Water Actuated Valves: An Alternative to Compressed Air

water-actuated-valves
Bryan Kilgore for Zondits, December 5, 2014

Hydract actuators are designed to use water pressure instead of industry standard compressed air for process actuation control. Water actuation provides hygienic and energy efficiency benefits making a particular set of industries ideal candidates for this technology, including brewery, creamery, and pharmaceutical industries. An EU funded project, HYDRACTDEM, developed and tested the technology at a brewery in Denmark.

Since pneumatic actuation is found in nearly all industrial applications, there is potential impact beyond the brewery, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries.

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Energy-efficient factories with ‘water-powered’ machines

Nanotechnology, December 1, 2014

The basic idea behind HYDRACT is to replace compressed air with water pressure as the power source for operating process valves. The water hydraulic technology can potentially be used for many other applications as a replacement for compressed air.This EU-funded project, has demonstrated the efficiency gained when production in brewery, dairy and pharmaceutical industries switched from the more common pneumatic – or compressed air – actuators. All three are industries that use these motors to operate valves to open and close pipes where liquids flow. The researchers found that water-based actuators not only offer savings in energy and carbon emissions – up to 65% – but they are also cleaner, as they are less likely to leak.Between 30-50% of air in pneumatic actuators is leaked in a year, which means that not only is average efficiency lost, but parts that fail in the system, like valves, are also lost. “So, it is not just about energy saving, but it is also about being much more reliable, and therefore better and faster,” adds HYDRACTDEM’s project coordinator, Mark Fairhurst.

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