ancient solders riding the chariot

Rethinking the wheel

Anne Cunningham - 3 December 2015

Technology is evolving

About the author

Ms Anne Cunningham
Anne Cunningham is a freelance member of Valve World magazine's editorial team and owner of Cunningham Text & Translation where she works as a text writer, (online) news editor and translator. Raised bilingual, she is experienced in writing about the process industries in both English and Dutch.
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We have just started the last month of this year and thus also the last issue of Valve World for 2015. It should be arriving on your doorstep soon and you will quickly note that the Special Focus of this issue is actuation. Since the industry started switching from manually operated valves to actuator operated valves, there have been a lot of new developments in the actuator industry. Actuators are most often powered by gas pressure, hydraulic pressure, or electricity. Recently, a new actuator for the operation of process valves was introduced to the market and for some reason it caught my attention. It’s not a massive break through or game changer to the entire industry, but it is one of those developments that have the potential to take the industry to a different level.

On November 10 of this year at the BrauBeviale 2015 in Nuremburg, KM Rustfri A/S launched its latest product, Hydract. It is a universal fit, water-hydraulic actuator for the operation of process valves. The newly developed and patented actuator uses water at a pressure of 50 bar to open, close, and regulate process valves with, according to the company, “remarkable precision and reliability”.

The water-hydraulic actuator is able to achieve greater levels of precision than many conventional, compressed air actuators because, unlike air, water cannot be compressed in the actuator, maintaining a constant pressure. The difference in energy efficiency and environmental impact is also impressive. With the new actuator, KM Rustfri A/S has managed to reduce process valve energy consumption and CO2 emissions by over 65%.

The new actuators won’t have to wait long to see some real action, as Danish brewing company Carlsberg is installing Hydract actuators in its brewery in Fredericia. Carlsberg has been closely involved the development process since its start in 2008, providing extensive knowledge and experience from the brewing industry and hosting trials and tests in its facilities.

Some things are so commonplace that we tend to take them for granted. It is often only when somebody steps up their game and rethinks the ordinary that we realize how much room there still is for improvement. Don’t be afraid to rethink the wheel. I think we can all agree inflatable rubber tires were a good addition.

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