Operational safety enhanced through self-learning control systems
Looking ahead, digital valve control tops such as the T.VIS M-20 will be indispensable key components in processing plants. “We are already bringing elements of the valve of the future to fruition. This reflects the growing demand among manufacturers for connectivity, handling and process diagnostics across their entire production lines,” says Bernd Porath, Product Manager for Valve Automation at GEA. Customers are required to commission plants ever earlier, lines often run at full capacity and product changes are made so rapidly that valves are subjected to pressure surges and vibration. “That means plants today are increasingly exposed to even higher stress. Our GEA T.VIS M-20 counteracts this thanks to its shock-resistant design and built-in sensor technology. This helps operators ensure plant availability and quality through automatic, self-learning, reproducible process controls.”
Automatic initialization for commissioning and under process conditions
To lighten plant operators’ workload during commissioning, the valve experts have integrated digital intelligence into the GEA T.VIS M-20 control top in the shape of a proprietary program code. The Quick-Setup takes care of the entire commissioning process – including self-learning position recognition by the feedback systems – without the need for specially trained personnel. All that operators are required to do is assign the electrical and pneumatic connections. The built-in contact-free path measuring system detects its position with a precision of 50 µ – a much higher degree of accuracy than would be possible manually, says Porath. Under process conditions – following maintenance or replacement of the control top – the electronics automatically initialize the feedback systems.
The ease of installation has been confirmed in field tests at Arla Foods and Uckermärker Milch. “Our customers were astounded and very pleased. The M-20 can be installed completely intuitively, without needing to rely on judgment or experience by operating staff. We have considerably reduced the burden on operators by eliminating errors caused by different users entering different settings,” reports Porath. The modules were instantly up and running at the customers’ sites and have now been operating smoothly for months.