The overriding majority of valve actuation applications in today’s industries are fulfilled with standard products. In some cases an actuator may need to be modified to suit specific operating requirements, but here again a solution based on a standard product can usually be found. There are occasions, however, when the physical and operational demands of an application rule out anything other than an entirely customised approach to the problem.
The long-standing experience of Rotork-Hiller in the fluid power and motion control industries has been mostly built on the provision of actuators for critical and vital applications calling for the design and manufacture of solutions to suit customers’ individual requirements. Unlike other manufacturers therefore, customised valve actuation is the cornerstone of the company’s activity.
Among many examples, an actuator recently built in compliance with customer specifications serves as a practical illustration of this activity. The specification called for a self-contained electro-hydraulic modulating actuator to operate a three-way globe bypass valve within a reactor water chemical clean-up system. This was a non-safety related application, but the specification also dictated a strict weight limitation and a maximum overall dimension envelope.
Rotork-Hiller engineers put together a package incorporating all the requirements, including a number of components manufactured uniquely for the application. Meetings with the customer and design reviews enabled modifications to be made during the production process until the compact final package was completed.
One of the engineers closely involved with the project takes up the story:
“Everything was achieved in a timely fashion during which we designed and built a prototype for proof of concept and life testing in only six weeks, prior to design modifications and final design approval. The design demanded a lot of project specific direction to produce a modular electro-hydraulic actuator with a wide range of linear travel and thrust outputs. The lightweight and compact design delivers a highly accurate and responsive modulating performance and incorporates an intelligent positioner with HART communication protocol.
“The complete package was successfully tested to industry standards for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) at an independent laboratory. The project illustrates how Rotork-Hiller is willing to go the distance and provide customer service at a level that is exemplary.”