New technologies boost efficiency of control valve diagnostics0
It’s been 30 years since control valve suppliers started providing plant managers and engineers with control valve diagnostics that help organize planning shutdown activities. The first diagnostics tools were developed during the 1980s, and since then the technology has taken giant leaps, further providing a wide range of new possibilities, according to InTech.
Today real-time diagnostic information is not only widely available, it has been enhanced to the point that when the process is online, it is possible to predict and even prevent possible disturbances. Industry users are now taking advantage of the additional information available and adopting predictive maintenance strategies to gain more value in the process industry every year.
Third generation of diagnostics are now also playing a significant role in modernizing operations by easing the shift from traditional corrective and schedule-based processes to predictive maintenance and prevention.
Ten years have passed since the launch of the first intelligent valve controllers, and the technology has been further developed and refined. These days, state-of-the-art devices are capable of processing the collected diagnostics information to visualize the condition of the valve in question.
The information is then displayed in a more user-friendly manner and is generally easier to understand. By comparison, with first and second generation diagnostics a valve specialist has to be able to analyze the available data and make conclusions based on it; with the third-generation diagnostics this is no longer the case.
Improved valve management software is now available, and it works with intelligent valve controllers to process the existing data and represent it in an easy-to-understand display, which includes five different indices: control performance index, valve condition index, actuator condition index, positioner condition index, and environmental conditions index.
The screen also displays information available from a new generation of intelligent balancing valves that provide more information using several built-in sensors that measure various internal parameters. Since the indices are generated using experience-based mathematical algorithms, users with less valve know-how can evaluate the condition of the control valve in question and make informed maintenance decisions.
Control valve diagnostics tools have taken a giant leap since the first devices were introduced in the 1980s. The third-generation diagnostics are taking predictive control valve maintenance to a new level, making it possible to enhance maintenance efficiency, improve process performance, and achieve significant maintenance cost savings. In the years to come, it remains to be seen whether users will take full advantage of these new features. These new possibilities should help improve the value of predictive maintenance practices, leading them to be more widely adopted among the industry and to become the industry standard.