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Time to move away from compressed air?

The use of compressed air in the food and beverage industry can present certain challenges and concerns due to various issues.

The food and beverage industry faces mounting pressures to meet new standards in line with embracing sustainability, not just satisfying regulatory requirements or reducing costs. Food & Beverage Industry News reports.

To future proof their brands within the marketplace, conscientious manufacturers are addressing retailer and consumer demands for clear messaging and assurances that they’re keeping up their end of the bargain in securing a carbon zero future.

In this instance, the cost of upgrading and evolving to ensure the manufacturing processes are optimised, addressing waste, and carbon emission reduction, all whilst maintaining safety, quality and consistency is the only way forward, whether you’re ready or not.

The use of compressed air in the food and beverage industry can present certain challenges and concerns due to potential issues related to air quality, contamination, food safety and energy usage.

According to Chicago Pneumatic, “compressed air is eight times more expensive than electricity. It takes a large amount of energy to compress air and most of that energy disperses as heat.”

If the heat produced isn’t repurposed via a heat recovery system, this just ends up being dead energy and emissions into the atmosphere.

Electromotive valves, also known as electrically operated valves, are often considered better than pneumatic valves in certain applications due to several advantages they offer:

Faster Response Time

Electromotive valves typically have faster response times compared to pneumatic valves. They can open and close quicker, allowing for more precise control and faster actuation, which is particularly beneficial in applications where rapid response and precise control are critical.

Higher Precision

Electromotive valves can provide higher precision and accuracy in controlling flow rates and pressures. They are capable of fine-tuning and modulating the flow or pressure with greater precision, making them suitable for applications that require precise control, such as in medical equipment or industrial processes.

Lower Energy Consumption

Electromotive valves typically consume less energy compared to pneumatic valves. Pneumatic valves require compressed air, which can be energy-intensive to generate, whereas electromotive valves operate on electricity, which can be more efficient and cost-effective, especially in applications where energy consumption is a concern.

Greater Flexibility

Electromotive valves offer greater flexibility in terms of control options.

They can be controlled remotely using electrical signals, making them compatible with various control systems, including computer-based automation, PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers), and IoT (Internet of Things) systems. This allows for seamless integration into modern automated systems for improved efficiency and control.

Lower Maintenance Requirements

Electromotive valves generally have lower maintenance requirements compared to pneumatic valves. Pneumatic valves often require regular maintenance of pneumatic systems, such as air compressors, filters, and regulators, whereas electromotive valves are typically electrically operated with fewer mechanical components, reducing maintenance needs and associated costs.

Quieter Operation

Electromotive valves generally operate more quietly compared to pneumatic valves, which can produce noise due to the compressed air being released or vented.

Quieter operation can be beneficial in applications where noise reduction is important, such as in medical or laboratory settings.

Cleaner Operation

Reducing energy consumption benefits both the company and the environment.
Reducing energy consumption benefits both the company and the environment.

Electromotive valves do not require compressed air, which can introduce contaminants into the system, whereas pneumatic valves require compressed air that may contain impurities or moisture.

This makes electromotive valves more suitable for applications that require a clean environment, such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, or semiconductor manufacturing.

While electromotive valves have several advantages over pneumatic valves, it’s important to note that the choice between the two depends on the specific requirements of the application.

Factors such as cost, system complexity, environmental considerations, and performance requirements should all be carefully evaluated when selecting between electromotive and pneumatic valves.

Bürkert’s high-precision electromotive drives provide highly intelligent and diverse opportunity for process optimisation and cost savings for the food and beverage industry.

This on/off valve suite of electrically driven shut-off operations provide an advantage to manufacturers with their fully integrated automation, digitalised systems.

Bürkert’s process valve product range now makes it possible to switch systems entirely to electromotive actuators. The two on/off valve types feature convincing efficiency that is equal to that of pneumatic actuators.

And the electric actuator uses the same time-proven valves of the Bürkert ELEMENT product family.

This means that the actuators are also interchangeable. Electromotive valves are very cost-effective due to their low energy costs and savings throughout the entire system. A special advantage of the Bürkert solution is an innovative cogging torque brake, which fixes the position of the valve without additional energy consumption.

Meanwhile, if there is a power outage the safety position can be approached via the optional SAFEPOS energy storage pack.

A mechanical position indicator with a 360° LED clearly indicates the position and status of the valve at all times.

In addition, the possibility of a manual override also exists.

The closing speed is adjustable to protect field devices and pipes against pressure shocks. The electromotive on/ off valves respond instantaneously to process signals to guarantee fast shut- off of the flow within 3-4 seconds, if necessary.

Hygienic, high-quality and durable

The field bus capable shut-off valves consist entirely of high-quality components.

The linear motion is executed by a brushless DC motor with a planetary gear via a low-friction, permanently lubricated ball screw.

The robust powder-coated aluminium body with protection class IP65/IP67 features an easy-to-clean and closed design.

This makes it ideal for use in food applications.

The FDA-compliant shut-off valves are insensitive to weather conditions, impacts and vibrations.

Other uses include heating and cooling circuits for heat exchangers, mobile or decentralised drinking water treatment systems or large-scale systems in which the supply of compressed air is impractical due to the long distances.

Electromotive valves are especially suitable for processes where compressed air is not desired.

Technological diversity – typical Bürkert

The Bürkert electromotive shut-off valves are offered as an angle seat valve (Type 3320) and as a globe valve (Type 3321), as well as the highly sought-after diaphragm valve for those hygienic or aggressive environmental conditions.

Each of the valves can be used for diverse media – including gases and water, alcohols, oils and alkaline solutions, saline solutions and steam – with temperatures from -10 to 185 °C, at ambient temperatures up to 65 °C.

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