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HomeISAPublicationsInTechMagazine2014/JulAugAutomationBasics:Controlvalvesanupdate

Control valves an update AbouttheAuthor


HansD.Baumann,Ph.D.,P.E.,
ByHansD.Baumann,Ph.D.,P.E. anhonorarymemberofISA,isa
worldrenowncontrolvalve
expert.Heistheholderof103
Afterthehecticactivityofthe1980sand1990s,especially
U.S.patentsandtheauthorofthe
ontheinternationallevelthroughtheInternational
ISAbooksControlValvePrimer
ElectrotechnicalCommission(IEC),effortstoeitherrefineor
andHowtoFileYourOwnU.S.
createnewstandardshaveslowedconsiderably.Past
PatentApplication.Inaddition,he
activitiesledtoaspateofstandardsyieldingmoreaccurate
isthecoauthorofseveralbooks
sizing,duetoabetterunderstandingoffluiddynamics,as
onautomaticcontrolsand
relatedtovalves,andevenequationstopredictfluid
acoustics,aswellastheauthorof
inducednoisefrombothliquidsandgases.However,
currenteffortsbothinISAandIECTC65B,WG9 managementbooks.
committeesprimarilyrevolvearoundmaintenanceof
existingstandards.
MoreAutomationBasics
Althoughsuchinactivityandlackofbasicresearchmay
TheArtofinstrumentselection
havesavedcompaniesmoney,itpointstothesadfactthat
wedonotseeanymorescientificpapersbasedon AnhourwithDoctorFlowmeter
laboratoryexperimentsbymajorvalvecompanies.This,in Hybridtemperaturecontrollers
turn,reflectsthelackofbasicnewvalvetypescomingon offermoreversatility
themarket.Ofcourse,thismayjustbeasignthatthecontrol ThermocouplesversusRTDs
valveindustryismaturing,whichisalsoapparentfromthe
SeeallAutomationBasics
factthatmorethan85percentofallcontrolvalvessoldin
Articles
today'smarketweredevelopedinthe1960s.Thebulkof
"new"valvesstillrelyonoldtechnologies.Whilethisstagnationinthedevelopmentofnewcontrol
valvetechnologymayhavebeenprudentfromanaccountantpointofview,wellestablished YourThoughts
existingproductsdolackpatentprotectionandareeasypreytobeing"reverseengineered"
Pleasefeelfreetosendyour
(copied)hereandabroad,whichreducesmarketshareandultimatelyprofitforestablished
thoughtsaboutthisnewand
companies.
evolvingtopictoBillLydonat
InTechmagazine@isa.org.
New control valve alternatives

Overthepast40years,themarkethasadaptedtousing
rotarytypesofcontrolvalvestoreplaceglobestyle
valves,especiallyinlargersizes(typicallyabovethree
inches)andformoremoderateserviceconditions.The
leastexpensivetypesofrotaryvalvesarebutterfly
valves.However,untilrecently,anumberofflawslimited
theiracceptanceasfinalcontrolelements:

1. Theydonotofferanequalpercentageflowcharacteristic
(preferredbymorethan80percentofusers).
2. Exceptforswingthroughtypes,mostbutterflyvalves
haveahigh"breakaway"friction,whichtendstocause
thetraveltoovershoot,leadingtoinstability.Thisalso
limitstherangeability,orturndown,ofsuchvalves,
becauseoneshouldnotcontrolbelowfivedegreesof
opening,inordertoavoidthispitfall.
3. Conventionalbutterflyvalveshavehighdynamictorque
duetotheairplanewingeffectoftheflatvanesurfaces.
Again,thiscanbeacauseforinstabilityandfortheneed
forlarger,moreexpensiveactuators.

Inanefforttoovercomethesenegativeeffects,several
Figure1.Anoveltypebutterflyvalve
newbutterflyvalveinnovationshaverecentlycomeon
offeringseveraluniquefeaturesto themarket.Oneofthese,calledaControlDisk,is
makeitsuitableforautomaticcontrol manufacturedbyFisherControls,adivisionofEmerson,
inprocessapplicationsSource:Lilly whoseengineersaddedcontrollingprofilesona
Engineering
basicallymetalseated,doubleeccentricbutterflyvalve,
whichthengivesthevalveanequalpercentageinherent
flowcharacteristic.Anotherpatentedidea,centeredaroundrubberlinedvalves,ispresentedby
LillyEngineeringCompany,Inc.,ofItascaIll.,withtheirZDisk.Itclaimstoovercomeallthe
detrimentslistedabove,makingthisvalvealsoaseriouscompetitorforglobestylecontrolvalves
andothermoreexpensiverotaryvalves.

Whatisofinteresthereisthatthevanehasnoprofiledsurfacesinordertocreateanequal
percentageflowcharacteristic(figure2),butreliessolelyontheexponentialchangeinthecosineof
theopeningangle(distanceBinfigure1).

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Figure2.Atypicalinherentflowcharacteristicofthevalvetypeshowninfigure1comparedtoan
idealequalpercentageone

New ways to fight noise and cavitation


Inlinewithupgradingbutterflyvalvesformoredemandingservice,YearyControlsofChicagocame
upwithanovelwaytoupgradeconventionalonoffbutterflyvalvesformoredemandingcontrol
applications.Theyusedarelativelylowcostbutterflyvalveandaddedacontroldeviceconsistingof
aslottedstructure,wheretheslotsareseparatedbyteethhavinginteriorcurvedsurfaces
dimensionedtocooperatewiththecammingportionoftherotatingvane.Thisexposesselected
slotstoflow,designedtoconverttheheretoforenearlinearcharacteristicofthebasicbutterflyvalve
intoanequalpercentageone.Inadditiontothisfunction,thewidthoftheteethisselectedto
producejetsizesforgaseshavinghigherpeakfrequencies,wheresoundismorereadilyabsorbed
bythepipewall,thusreducingnoisebyupto15dBA.Theslotsalsoallowhigherpressuredrops
forliquidsduetotheincreaseinthecoefficientofincipientcavitation.However,evenifcavitation
occurs,theslotsensurethatthelengthoftheemanatingcavitatingjetisveryshort,thusprotecting
thepipefromstructuraldamage.Higherpeakfrequenciesreducetheoverallnoiselevelofthrottled
liquidsaswell.

Relatedtoprotectingtheenvironmentfrom
unwantednoise,YearyControlsalsocameup
withanovelapproach.Controlvalvesalways
reliedontwobasicwaystoreducethrottling
noise.Onewayistousespecialtrims,usually
slottedplugsorcages,toreducesoundwithinthe
valveitself.Theotherapproachistouse
downstreamsoundabsorbingdevices,suchas
silencersorplateshavingmanysmall
perforations.Thelatterareveryeffectiveifthe
flowratestaysfairlyconstant,saybetween100
percentand50percentofratedflow.Thisisdue
totheconstantnumberandsizesofthe
perforations.Toovercomethisproblem,the
Yearydevice,calledavaryingareadiffuser
(VAD),hasapressureactivatedslidingpiston
withamultitudeofholescooperatingwithan
equalnumberofholesinastaticcylinder.Here
thepistontravelsatadistanceoflittlemorethan
thediameterofonehole.Bymovingthepistonin
Figure3.A36inchsharktoothequipped proportiontotheflowrate,holespartlyoverlap,
butterflyvalveisreadiedforshipmenttoa andthereforechangethetotalthrottlingareaas
powerplant. needed.Thisprocedureworksquitewell,andthe
Source:ZwickControls,GMBH deviceisequallysuitedforgasesandliquids.
Typicallyonly15or20psiareallocatedas
pressuredropacrossanaccompanying
conventionalcontrolvalve,whichrespondstoacontrollingsignalfromaprocesscontroller,while
therestofthepressuredifferentialisabsorbedbytheVAD.Thisdevicehasaveryshortresponse
time,typicallywithinonesecond.Itcanthereforeabsorbminorprocessupsetsbeforethemaster
controlvalveisabletorespond.Thisproducesaverystablecontrolloop.Surprisinglytoo,the
pressurerecoveryfactor(FL)isveryhigh(0.98).This,togetherwiththerelativelysmallsizesofthe
numerouspassages,createslittleambientnoiseforbothliquidandgaseousfluids.

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Figure4.Sectionalviewofavariableresistancediffuser(acontrolvalvewouldhavebeenattached
tothesmallerflange).Valveupstreampressuremovesthepistonagainstaspringforceandthe
downstreampressureofthefluidemanatingfromthecontrolvalve.Thus,thecombinationspring
pluscontrolvalvedownstreampressurelesstheupstreampressuredefinesthelowpressuredrop
acrosstheconventionalcontrolvalve.Thebalanceoftheupstreampressureisreducedbythe
perforatedpassages.Note,allholesmoveinunison,hencetheshorttravel.
Source:YearyControls,Inc.

The computer helps


Iwellrememberwhencontrolvalvesweresizedwithspecialsliderules.Gratefully,wenowhave
verysophisticatedcomputerprogramsthatcanhandlenotonlysizingequations,whichhave
becomemuchmorecomplicatedovertheyears,butfairlyaccuratenoisepredictionsaswell.

Yet,inaddition,thereareprogramsthatcanbeveryhelpfulinthedesignofvalvepassagesforflow
optimization.Onesuchprogram,forexample,canpredictthevelocityandthepressureprofileof
virtualfluidpassingthepassagesofaproposedcontrolvalvebody.Thissavesmuchtimein
buildingandflowtestingactualhardware.Intheexampleshowninfigure5,suchaprogramisused
bytheWatsonMcDanielCo.tomaximizetheflowcapacityofanewlydesigned2inchglobevalve,
helpingthedesignerbystreamliningtheflowpassagestoachieveacompetitiveflowcapacity,
despiteanonly6inchfacetofacedimension.

Figure5.Computerviewofstaticpressurepatterninavirtualglobevalveprototype.Redcolors
designatehighinletpressuresbluedesignatesthelowestpressure.
Source:WatsonMcDanielCo.

Economic outlook
Notbeingleftalone,controlvalvemanufacturersparticipatedintheoutsourcingtrendthatbeganin
earnestin2000.Itstartedwiththesearchforlessexpensivematerials,suchasironcastingsfrom
BrazilorstainlessinvestmentcastingsfromKorea.Later,lowerwageopportunitiesenticedvalve
companiestoformsubsidiariesincountriessuchasChinaandIndia.However,therapidlyrising
wagesinthosecountriescausedashiftofcontrolvalveproductiontocloservenues,suchas
Mexico.Foreignplantsbecameprimarilysuppliersforlocalmarkets.

Fortunately,thereisstilllittletofearfromforeignmanufacturersofcontrolvalvestryingtoimportto
theU.S.market.Controlvalves,especiallyforthelargeU.S.petrochemicalmarket,aretypically
custombuildtomeetspecificprocessconditions.Inaddition,localvendorsarepreferreddueto
theirestablishedreputationandeaseofcommunication.

Atpresent,themarketoutlookismildlyoptimistic,primarilyduetotherecentnewopportunities
foundinfrackingfornaturalgasandintheconversionofpowerplantsfromcoaltonaturalgas.
AdditionalexportopportunitiesexistinChina,consideringtheirhighrateofnuclearpowerplant
construction.

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