Efficient Plant November 2017 - 24

feature | controlling flow
Fig. 1. One of the best
ways to add automation
to an existing system
is to use an actuator
instead of a hand-wheel
and operate the valve
with a control cabinet,
as shown here. Using a
cabinet for local control,
an Ethernet wire is
all that's needed to
ensure communication
throughout the facility.

types of sensors that the automated controls will rely
on for system feedback. Temperature, turbidity, flow,
and pressure are common measurements in a water
facility. Once a sensor inventory is completed, note
which are critical for operation, those that are required for safe operation, and which may be luxuries.
With this list, a minimum and maximum requirement
for the inputs and outputs (I/O) can be determined.
Different types of systems can be configured to allow
expansion.
Sensors can be used as triggers to initiate a sequence of events or a single operation in an automated system. For example, a sensor may indicate to the
controller-typically a programmable logic controller
(PLC)-that the pressure is too low and that a filter
may be clogged. This can cause the system to pause
the operation until the filter is replaced. When the
sensor indicates an acceptable pressure level, the PLC
can notify an operator or automatically turn on the
flow.
In addition to pressure measurements, other operations can include a sequence of automated valves
opening and closing based on time, level, tempera-

24

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

ture, and water condition. A likely scenario begins
with a large butterfly valve providing the water to the
system. This valve may be operated manually as it is
opened at the beginning of the day and closed at the
end, or that same valve may be automatically opened
and closed. The water passing through the butterfly
valve is then transported to a filtration skid or preparation equipment before it's diverted to another area
of the plant.
Depending on the required filtration, multiple
valve-actuator assemblies are likely to be installed,
and they can be controlled by a PLC in a control
cabinet. These valves will divert the water through
multiple filtration assemblies. Such systems are often
configured to remove large particles first and smaller
particles afterwards.

VALVE ASSEMBLIES
With many automated-valve configurations, including
pneumatic and electrical signals, a short run of wires
to the control cabinet can save costly installation and
difficult, time-consuming troubleshooting time if an
open circuit becomes an issue (Fig. 2). Using a cabinet

NOVEMBER 2017


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Efficient Plant November 2017 - Cover1
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