October 11, 2012

Automate Manual Valves, Cost-Effectively

Most process plants have thousands of discrete valves that are manually operated. According to a survey of Emerson Process Management customers, 90 percent have had valve alignment issues in the past 12 months, meaning what the position they thought the valve was in, was incorrect. This resulted in spills, lost batches and safety incidents.
Fisher 4320 Wireless Position Monitor with On/Off Control Output Option

These customers are automating such discrete valves each year; however, the wiring costs of traditional automation prevent many from being converted from manual to automated control. Emerson Process Management has expanded its Smart Wireless solutions family with the release of the Fisher 4320 Wireless Position Monitor with On/Off Control Output Option, reportedly the first and only WirelessHART valve automation solution that includes linkage-less position feedback and discrete valve control.

For simplicity, traditional quarter-turn valves and pneumatic actuators are used—which means only air is needed to automate a valve. The Fisher 4320 provides users “with a cost-effective way to achieve wireless valve control with position feedback for quarter-turn valves,” according to Peter Zornio, chief technology officer.

The 4320 “changes the economics of automating discrete valves as an alternative to solenoids and limit switches,” said Zornio. “By eliminating the need for wires, the project cost and project time are reduced by minimizing engineering time, materials, control system I/O, and installation labor.”

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