News

Dust plugs and vinyl bags keep interlocks working in the harshest conditions

3 July 2014

When operating in the most extreme environmental conditions, such as deserts or offshore, keeping valves free from sand and salt can be a thankless task.

To help operators deal with this issue Smith Flow Control has developed a range of dust plugs and vinyl bags to keep interlocks free from the worst of the elements, even in the most hostile environments.

Dust plugs

Dust plugs are a simple and highly effective way to prevent dust and dirt ingress into key interlocks. Made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) and fitted with a ‘soft sealing’ aperture gasket, the plug is inserted into the key aperture as soon as one of the coded keys is removed. By creating a tight fit, the plug seals the aperture and will not become dislodged, allowing the operator to complete the assigned task.

SFC Dust plugs for complete lock protection

 

Vinyl bags

A simpler solution, these robust covers envelop the complete interlock unit and protect key aperture points and lock bodies. They are weather- and dust-proof and also have UV protection so they don’t deteriorate in the sun. The bags can be fitted to both handwheel- and lever-operated valves and a drawstring allows then to be tightly closed and firmly attached to the interlocked valve.

SFC Vinyl bag for complete lock protection

Both of these products are simple to use and provide a powerful physical barrier, whatever the elements are throwing at valve interlocks, giving operators peace of mind.

Portable Valve Actuation for Water and Wastewater Installations

23 June 2014

Operating valves in water and wastewater installations can be a laborious and dangerous task, especially if the valves are used infrequently, corroded or have varying torque requirements.

Smith Flow Control’s EasiDrive portable valve actuator is designed specifically for these scenarios, by allowing operatives to operate valves without the need for dedicated valve actuators.

With the EasiDrive the operator has absolute control. One person can efficiently drive multiple valves with a single tool, reducing fatigue and risk of injury and resulting in major cost and time savings.

A unique feature is a ‘reaction kit’ which prevents a torque kickback, ensuring valve movement is always fully controlled and preventing operator injury and fatigue. In addition, the variable torque output feature, which prevents excessive torque being applied, ensures proper and safe valve operation at all times.

EasiDrive is highly versatile and can be powered by air, electricity or battery, giving the user ultimate control over their preferred choice. It can also be custom designed to suit specific site requirements.

Portable Valve Actuation for Water and Wastewater Installations

 

SFC’s technology makes valve interlock adjustment effortless

17 June 2014

Trapped-key interlocks offer enhanced safety and efficiency for the most difficult process management challenges. Mounted directly to valves, interlocks ensure a process only happens in the correct operational sequence.

Trapped-key Interlocks for handwheel-operated valves are different from those for lever-operated valves, as the latter only have a finite movement (normally 90 degrees). Interlocks on handwheel-operated valves, however, usually require several full revolutions between the locked open and locked closed positions.

Because of this, handwheel operated interlocks need to be able to ‘count’ the number of handwheel turns in order to release keys in the required open and/or closed positions. Similarly, with gate and globe valves, the closed position can vary through the effects of valve seat wear. After a period of use, the closed position on gate and globe valves may have altered. This can mean that when the valve is shut tight, the interlock (closed) key will not release as the valve has travelled past the original set key release position.

Smith Flow Control’s (SFC’s) GL Interlocks are ideal for this scenario as they can be adjusted in-situ in a matter of minutes simply by operating the valve back to the original key release position in two easy steps:

  1. Using the special tamperproof tool (provided), the interlock cover is removed and the set screws adjusted
  2. The valve is then operated again to its shut tight (closed) position and the screws are retightened (reset) in the new position

This simple in-situ adjustment feature is unique to SFC’s GL interlock and provides a fast and efficient method of maintaining valve interlocks on site.

SFC’s technology makes valve interlock adjustment effortless

EasiDrive – the most versatile valve operation tool available

15 May 2014

EasiDrive portable valve actuator is quite possibly the most versatile valve operation tool available. Carried in a rucksack, it is specially designed for use with valves requiring a large number of turns or which are otherwise difficult to operate because of high torque or harsh climate conditions. Smith Flow Control’s EasiDrive portable valve actuator is quite possibly the most versatile valve operation tool available. Carried in a rucksack, it is specially designed for use with valves requiring a large number of turns or which are otherwise difficult to operate because of high torque or harsh climate conditions.

With the EasiDrive the operator has absolute control when opening and closing different sized valves with varying torque requirements. One person can efficiently drive banks of valves with a single tool, reducing fatigue and risk of injury and resulting in major cost and time savings. It can be used in virtually any industry, from oil refineries and petrochemical plants to power stations and paper mills.

Key features of the EasiDrive:
• Low cost alternative to permanent actuators
• No permanent power supply required
• Ideal for minimum facilities installations
• Suitable for all climatic conditions
• Wide band torque capability with variable torque adjustment as standard
• Ideal for moving tight or partially-seized valves
• Adaptable to any size/type of valve
• Eliminates operator fatigue and greatly reduces the risk of injury
• No ‘kickback’ often associated with other torque devices
• Variable output torque – so no damage to valves by ‘over-torquing’
• Reduces work crew tasks to one-man operation
• Fully portable – can manage banks of valves with a single drive tool

The ‘reaction kit’, which prevents a torque kickback, is especially useful as valve movement is always fully controlled, preventing operator injury and fatigue. In addition, the variable torque output feature, which prevents excessive torque being applied, ensures proper and safe valve operation at all times.

EasiDrive is highly versatile and can be powered by air, electricity or battery, giving the user ultimate control over their preferred choice. It can also be custom designed to suit specific site requirements.

Smith Flow Control demonstrating safety products at Hazards 24

28 April 2014

Hazardous Area OperationsConveniently located at the entrance (Stand 21), Smith Flow Control will be demonstrating its safety products at Hazards 24, IChemE’s leading process safety conference (7– 9th May, Edinburgh).

On display will be SFC’s extensive range of interlocks which control the sequence of events for safety-critical process activities, eliminating the scope for human error.

Also on show will be drive systems which improve efficiency and enhance operator safety when operating valves. The EasiDrive portable valve actuator is effective on valves that require many turns or those that are difficult to operate due to high torque or challenging climate conditions.

For more on SFC’s products please visit the company’s brand new website at www.smithflowcontrol.com.

Smith Flow Control Celebrates New Distributor Agreement in Kuwait

24 April 2014

Al Zahem International Group

Smith Flow Control (SFC), the global market leader in valve interlocking, is delighted to confirm the signing of a Distributor Agreement with Al-Zahem International Group, to provide technical and commercial support locally in Kuwait.

Mike Fynes, SFC’s Sales and Marketing Director, comments, “Following our recent collaboration with Al-Zahem International at the Global Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition (GOGCE) in Kuwait, we are thrilled to appoint them as our official distributor in the region.”

Al-Zahem International Group was established in 1991, to provide the oil, energy and industrial sections with specialist products and services. They are a company, which specialize in offering innovative product solutions and immediately saw the huge potential of the EasiDrive, portable valve actuator system, in addition to SFC’s full range of interlocking solutions. Plans are already in place to offer customer demonstration days and Sales Tours in conjunction with Smith Flow Control.

Mike adds, “Al-Zahem International has virtues very similar to our own. They have a commitment to quality and professionalism, which allows them to successfully attract repeat business and forge long term relationships with numerous EPCs, contractors and end users. This will help support and enhance our plans for growth in 2014 across Kuwait.”

The Countdown to Smith Flow Control’s 30th Anniversary Begins!

22 April 2014

The Countdown to Smith Flow Control’s 30th Anniversary Begins!

The Countdown to Smith Flow Control’s 30th Anniversary Begins!

April 2015 will see Smith Flow Control celebrating its 30th anniversary. In that time the company has developed into a highly respected, global market leader in valve interlocking. To kick off the year-long preparations for the anniversary, the company is delighted to announce the unveiling of a brand new website.

With a clean, uncluttered design, improved functionality and rich content, the new website allows visitors to easily find what they’re looking for with minimal fuss. All the essential information, like product and service details, is there, along with a regularly updated industry section. We’ll be posting regular updates about our anniversary plans, so why not pay the site a visit?

Smith Flow Control Celebrates New Distributor Agreement in the Middle East

1 April 2014

Smith Flow Control (SFC), the global market leader in valve interlocking, is delighted to confirm the signing of a new distributor agreement with Econosto BV to provide technical and commercial support locally in the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Egypt.

Mike Fynes, SFC’s Sales and Marketing Director, comments, “Following our recent sales tour to the Gulf Region we are thrilled to partner with Econosto.  The company has vital in-depth knowledge of markets across the Gulf and a vast number of established relationships with EPCs, contractors and end users, which will only help to enhance and support our plans for 2014.”

Econosto has grown from strength to strength in the Middle East since its first pioneering efforts in 1983.  The company’s headquarters are in Dubai, which is pivotal to SFC’s growth plans in the UAE, but will also benefit from the exposure of Econosto’s regional offices and partners across most of the Gulf countries.

Econosto - Middle East New Distributor Offices
Plans are already in place for SFC to undertake regular sales tours in the Middle East, in conjunction with Econosto, showcasing the full range of interlocks and valve management systems, most notably the EasiDrive portable valve actuator, a cost effective alternative to permanent dedicated valve actuators.  Mike adds, “The proposed sales tours will only help to strengthen and further enhance the relationship with Econosto and we are looking forward to seeing the relationship evolve.”

Econosto New Distributor Agreement

SFC Launches FlexiDrive II Remote Valve Operator with New Counter Mechanism

5 March 2014

Smith Flow Control confirms the launch of FlexiDrive II, a dependable, versatile and cost effective remote valve operator.

The FlexiDrive II includes a new fully integrated counter mechanism, failsafe even in the most aggressive of environments. The counter mechanism displays valve position (open/closed), providing the operator with a clear indication of valve status.

Smith Flow Control’s FlexiDrive II valve operator can be applied to any handwheel operated valve, including lever operated valves (quarter turns) in oil, gas or petrochemical processing plants to make them constantly accessible and safe, regardless of location.

Remote valve operator - FlexiDrive

The FlexiDrive II system allows the user to operate a valve in a place of safety/convenience.  It is adaptable to any conventional valve with no modification requirements.  A patented, flexible, linear drive cable effectively delivers rotary torque for distances up to 30 metres. The system can be passed through and around walls, bulkheads and floors, and is completely sealed and lubricated for maintenance-free, continuous loop operation.

FlexiDrive II is constructed from corrosion-resistant, 316 Stainless Steel and can be submerged into flooded pits. It is designed to withstand temperatures from -30 to 175 degrees Celsius and is delivered as a complete sealed unit.

FlexiDrive II is a unique solution to remote valve operation and removes issues associated with valve access in potentially hazardous areas.

Smith Flow Control Introduces TorkDrive to Prevent Plant Shut-Down and Protect Plant Assets

1 February 2014

TorkDrive mounted on Gate Valve with Spring Sets

Smith Flow Control launches TorkDrive, a device that can be mounted to either the valve input handwheel or directly to the valve input shaft to safeguard the valve from excessive torque.

TorkDrive has two distinct benefits. It prevents valve damage, thus reducing the need for expensive plant shutdown and valve replacement (through over-torque) and provides vital information regarding site maintenance requirements.

TorkDrive can increase valve life as it prevents the operator from applying excessive force when closing the valve, protecting the valve seat. TorkDrive controls the torque applied when operating a valve, ensuring that the same force is used regardless of the strength of the operator.

TorkDrive can be incorporated seamlessly into plant maintenance systems and schedules. TorkDrive is set to a predetermined maximum torque and, if during the operation cycle of the valve, the operating torque increases above the maximum limit, the TorkDrive will slip, indicating an irregular valve condition. This will alert the operator to report the valve status to Site Maintenance, rather than continue to apply force to the valve.

TorkDrive boasts a compact design, weighing less than 4kg, despite an all-mechanical construction. It is a completely maintenance free device, made from 316 Stainless Steel and is suitable for oil refineries, power plants, paper mills, water plants and chemical processing facilities. TorkDrive withstands temperatures from -20°C to +100°C, with a torque setting range from 80Nm – 420Nm. TorkDrive can be installed directly to manually operated valves, requiring torque monitoring over 80Nm (Ball, Gear, Gate & Globe etc). TorkDrive also benefits from IP65 protection, safeguarding the device in the most aggressive of environments.

TorkDrive features unique clutch plates that are controlled by a series of calibrated compression springs. Two spring set configurations are available, a low range TorkDrive unit offering a maximum torque output range between 80Nm – 280Nm and a high range unit offering 250Nm-420Nm. Each unit is factory set before installation and the unit can be adjusted to suit the host equipment’s torque requirements using a calibrated setting scale within the body of the device. Each spring set has a unique colour code, thus ensuring that the correct torque range is always used.

TorkDrive comes complete with a tool for making fine adjustments.

The TorkDrive is supplied with bespoke adaptation to the host valve and its own operating handwheel/lever.