Festo, the leading supplier of automation equipment, has identified that many fluid control valve users are wasting money.

To help, they have developed a set of top tips to enable specifers achieve significant cost savings by more closely matching valves and actuators to their specific requirements.

The top tips, previewed at the GiveMe5 press event on 18 May, are aimed at guiding specifiers through key considerations such as process media, operating pressure and environmental factors to select the most appropriate product, rather than paying for a premium specification when it is not required.

Kai Feller, Festo’s Product Manager for Process Automation, explains: “There is significant potential to drive down costs in fluid control through more intelligent selection of equipment like valves and actuators. Our top tips will guide specifiers through all the influencing factors to arrive at the most appropriate, best value solution.”

Here are just three examples from Festo‘s top 10 tips.

Savings start with consideration of the process media, which will affect the choice of material for the valve. “If the media is aggressive or corrosive, then stainless steel is likely to be the best option,” says Feller.

“But in many common applications – supply of cooling water in a machine for example – a brass ball valve or butterfly valve with polyamide coated discs are perfectly adequate and cost far less. By making smart choices, it is possible to deliver both best quality and best price when selecting valves.”

In addition to matching the valve material to the media, the choice of operating pressure can also have significant cost and energy implications. Festo advises specifiers to look for opportunities to select lower media pressure ratings.

This can be achieved without affecting the connection norm or the burst pressure rating of the valve and a lower pressure rated disc means a smaller, lower cost actuator.

Environmental conditions are also an important consideration, particularly for actuator selection. Specifiers should consider factors such as chemical dosing and cleaning regimes, in addition to immediate environmental factors.

Says Feller: “There is little point in paying a premium for stainless steel actuators if they are not necessary. If a standard aluminium actuator is not suitable, epoxy coated actuators are cost-competitive and resistant to most chemicals, making them a great choice for corrosive environments unless the actuator actually needs to be fully submerged.”

Festo’s DFPD quarter turn actuators can be ordered with coating options as well as different shaft materials, to help customers tailor the product to match specific operating requirements and keep costs under control. Pneumatic valves and actuators featuring lifetime lubrication are available and offer trouble-free operation throughout their design life.

Eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance checks and top-up lubricating oils, these modern products reduce lifetime costs and the associated environmental costs of safe storage and disposal of the lubricants.

Feller states: “We have supported many applications where savings of more than 50% have been achieved through a more considered approach using just these three tips.”

He concludes: “Users do not have to sacrifice quality or reliability but can gain enormously through better matching the application and valve technology – and this is where Festo can really help.” The complete set of top tips is available to access free at: www.festo.co.uk/processtips.