Control valve automation technology provides the ability to accurately monitor and adjust valve operations within process flow. A variety of factors go into systems design, including the particular application in question, the components necessary to achieve objectives, and the cost to purchase and operate the equipment.

With countless types of valves to consider, no one-size-fits-all solution exists. The nature of process control systems contributes to the complexity of both design and operation. Fortunately, valve automation control technology has contributed significantly to improving outcomes.

As technology continues to improve, so to will the outcomes of those operations and organizations that utilize the technology. Today, we will look more closely at the role of control valve automation and how future technological advances will improve process flow and, ultimately, your results.

Life Before the Automation of Valve Control

Prior to the advent of automated control technology, valves could only be controlled through human involvement and manipulation. The human factor posed a variety of challenges. In fact, the potential for human error was a constant threat to successful operation. In addition, safety risks were pervasive, particularly in dangerous or hazardous scenarios. Operational costs were also high, due to the human control factor, as workers were required to be in place at all times when processes were running. The ability to monitor and adjust performance was limited to the (often fallible) human powers of observation and the ability – and availability – to adjust valve settings.

It is understandable how much the advent of valve control technology was able to change the nature of processes control.

How Technology Affects Valves & Process Control

Today, controls automation technology plays a pivotal role in processes of all sizes and types. Automatic valve actuators can control operations with little or no human input or interaction (beyond original programming and any necessary adjustments).

As a result, processes became significantly less labor intensive. At the same time, reliability and performance improved, thanks to the exacting standards that automation enabled. Improved efficiency with reduced costs contributed directly to lower overhead.

Today, control valve automation technology is significantly better than it was in the early days of automation. And the best news is that, thanks to ongoing advances in technology, results continue to improve.

The Future of Control Valve Automation

As technology continues its rapid advancement in virtually every industry and sector, it is impossible to discount how profoundly new technological advancements will affect control valve automation.

As this occurs, some of the primary areas of focus will include the following.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is of pressing concern across the board, affecting how every industry is approaching its processes, production and technology. Energy efficiency concerns affect many aspects of controls technology, with environmental concerns leading the charge in the press to reduce energy consumption. These efforts have much deeper impacts for individual users of technology, however. The more energy efficient the components, the less they cost to operate. This will lead directly to a reduction in operating costs.

Cost Effectiveness

If we refer back to the tenets of Moore’s Law, we can see how it applies to the technology powering control valve automation. Moore essentially postulated that, as computing technology increases in efficiency, components become smaller, faster and less expensive. In our industry, we can expect to see this trend continue, as we gain processing power while having to spend less money for component investments. Today’s volatile economy is contributing significantly toward the push for greater cost efficacy in all controls components.

Predictive Diagnostics

The ability to predict performance – particularly the potential for predicting component malfunctions and failures – continues to be one of the most pressing issues faced by the controls industry. In literally any scenario or application, having the ability to run reliable predictive diagnostics is critical to smooth, ongoing operations. Watch for the development of improved technology for control valve diagnostics and the positive changes this will bring to the industry.

The Future of Control Valve Diagnostics Is Now

The continued advances in control valve automation technology contribute directly to improved safety and efficiency. The ability to monitor processes – and to quickly and efficiently address potential issues ad hoc – leads to even more profound improvements.

Automatic control valve diagnostics equipment is crucial for optimal functioning and ongoing performance. SofTek Engineering is proud to be on the cutting edge of these technologies, with our Profiler and Profiler Mini systems.

We understand the importance of continued improvement of our products and services. We provide regular updates to our valve diagnostic testing software, helping our customers confront and address the many challenges they face in their process automation efforts.

Our valve diagnostic testing systems are easy to operate, even in the most challenging of environments. We provide the ability to customize our systems to meet whatever your needs might be. Our advanced graphical interface returns immediate feedback, allowing you to determine what’s going on in real time. You have the ability to adjust and fine-tune performance without interrupting processes. This helps reduce downtime while improving both safety and efficiency. Fewer service interruptions contribute directly to your organizational success.

To learn more about SofTek Engineering and our suite of valve profiler systems, contact us today.