Fluid automation can be the unsung contributor to plant economic performance.

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Fluid automation components play critical roles in total plant economic performance. Making even small changes in their performance can change the whole rhythm of the operation, allowing users to prevent losses and drive gains throughout the business.


A fluid automation product such as a valve operates to control manufacturing process flows by opening or closing to control the flow of a process liquid or the supply of compressed air. However, perceptive managers realize that valves, pneumatic actuators and similar components can do something more: they can control the flow of profit. Fluid automation products offer opportunities to extend overall equipment service life, reduce warranty costs, cut maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) inventories and increase production uptime and productivity.

Wherever goods and materials are manufactured, processed or packaged, the process often depends on fluid automation components. These include:

  • Fluid control products that control the flow of a process liquid, e.g., solenoid pilot valves, angle-body piston valves, linear valve position indicators, redundant control systems and pressure sensors.
  • Fluid power products that provide pneumatic and motion control, e.g., valve manifolds; filters, regulators, lubricators (FRLs); actuators or cylinders; grippers; slides; and gantries.

New technologies and business developments have made these offerings faster and more reliable than ever. From OEMs to end users, managers have begun to appreciate how often these fluid automation components play quiet but critical roles in total plant economic performance. Making even small changes in flow control performance can change the whole rhythm of the operation, allowing users to prevent losses and drive gains throughout the business.

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Valves, pneumatic actuators and similar components can control the flow of process liquid and compressed air - and the flow of profit.

Feeding the Bottom Line

The speed and reliability of the fluid automation components can have both immediate and long-lasting impact on the following areas.

Asset Availability. Where success is measured by the minute, assets must perform for a lifetime. Selecting the most reliable components ensures fewer shutdowns and lower maintenance costs.

Engineering Optimization. Find suppliers that can deliver the products quickly and make sure they are the right products: ones that suit the unique application at hand with optimum fit for pipe size, pressure rating, corrosion resistance and more.

Productivity Improvement. Reliability reduces downtime, eliminating one of the most significant drags on productivity. In addition, properly engineered fluid automation products often offer improvements in repeatability, flow rates, throughput and other critical performance characteristics.

Cost Reduction. Seek competitive pricing, but remember that total cost of ownership advantages - longer life, lower maintenance and reduced power consumption, for example - soon can outweigh differences in initial purchase cost.

Competitive Advantage. For OEMs, advanced fluid automation products can be integrated into products to offer performance and reliability. For end users, the right fluid automation solution can help an operation outperform the competition. Not every valve or cylinder fits the bill. Work with the valve supplier to bring the benefits your operation demands.

Benefits of Reliability

Products that perform the first time, every time, may permit an elevated pace of operations. In addition, high-reliability products reduce the chance of unplanned plant outages or downtime. Users report that well-built products using advanced designs and materials more often perform to specification, provide long-term service and realize low cost of ownership.

The more challenging an application, the more value that ultra-reliable fluid automation solution can provide. The best products are designed to tackle tough tasks and difficult environments - from the pressures and radiation levels in a nuclear power plant to the corrosive combination of heat and humidity found in a commercial laundry facility.

Look for fluid automation suppliers that make maximum use of the interactive informational power of the Internet. Good vendors will put up detailed engineering drawings of components and even allow you to configure the product for your application online.

Accelerated delivery schedules also are critical. Long lead times are no longer acceptable - or often, even survivable - for time-crunched businesses, especially when downtime for a single piece of equipment may mean shutdown of an entire operation. So, seek out suppliers that recognize that need for speed.

In today’s challenging engineering environment, knowledge is not only power - knowledge is profit. Immediate, responsive technical support from personnel who know their product, and your application - can make the difference between a successful application and an inefficient fit. Select a fluid automation vendor that can provide the answers you need effectively.

Choosing the right fluid automation supplier also can help reap real economic gains for end users in industries such as power generation, biofuels, food and beverage, petroleum and chemical, water and wastewater, pulp and paper and packaging. Successful manufacturers across a range of industries realize that their choices of valves, actuators or other components really make a difference. They report that fluid automation products have made surprisingly strong contributions to the economic performance of their operations. PC