small percentage of the microprocessor’s capacity. The rest is devoted to a range of diagnostic and monitoring functions.

Features of Smart Industrial Valves

Smart valves have a variety of diagnostic and monitoring features. When you’re looking for a smart industrial valve, check to be sure the models you’re considering have the functionality you need. Tools include offline and online diagnostics, data processing, and valve configuration.

Offline Diagnostics

Smart industrial valves have some diagnostic capabilities that require a plant shutdown before use. For example, the valve can record the set point, actual value, and actuator pressure while stroking the valve over its entire travel range. Step response tests are another possibility.

Online Diagnostics

Online diagnostics give you real-time data about the valve. Several types of diagnostics are possible. For example, you can log and plot the set point, valve position, and actuator pressure.

The positioner can log data and plot it over time. You can plot certain variables over the lifetime of the valve, like operating hours and cycles.

Data Processing

In addition to providing raw data, a smart valve should be able to process data for analysis. For example, a histogram can display recorded valve positions. Algorithms can highlight events like leaks or friction changes.

You can classify error messages into alarm levels. You can see if a problem requires immediate attention.

Valve Configuration

Smart valves let you configure the valve at the positioner. You don’t need an additional handheld device.

The consistent, automated starting procedure maintains optimal settings. The valve doesn’t overshoot or start chattering.

Smart Valve Communication

Communication between a smart valve and the control system can happen through one of several protocols. The type of protocol you use in your facilities affects the transfer of data to and from the smart valve. Be sure that the valves you’re considering are compatible with your network.

HART Protocol

Highway addressable remote transducer (HART) protocols put digital communication signals on top of analog signals. The two channels make HART very reliable. It’s easy to design and use.

However, HART transmits a limited number of variables. It’s a question/answer type of communication.

Fieldbus Protocols

Foundation Fieldbus and Process Fieldbus (Profibus) are fully digital. They allow two-way communication. They provide continuous feedback from the valve.

Fieldbus protocols are more powerful and faster than HART. They can be more complicated, though.


Wireless Bluetooth is familiar from consumer electronics. Some smart valves are beginning to use this technology.

Bluetooth can integrate data from a smart valve into the cloud. It supports local wireless communication for installing and monitoring devices.

Bluetooth has low energy use, but the communication range is shorter than other protocols.

Smart Valve Compatibility

You can find smart valve positioners that are compatible with many types of industrial valves. Smart valves can work with on-off valves and modulation valves. They can support linear or rotary motion.

You can find a smart valve positioner that is compatible with actuator types including:

  • Hydraulic
  • Pneumatic
  • Electric
  • Electrohydraulic
  • Electropneumatic

As a result, most types of valves can be smart valves, from an industrial ball valve to a butterfly or globe valve.

General Considerations

The same general factors for choosing a standard industrial valve apply to choosing a smart valve. You want to find the valve that’s the best fit for your application.

Important considerations include:

  • Valve function (on-off, control, safety, etc.)
  • Type of process media
  • Valve size
  • Operating and ambient temperature
  • Pressure requirements
  • Flow rate
  • Material of the valve body and other components

A qualified valve supplier can work with you to find the right smart industrial valve for your project.

Benefits of a Smart Industrial Valve

Smart industrial valves bring many benefits to your operation. One of the biggest advantages is real-time data and diagnostic information. This information can improve valve performance and reliability.

Operators know in real-time if adjustments, maintenance, or repairs are necessary. You avoid unplanned downtime. Remote monitoring lets operators reconfigure piping to continue production even when a pipeline is damaged or blocked.

Smart valves help reduce power usage. They make the system run more efficiently.

Digital positioners provide more accurate and consistent calibration. You get a higher level of process control. The initial valve setup is easier too.

Finding the Right Industrial Smart Valve

Smart industrial valves give your operation a higher level of automation. Real-time data and diagnostics help you avoid downtime. The system works more efficiently.

Smart valves come in a wide range of configurations. You can choose the right features for your application.

The experts at Anything Flows are ready to help you find the best valve for your needs. We’re a specialty flow control company. We have an extensive inventory of quality valves to fit a variety of applications.

Contact us today to start designing your flow control solution.