Customers matter when it comes to delivering safety interlocks

2 April 2013

Shipping coordinator Joe Blunt plays a vital role in ensuring our valve control products reach our customers wherever and whenever they want them.

Smith Flow Control recently sponsored Joe to do an Advanced Apprenticeship in Customer Service and the dividend is already paying off.


By taking a customer-focussed approach to shipping, Joe is responsive to our customers’ project requirements and can respond quickly if their needs change, such as requiring valve interlocks delivered sooner or to a different location.

“If we didn’t have Joe our goods wouldn’t leave the premises, it’s as simple as that,” comments Clive Lyme, SFC’s Customer Services Manager. “Not only that, he’s also the key link between the company and the customer – an important and often underrated role. He’s the person who ensures our customers get what they want, where they want and when they want – whether they’re in the Niger Delta or the north coast of Alaska.”

“Sponsoring Joe to do the apprenticeship was a great investment. By adding customer service to his shipping coordinator’s role, we’re adding real value to what he does and what our customers experience.”

Smith Flow Control to Feature Valve Safety Products at Valve World

10 March 2013

Erlanger, Ky. (April 16, 2013) – Smith Flow Control will feature three of its core product groups at Valve World Americas Expo & Conference 2013.


The company will display its FlexiDrive and EasiDrive valve operating systems, as well as its valve interlocks, in booth No. 748 from June 25 to 26 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

FlexiDrive allows remote operation of valves in hard-to-reach or exposed areas. Its flexible linear drive cable connects a hand wheel to a valve up to 100 feet away, and can operate in water up to 50 feet and temperatures from -65 to +400 degrees Fahrenheit.

EasiDrive, a portable valve actuator, is ideal for use wherever there are manually operated valves with high-operating torques or valves that take hundreds of hand-wheel turns to operate.

Smith Flow Control’s valve interlocks ensure potentially hazardous valve operations are performed in the correct sequence, eliminating the possibility of operator error or deliberate sabotage.

Mechanical Safety Interlocking for Simple and Complex Pig Trap Procedures

10 February 2013

Pig trap accidents caused by operator error can be prevented using Smith Flow Control’s (SFC) key interlock systems.

Mechanical key safety interlocking is the only technology that can meet the universally accepted safety requirement for loading and unloading pig traps by ensuring that the vessel is vented before it is possible to open the vessel closure. Operators cannot bypass the safety system and this eliminates the risk of ‘operator error’.

SFC interlocks can be specified to ensure the minimum safety arrangement of interlocking the vent valve with the pig trap closure; this guarantees that the vent is open and depressurised before the operator is permitted to open the closure door.operator is permitted to open the closure door.

Pig_Launcher1_blog Pig trap with SFC interlocks (in yellow)

Motor operated valves (MOVs) are frequently used and interlocked as part of the pig trapping procedure because valves are too large and cumbersome for manual operations. When power actuated valves need to be interlocked with manually operated valves and the vessel closure, the key interlock system verifies the valve’s position (open and/or closed), independent of any on-board instrument indication. In the event of a power failure during these procedures, the integrity of the key sequence is maintained even if the valve is to be operated manually. This is achieved by inserting a coded key into the interlock fitted to the manual override hand-wheel assembly which engages the drive mechanism; other coded keys in the sequence are only released once the valve has completed its full stroke.

Sometimes operating sequences on launcher/receiver systems can include complex variations. The range of process applications to which SFC interlocks can be applied is unlimited and tailored systems can be designed for specific client process requirements. For example, the simplest interlock system is linear but, on occasion, non-linear sequences are necessary to incorporate the control of complex Nitrogen purging, pressure equalisation, venting and draining. For this SFC has designed a Sequence Control Unit (SCU) which is a mechanical key issuing device located close to the valve. It differs from the traditional key exchange units in that, upon inserting a permit key, a selector knob is rotated to a fixed position before the next key is issued. In this way, complex sequences can be accommodated, using the same safety principles.

Sequence_Control_Unit_blogSequence Control Unit for complex sequences

The final, major part of the sequence involves interlocking the vessel door.  SFC’s DL3 interlock device is customised to suit any make or type of enclosure door and completes the safety interlock solution for the safe operation of a pig launcher/receiver system.  The DL3 interlock ensures total isolation before the vessel door can be opened.  When the DL3 is incorporated into vessel access safety procedures, total equipment and personnel safety is assured.


coded key (green) allows the vessel closure to be opened

EasiDrive Valve Actuators Optimal for Power Industry

20 January 2013

Erlanger, KY (January 11, 2013) – Smith Flow Control has an affordable tool for companies in the power industry to safely and economically control valve operations. The EasiDrive portable valve actuator securely operates valves in power plants. One user can easily operate multiple high-torque or high-turn valves with a single torque driver while reducing risk of injury caused by fatigue or valves located in hard-to-reach areas.


EasiDrive is a lightweight, portable tool that can be powered by air, electricity or battery and costs less than a dedicated actuator. Unlike an impact wrench that can damage a valve, the EasiDrive is a continuous drive system. The tool’s reaction arm protects the operator from the “kick” common in other torque tools by safely transmitting the torque to the valve and away from the person using it.  EasiDrive features a variable output torque adjustment that is available in sizes of maximum output from 350 to 8,500 foot pounds.

SFC Praises Agents and Distributors for Valve World Exhibition Success

20 November 2012

Safety engineering company Smith Flow Control recently attended the Valve World Conference and Exhibition, held at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre from 27 to 29 November 2012.

The show, which saw a total of 10,300 trade visitors from more than 50 countries attend, was the perfect opportunity for Smith Flow Control to demonstrate its range of key-interlock products, of which SFC has become synonymous, in addition to product solutions for special applications and tailored requirements.  The EasiDrive, portable valve actuator system and FlexiDrive, remote valve drive system generated a large amount of interest and visitors were able to speak directly with experts at the stand and demo the systems.


Smith Flow Control’s team of experts was supported by CEA, Chemie- und Energie- Armaturen GmbH of Germany and PNE Teknik A/S of Denmark, providing an opportunity for SFC to work collaboratively with its network of international agents and distributors.

Sander van den Bos, SFC’s Netherlands Manager states: ‘The support provided by our agents has been exceptional and we would like to thank them on behalf of everyone at Smith Flow Control for their continued commitment and passion towards the brand and help in making the show such a success. The show offered the opportunity to strengthen relationships with our existing customer base and successfully opened new opportunities for growth.’

EasiDrive Provides Safe, Economical Valve Operation

14 November 2012

Erlanger, KY (November 26, 2012) – Smith Flow Control has ushered in an affordable way for companies to safely manage valve operations. The EasiDrive portable valve actuator securely and effectively operates valves in power plants, oil refineries, paper mills and chemical processing facilities.

EasiDrive offset gearbox Long arms BLOG

One operator can efficiently operate multiple valves with a single tool while reducing fatigue and injury risk. The tool is especially effective on valves that require a high number of turns or are otherwise difficult to operate because of high torque or location.

EasiDrive is a lightweight, portable and adaptable tool that can be powered by air, electricity or battery.  The tool’s reaction device protects the user from the “kick” normally associated with other torque tools.  EasiDrive also features a variable output torque adjustment that is available in sizes of maximum output from 350 to 8,500 foot pounds.  Unlike an impact wrench that can damage a valve, the EasiDrive is a continuous drive system.

Easy Mounting IML Lock eases Maintenance of Valves and Actuators

29 October 2012

Erlanger, KY (October 15, 2012) – Smith Flow Control (SFC) has introduced its ISO-pattern IML intermediate lock with universal mounting. The IML lock uses an operating key to lock the actuator in an open or closed position so that the valve cannot turn — no matter what. No custom brackets are required; any valve or actuator with ISO standard mountings is compatible with the IML lock.

The Smith Flow Control IML intermediate lock prevents valve from opening or closing in any situation

The Smith Flow Control IML intermediate lock prevents valve from opening or closing in any situation

In normal operations, actuated valves respond to process commands in a pre-determined way. But during maintenance, the command architecture may need to be stopped. Ensuring that the valves are set in their failsafe position enables work to be done safely. The IML intermediate lock is available as a key-operated system from the control room or as a standalone lock-out system. Lock Boxes are available with base tags that match up to each lock-out key for ease of identification.

The IML lock is made of sturdy 316 stainless steel built for harsh environments. All ISO 5211 patterns –- F05, F07, F10, F12, F14, and F16 –- are covered by the IML’s six models.

SFC Launches New Regulator Packs to Ensure Safe Operation of Valves

21 October 2012

EasiDrive is a valve operating system that actuates hard-to-operate valves in power plants, chemical processing facilities and oil refineries. It is ideal for use wherever there are manually operated valves with high operating torques, hundreds of hand-wheel turns to open/close or are just difficult to operate.

To ensure the correct amount of torque is set to the EasiDrive system, Smith Flow Control (SFC) has now introduced a series of Filter Regulator Lube (FRL) packs. FRL packs manage the output available to drive the valve, preventing human error that can result in improper use of the system.


FRL packs have been designed in a range of colours so they can be identified and applied correctly to a range of valve systems.  Packs can be factory set on a second regulator to limit the pressure to the specially calibrated torque device, reducing the output available to drive the valve. This now means that even though an operator can adjust the first regulator, the second will be set to a maximum pressure point, which can never be surpassed.

Mike Fynes, Sales & Marketing Director at Smith Flow Control, comments, “This product has been designed to address the issues associated with applying incorrect torque at sites and will ensure the safe operation of the valve. The new packs have been adapted to include storage for the pneumatic gun- this makes it easy to carry the equipment and assemble the system on site.”

The new series of Filter Regulator Lube Packs will be launched at Valve World, Düsseldorf 27-29 November.