Manual or motorised valves?

11 December 2017

Why a PVA ?

Valves are commonplace in industrial plants, particularly in the chemical, petrochemical, water supply and electricity sectors, as well as in many processing industries. The valves come in 2 types – manually opened valves or motorised valves which are operated either in proximity or from a distance. It’s not always worth (and not always possible) motorising each of the valves. For a start, this requires significant investment as well as on-going maintenance costs; secondly, it isn’t always necessary to fix an actuator to every valve. Finally, in some cases, it simply isn’t technically possible to install a fixed actuator, either because the valve is too old or because it is in an isolated position and there is no accessible power feed.

The advantage of motorised valves is that they can be actuated often, without any effort.

They are used in particular for regulation purposes and can be controlled or piloted via an electric or pneumatic servomotor.

Manual valves are, in general, less common. Often they are isolation valves or valves used to secure a part of the network. Whether for financial reasons (investment and maintenance costs) or for technical reasons, it may not be possible to motorise these valves, and they then have to be actuated manually by operators via a handwheel.

Manual valves have a number of disadvantages. They can be difficult to manoeuvre, especially if they are stuck, or difficult to access, or they may need to be turned many times which can result in a long, hard task for operators.

Also, manual valves require maintenance and need to be actuated regularly to stop them from seizing up. Unfortunately, such preventative measures are rarely implemented as much as they should be, due to time constraints and also, no doubt, because the task can be arduous for the operators. But the less a valve is turned, the more difficult it becomes to open and then the problem simply gets bigger and bigger.

These problems of manipulation can also be problematic in terms of health and safety. Operators who actuate manual valves daily are at risk of injury or occupational health problems (tendonitis, musculoskeletal illness). Also, if they have to use force to open the valve, they may use a make-shift method, such as a lever bar lodged into the handwheel that they hit with a hammer, which puts them at greater risk of injury and increases the likelihood of breaking the valve or damaging the equipment.

So, in short, there’s a risk of manual valves being incorrectly or under-used. In effect, because they are difficult to actuate, they are only opened when absolutely necessary and end up being little used, which can lead to safety problems for both equipment and employees.

But what if it was possible to make it easier to turn manual valves? A simple tool that can actuate valves and handwheels with no effort, quickly and without danger… Discover THE solution to motorising a manual valve!

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Bruno Martin
Bruno Martin

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