Monday, September 14, 2015

No Compressed Air? Use Water to Power Your Valve Actuator.

Hytork XLW Water Powered Valve Actuator
XLW Water Powered Valve Actuator
Courtesy Hytork
Air is everywhere, but very little of it is compressed for our use in powering a valve actuator. Sometimes, possibly at sites located remotely, a reliable source of compressed air is unavailable for process control valve actuation. Installing an air compressor at the site may be an option, but one with impact on the reliability of the installation deemed undesirable. One possible solution is a water powered valve actuator. With mains water available, pressurized within the range of 60 to 100 psi (4-7 bar), actuator power can be derived and valve operation successfully achieved.

Water always presents its own set of special considerations, not the least of which is that it tends to corrode most metals used in construction of actuator parts over time. Of additional concern are the particulates present in water systems which can cause premature deterioration of seals and scoring of cylinders in the actuator. Directional control solenoid valves will also function more reliably with a water supply free of larger particulates. While this is a concern, the solution is simply to place an inexpensive filter upstream of the devices, eliminating the contaminates from the water supply.

While it is possible to employ some "standard" actuators in a water powered setting, there are special adaptations that can be applied to common actuator design to better suit the use of water power. One manufacturer, Hytork, has done just that with their XLW Series of water operated actuators. The XLW Series is a water powered adaptation of the company's successful XL Series actuators. Special coatings are applied to critical parts to provide necessary protection for water applications. There are other differences between the compressed air and water versions of the actuator, detailed in the installation and operating instruction manual shown below. The manual is short enough to be read in a couple minutes (really, just a couple minutes) and provides useful and illustrative information about actuator construction, operating characteristics, and maintenance requirements.

Contact a valve application specialist for more information, or to discuss any of your fluid control application needs.