Introducing Wiggle the solution to ‘sticky’ valves.

SmartAct Electric Actuator Wiggle Feature
SmartAct Wiggle feature

We at SmartAct have developed a solution to the longstanding problem of infrequently used valves becoming stuck or ‘sticky’.

The software feature known as ‘WIGGLE’ allows the actuator to be programmed to move the valve at regular, user defined, intervals and amounts. This feature has shown positive early results in reducing the build-up of material which causes valves to seize in position.

Once again The Smart Actuator Company proves it is one of the front runners in innovative thinking.

As a new manufacturer in the electric actuator market SmartAct has spent a lot of time over the last 5 years asking questions of potential distributors, end users and even other manufacturers about the problems faced by suppliers of valves and actuators.

How valves become sticky.

One regular problem that was described was the tendency of valves to ‘stick’ or ‘seize’ in positions when being used in an application with long or infrequent duty cycle times.

In many instances this problem alone accounts for the need to replace valves altogether after relatively short working life times. At the very least it often requires pipelines to be shut down while regular maintenance and valve seat cleaning is carried out. The problem occurs much less often in applications.

Working with Severn Subsea Technologies in Redruth, Cornwall, on projects for two of their clients, SmartAct saw first-hand how quickly equipment deployed in the marine environment can be colonised by marine micro-organisms. In one particular application 6 inch KSB Butterfly Valves are required to stay open to allow sea water to pass through and only open and close once each day. In another application regular wave splash and occasional immersion to up to 5 meters caused similar problems in a Mars Ball valve, again with infrequent duty cycles.

SmartAct Medium Energy Efficient Smart Actuator

Working with Severn Subsea Technologies in Redruth, Cornwall, on projects for two of their clients, SmartAct saw first-hand how quickly equipment deployed in the marine environment can be colonised by marine micro-organisms. In one particular application 6 inch KSB Butterfly Valves are required to stay open to allow sea water to pass through and only open and close once each day. In another application regular wave splash and occasional immersion to up to 5 meters caused similar problems in a Mars Ball valve, again with infrequent duty cycles.

The SmartAct distributor in the Netherlands, Ebora Process Automation, also identified the same problem with many of their clients. They asked if a solution could be developed.

“Even apparently clean fluids can cause deposits in valves that are not in regular use; as these build up they can cause valves to either function badly or cease to function altogether”.

How ‘WIGGLE’ prevents valves from sticking.

Regular operation ‘cleans’ the valve seat and prevents build-up of material that can cause the vale to stick in position. The action of the valve against the seat does not allow the micro-organisms to settle and grow within the valve.

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) in the SmartAct Actuators electronic control boards can be programmed to open and close any valve to a set angle on a time schedule. This can be to just a few degrees or the full duty cycle. SmartAct commissioned the software work required as part of their Horizon 2020 European Union Funding Project and has now added the feature, which has been christened ‘WIGGLE’, to the advanced features available through the Android App.

James O’Donnell, SmartAct Technical Director says ‘We are developing a reputation as the company that can solve problems other manufacturers can’t. When we introduced our first medium actuator in 2014 we designed it to be flexible and multi-featured. Thank goodness we did because as our sales volumes are rising we are able to add in new features like ‘WIGGLE’ to react to customer demand’.

The SmartAct Subsea Actuator has been Tested successfully to 800 meters & Certificated to 750 Meters. It was the first actuator from SmartAct to include the ‘Wiggle’ feature to help keep the value seats  clean. This has also now been added to the standard medium SmartAct RIFT 40-100 Nm actuator and as an additional advanced option on the Small 0-30 Nm actuator.

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