Control Valve Actuators

Go to Specific Subject: Compact Valve Actuator Solutions and Systems | Subsea Valve Actuators | Offshore Valve Actuator | High Pressure Manifolds Actuators | Safety Related Systems Valve Actuator Systems | Spring Return Hydraulic Actuators | Spring Return Pneumatic Actuators | Compact Double Block & Bleed (DBB) Valve Actuators | Double Acting Actuator | Compact Actuators in Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) Applications | Valve Actuator General Information | Scotch Yoke Design Valve Actuators | Firesafe Actuators | Valve Actuator Standards | Hydraulic Actuator Design and Operation | Electrical Actuator Design and Operation | Control Valve Actuator Design and Operation | Valve Actuator Accessories


Control / On - Off Valve Actuator Description

Control, On-Off Ball, Gate, Globe and Butterfly valves all require a mechanism to actually “drive” them, this is what is called an “Valve Actuator”. These Valve Actuators come in various forms, and use various power sources as an operating medium. Typically the power sources utilised by the Instrument and Control System design engineers is pneumatic, hydraulic and electrical. Of course the most basic actuator is a manual hand wheel.

Design of the Valve Actuator - The design engineer has to consider the operating conditions such as:

  1. The atmosphere and potential corrosion. If the Actuator is being utilised on an Offshore Platform or FPSO then particular care must be taken in selecting the actuator body materials and internal mechanism. Particular emphasis on this should be taken on the tubing associated with pneumatic actuators or any that ‘breathe’ on the return stroke, potentially sucking in salt or corrosive air into the internal mechanism. Under this scenario a technique called closed loop breathing is used (an excellent schematic of a typical system can be found here). Selection of any accessories such as quick exhaust, solenoid valves and limit switches etc must also consider the conditions. In the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry 316SS Actuators are sometimes selected.
  2. Torque requirements must be carefully considered as too little power can mean that any stiction in the valve means that the valve may stick in the cycle. Too much power may actually cause the valve mechanism to shear.
  3. Pneumatic Valve actuator 0 - 100% cycle may be various pressures, control valve actuators are generally 3 - 15 psi (20 - 100kpa). However they may sometimes be set differently to this.
  4. On - Off Valve Actuators may be set to other pressures, commonly 0 to 100 psi, this is to keep the size of actuator as compact as possible.
  5. Hydraulic Valve Actuators utilise much higher pressures, especially on very large ball valves, this design is used to obtain the higher torques required and to keep the actuator and valve footprint as compact as possible.
  6. Smart Positioners may be used both on Control and On - Off Actuator Valve combinations, these are a superb maintenance tool in that the Valve/Actuator signature at new conditions can be taken. Any changes outside parameters then mean that any maintenance is condition based.


ATC Valve Actuators Technical Information, White Papers and Application Details

ACT Actuators accommodate a specific market need for a compact spring return actuator to operate quarter turn and linear operated valves. Applications that particularly benefit from their compact design are those where installation space is limited, like on topsides, high-pressure manifolds, internal / external turret areas and (vertical mounted) riser valves. A compact actuator design could also benefit the handling, mounting and alignment in case large valve sizes/high pressure ratings do apply. Due to the enhanced actuator design, ATC actuators are also installed in shallow to ultra deepwater, and available complete with ROV interfacing and receptacles to ISO. ATC actuators are SIL 3 compliant to IEC 61508 and are manufactured in compliance with the ISO 9001 2000 quality procedures.


Compact Valve Actuator Solutions and Systems

Compact Actuator Solutions and Systems - Some comprehensive Compact Actuator Design Information and Application details from Prochem.


Engineering Features of the ATC Valve Actuator

  • Compactness - Design flexibility, combined with the innovative integration of all actuator parts, results in the most compact actuator available in the market. In virtually all applications, irrespective of hydraulic or pneumatic supply, the ATC actuator diameter is smaller than the Face-to-Face dimension of the valve. The ATC actuator enables designers to minimize overall dimensions, reduce platform weight & deck load and ease the design of steel support structures.
  • Enhanced Performance - ATC compact actuators are based on an advanced compact design with a revolutionary self-lubricating, low-friction torque conversion mechanism which eliminates the risk of any mechanical wear and tear. If the application requires an advanced level of optimization (in dimensionsor torque), the actuator output can be adapted to the exact valve torque.As a further benefit, the air or oil displacement can be reduced by up to 50%, contributing to savings in the control system, HPU or airset.
  • Reliability - Due to its innovative yet simple design, the ATC compact actuator is based on a minimum number of parts. As a result, maximum reliability is ensured throughout our entire range. ATC compact actuators are hermetically sealed, airtight and watertight under all conditions. A complete FMECA has been carried out, including verification of the complete global installed base. As a result, TUV Rheinland has certified the ATC actuators to SIL 3, in accordance with IEC 61508, and field-proven Type A. In addition the ATC actuator has been tested extensively in accordance with the Shell type approval test procedure (DEP and the API 6A PR2 procedure. These tests included extensive functional and seal testing, a compressed spring test and a dynamic load cycle test at 95% of the maximum torque for a total of 6200 cycles at temperatures ranging from minus 20C to 65C. The successful completion of these tests has been certified by an independent body.
  • Cost Savings for Contractors and Operators - Contractors can benefit directly from using ATC compact actuators, both at the FEED stage and the EPC(I) stage. The number of engineering hours (e.g. for piping lay-out) has been reduced drastically on a considerable number of projects. ATC compact actuators also make it possible to cut material costs and weight thanks to an optimised and shortened piping lay-out. In addition due to the nature of the design, no specific maintenance programs are required on ATC actuators during the lifespan of your project. Consequently, ATC compact actuators result in maximum availability at lowest operational cost without requiring periodic maintenance - not even actuator replacement!


Subsea Valve Actuators

Subsea Actuator Technical Features - ATC has a complete line of sub-sea actuators available suitable for shallow water applications and installation in ultra deep waters, including ROV interfacing. This includes Submerged production, Submerged (off) loading, Sub Surface Isolation Valve (SSIV), PLEMS, Subsea Manifolds, Production Valves, Pipeline Valves, and Pigging Valves.

Subsea Quarter Turn

Subsea Linear


Offshore Valve Actuator

Topside Actuator Applications - Topsides / Manifolds, FPSO Turrets, Loading Buoys, Riser Valves, Isolation Valves, and Ballast Valves.

Upstream Quarter Turn Hydraulic

Upstream Quarter Turn Pneumatic


High Pressure Manifolds Actuators

Application of Compact Actuators on High Pressure Manifolds - Space and Weight are an important consideration when designing Valving and their associated actuators on High Pressure Manifold Systems. Actuators which can be installed in different angles provide significant advantages. By utilizing Compact Actuators a “minimum design footprint” can be achieved.


Safety Related Systems Valve Actuator Systems

Actuator for Safety Related Systems - The ATC spring return actuator offers an enhanced reliability, while having a minimum quantity of actuator parts. A complete FMECA has been carried out in conjunction with a complete review of our installed base. The actuator is certified by TUV Rheinland to meet SIL 3, following IEC 61508 and based on a 1oo1 architecture applied.

Applications - Overpressure Protection Systems, HIPPS, and ESDV.


Spring Return Hydraulic Actuators

Spring Return Hydraulic Actuator Technical Features - The standard ATC spring return actuator is the most compact actuator available in the market. In short, the ATC actuator offers the following advantages:


Spring Return Pneumatic Actuators

Spring Return Pneumatic Actuators Technical Features - Due to the innovative design, The ATC pneumatic spring return actuator is available in dimensions which are close to the hydraulic version and therefore uniquely compact.


Compact Double Block & Bleed (DBB) Valve Actuators

Compact Double Block & Bleed (DBB) Valve Actuator Technical Features - The ultra compact ATC actuator allows for “redundant actuation” within one valve body (DBB) rather than using 2 individually installed valves. This optimisation results in a considerable reduction in pipe length, flanges, adapter sets and having the most impact in case exotic pipe materials are applied.


Double Acting Actuator

Double Acting Actuator Technical Features - The ATC double acting actuator is based on the same unique design approach and flexibility as applies to the spring return range.


Compact Actuators in Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) Applications

FNLG Vessel Design Requires the Latest Weight and Space saving Concepts - Space and weight saving on FLNG facilities are an essential design parameter as “real estate” is very limited. Hence Compact Actuators are an important component in achieving this design goal and have been utilised in major projects around the world. Also whilst space and weight are paramount the additional savings associated with Passive Fire Protection add to the overall justification and use of these products.


Valve Actuator General Information

Valve Actuator - Actuators are used for the automation of industrial valves and can be found in all kinds of technical process plants: they are used in waste water treatment plants, power plants and even refineries. This is where they play a major part in automating process control. The valves to be automated vary both in design and dimension. The diameters of the valves range from a few inches to a few meters. Depending on their type of supply, the actuators may be classified as pneumatic, hydraulic, or electric actuators - This link from Wikipedia gives lots of technical information.

General notes for the Calculation and Selection of Actuators - These general notes from Samson Controls are useful.

A Descriptive Definition of Valve Actuators - Chris Warnett - A valve actuator is any device that utilises a source of power to operate a valve. This source of power can be a human being working a manual gearbox to open or close a valve, or it can be a smart electronic device with sophisticated control and measuring devices. With the advent of micro-circuitry the trend has been for actuators to become more sophisticated. Early valve actuators were no more than a geared motor with position sensing switches. Today’s valve actuators have much more advanced capabilities. They not only act as devices for opening and closing valves, but can also check on the health and well being of a valve as well as provide predictive maintenance data - from Rotork Controls Inc and Valve World.


Scotch Yoke Design Valve Actuators

Scotch Yoke - The Scotch Yoke principle is characteristic for its high torque when required - at the beginning and end of each operation. This increases safety, especially in applications where the valve remains stationary throughout long periods. From Austral Powerflo Solutions and Remote Control.

Scotch Yoke or Rack-and-Pinion Pneumatic Part-turn Actuator? - Günter Öxler - This article reports on the best choice between the different technical solutions offered by pneumatic part-turn actuators - from Valve World.


Firesafe Actuators

Firesafe Actuators - Thanks to Samson Controls.


Valve Actuator Standards

EN 15714-1:2009 - Industrial valves - Actuators - Part 1: Terminology and definitions.
EN 15714-2:2009 - Industrial valves - Actuators - Part 2: Electric actuators for industrial valves - Basic requirements.
EN 15714-3:2009 - Industrial valves - Actuators - Part 3: Pneumatic part-turn actuators for industrial valves - Basic requirements.
EN 15714-4:2009 - Industrial valves - Actuators - Part 4: Hydraulic part-turn actuators for industrial valves - Basic requirements.


Hydraulic Actuator Design and Operation

Hydraulic Actuator Design and Operation - Pneumatic actuators are normally used to control processes requiring quick and accurate response, as they do not require a large amount of motive force. However when a large amount of force is required to operate a valve hydraulic actuators are normally used - from Engineers Edge.


Electrical Actuator Design and Operation

Control Valve Actuators - Their Impact on Control and Variability - Chris Warnett - Electric control valve actuators provide excellent performance and are ideal for oil and gas wells in remote production fields. Instrument air supply systems are costly and require significant energy to run. If mains power isn’t available, an instrument air supply isn’t practical, especially when only a few control valves are in use at a location. Solar powered DC electric actuators are ideal for such an application - from Rotork.

How Electric Control Valve Actuators Can Eliminate The Problems of Compressed Air as a Power Medium - Today, a new major technological advance is available that can help control-valve users avoid many of the problems and inefficiencies associated with using compressed air as a power medium. The new solution uses electric power and eliminates dependence on compressed air. This totally electric solution is appropriate and cost-effective for a wide variety of control-valve applications, including those found in such sectors as power generation, chemical, petrochemical, and most other process industries. While the new generation of electric control-valve actuators may not be suitable for all process applications, it is ideal for many situations, especially where users have experienced problems with frozen air hoses, lack of process precision, stick slip, and so on. Therefore, it is prudent for today’s process control engineers to take a serious look at how the design features of the new generation of totally electric control-valve actuators can benefit them - from Rotork.

Specification - Electric Valve Actuators in Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants - This is a typical specification from Auma Actuators, whilst product specific it is a useful basis for developing a specification.

Guidelines for the Specification of Electric Valve Actuators - This draft standard provides general requirements for the development of specifications for electric actuators - from the ISA.

General Specification for Electric Actuators - Integral Motor Control - This is a typical specification from Rotork Actuators, whilst product specific it is a useful basis for developing a specification.


Control Valve Actuator Design and Operation

The Fisher Control Valve Handbook - This superb 295-page PDF whitepaper is a control valve resource that has been consistently updated for 30 years. It contains vital information on control valve performance and latest technologies. Thanks to Emerson Process Management.

Control Valve Actuator Bench Set Requirements - Jerry Butz - Control Valve “Bench Set” is an often-misunderstood point of confusion, and sometimes incorrectly described part of a control valve’s actuator specifications. But not understanding it can set one up for a failure in the form of a mis-sized actuator and spring. Maybe this information can help to clear the cloud of confusion and make it easier for engineers, technicians, and operators to understand - from Flow Control.

Understanding Control Valve Bench Set - Dave Harrold-from Control Engineering.

Control Valve Actuators and Positioners - Control valves need actuators to operate. This tutorial briefly discusses the differences between electric and pneumatic actuators, the relationship between direct acting and reverse acting terminology, and how this affects a valve's controlling influence. The importance of positioners is discussed with regard to what they do and why they are required for many applications - from Spirax Sarco.

Control Valve Actuator Options - Today’s Actuators Offer Imposed Performance With Lower Life-Cycle Costs. The Challenge Is Choosing the Right One for the Application - George Ritz - Over the past several years, valve actuators have received relatively little attention while process control specialists concentrated on controllers, sensors, and other components of the control loop. This is borne out by the unglamorous nickname “pig iron” assigned to the actuator/control valve unit. With the onset of the smart-valve generation, it suddenly appears that the control valve actuator may get more respect along with its new electronics degree - from CCI.

Linear Pistion Actuators - Samy, Stemler - High Reliability of actuation is of paramount importance in the nuclear power industry. Pneumatic actuators form the largest installed base with many in safety significant applications. This paper addresses the issues related to actuation, such as available Thrust, Stiffness, Sensitivity, Hysteresis, Dead band, Dynamic Stability and a sizing example. This paper also presents comparisons between various types of linear actuators and their relative advantages and disadvantages. Also presented will be evaluation techniques for troubleshooting actuator problems and improving plant performance - from CCI.

Closed Loop Breathing - This is a technique to ensure that corrosive or saline air cannot enter the internals of the valve on the breathing side of the valve. It is very popular in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry and on Coastal Refineries etc - thanks to Rotork for this excellent schematic.

How to Select an Actuator - Wayne Ulanski - As the process industry continues to achieve more efficient and productive plant design, plant engineers and technicians are faced, almost daily, with new equipment designs and applications. One product, a valve actuator, may be described by some as simply a black box, having an input (power supply or signal), an output (torque), and a mechanism or circuitry to operate a valve. Those who select control valves will quickly see that a variety of valve actuators are available to meet most individual or plant wide valve automation requirements. In order to make the best technical and economical choice, an engineer must know the factors that are most important for the selection of actuators for plant wide valve automation. Where the quality of a valve depends on the mechanical design, the metallurgy, and the machining, its performance in the control loop is often dictated by the actuator - from SVF Flow Controls, Inc.

Control Valve Actuators: Their Impact on Control and Variability - Chris Warnett, In a process plant, the general function of a control valve is to restrict the opening of the valve so it affects the flow or pressure of the liquid or gas that is passing through it. In any given application, an installed valve, whether it is a rotary or sliding stem valve, has one fundamental variable - the position of the moving element. That single moving element determines the exposed orifice that allows greater or lesser flow through the valve, which in turn provides the control of the process. The valve itself may be extremely sophisticated with exotic body and seat material, or it may have complex flow patterns that allow for a high pressure drop or some other function. However, the fundamental requirement to move the valve stem to position the control element remains the same regardless of whether it is a simple or a sophisticated valve. A control valve actuator is used to move the valve stem (which is attached to the internal control element) to the desired position and hold it in place. In addition to the act of moving and holding positions, there are many other parameters to that movement which determine the best type of actuator that should be used for every specific application. For example, other important considerations might include speed, repeatability, resolution, and stiffness - from Rotork Process Controls and Valve World.


Valve Actuator Accessories

The following links are provided thanks to Austral Powerflo Solutions.

Rotary Limit Switch Boxes - Rotary limit switch boxes provide a visual and remote electrical indication of quarter turn valve/actuator position (ball, butterfly and plug).

Bolt Switches - "Bolt" switches are magnetic proximity switch suitable for any type of position indication.

Valve Position Indicators - The 3D Series namur indicators provide high visibility verification of valve/actuator position. The indicator features a rotor with red and green quadrants that rotate to indicate valve open and valve closed positions.

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