Valvcon ADC-Series Electric Actuator Designed to Ensure Operation Under Extreme Conditions

Submitted by Don Wolff || Valin Corporation
To properly perform safety and control functions effectively, LACT units and Separators require use of both on/off and modulating control valves. These actuated valves are critical for applications such as ESD and 3-way reject lines for LACT units. Alternatively, separators utilize actuation for dump, backpressure valves and level control valves.

For years, actuation for applications involving LACT units and Separators was achieved through the use of compressed air. However, as unreliability, maintenance and capital cost continued to rise with this type of actuation, the use of electric actuators has steadily grown. The environments that required precise actuation are particularly challenging. Rugged actuators that can handle a full range of ambient conditions are required in some of the more complex environments that produce oil. For example, the North Central areas require low temperature with varying moisture conditions, and the California and Texas oilfields’ temperatures are very high respectively with both high and extremely low humidity.  These harsh environments require actuation that is both flexible and reliable. 

To provide comprehensive solutions to this precise actuation challenge, Valin has partnered with Valvcon. Engineers at Valin brought awareness of these demanding actuator requirements to Valvcon, who in-turn developed the ADC-Series electric actuator with Valin’s engineering input.

This actuator contains features that help solve a number of issues that operators were encountering who needed their LACT units and Separators to run effectively. For example, a conformal coating on the control boards was recently designed and introduced to ensure that any moisture ingression would not affect the circuitry of the electric actuator. In the previously mentioned environments where humidity is an issue, this feature is critical.  With guidance and input from Valin engineers, Valvcon incorporated a high-temperature rated power switching supply.  This feature helps combat some of the extreme temperature conditions the actuator needs to operate in. A universal power can now be offered that can handle ambient temperatures up to 150°F.

The battery options for the ADC-Series electric actuator have also been designed to ensure operation under extreme conditions. A lithium ion battery is available for higher temperature environments and a longer life, and a lead acid style battery is offered for standard operations.

Interchangeability in the field is a feature that greatly benefits the end user. This is made possible by the fact that the control board facilitates both on/off or modulating control with a single control board. The ADC-Series electric actuator also has two modes for its built-in heater: tropical and cold temperature.  The tropical setting was designed to be condensate resistant and the cold temperature setting is to protect against the cold environment. 

Often times in harsh environments, there are issues with something blocking the valve from operating.  If this should occur, the actuator is equipped with a “stall” feature. Additionally, the control board has a selection for a low power option for solar power applications.  This allows the actuator to sleep between calls for a change of position, reducing energy consumption.  To ensure the valve fails in a desired manner, a built-in battery back-up provides a fail-safe.  In the event of external power loss, this backup allows operators to shut down their system and still count on their actuators providing up to 10 complete cycles under their own internal power.

The ultimate goal when Valvcon develop this specialized, reliable actuator was to achieve higher runtimes, resulting in increased production. By embracing Valin’s unparalleled experience in the field and engineering input, this goal was achieved. 

Valin’s engineers and product experts are valuable resources to any company looking to protect their investment. Specifically, with actuation, companies can schedule a field-wide survey with Valin experts for its installed actuators to ensure that everything is installed and running with maximum efficiency, and help determine which additional actuators may be needed to grow its production.

Learn more about the Valvcon ADC-Series Continuous Duty Electric Actuator.