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Burkert’s automation and control technologies for small to large processes

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article image Smart panel with air preparation units

Burkert Fluid Control Systems offers a versatile range of automation and control technologies designed for processes of all sizes.

Pneumatic process control systems are increasingly being adopted by various processing plants; however, the growing complexity of these control systems has resulted in factors such as reliability, integrity and correct specification becoming even more critical. Not every system requires large format valves, or fieldbus communication to achieve the required level of automation.

In use for many years, especially in the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries where hygienic conditions must be maintained, pneumatic control systems offer several advantages, including simplicity of design, low maintenance, and excellent reliability partly due to the use of compressed air as the power source. Being intrinsically safe, pneumatic systems can also be used in hazardous atmospheres.

Modern control systems can be divided into two groups, centralised and decentralised. Centralised systems will have the main control functions grouped at a central point or located at the point of control, such as a process control valve. This system will usually involve a control panel containing a bank of control solenoids connected to the process control valves using air lines alone. In a decentralised system, the air supply is fed direct to the control valve and the integral control head uses control signals to determine the action required.

The choice of system is dependent on the application since both have their advantages depending on the circumstances.

Once the design scope is confirmed, it is important to ensure the proposed design will produce an effective and efficient control system that will be easy to maintain, expand, and clean to the required standard.

The first step is to clean and regulate the compressed air supply to the control system using air preparation units that filter and regulate the air supply. These units remove water and oil aerosols while also controlling the system air pressure, all of which ensure correct operation of the system as well as reduced wear and corrosion of the components.

Burkert offers standardised filter-regulator air preparation units, with and without isolation valve kits, for all manifold sizes. Air preparation units are available with a range of filter sizes, down to 0.01μm along with the option of an activated carbon filter that can remove oil aerosols to a level of less than 0.005 mg/m³. A range of connection sizes is also available in addition to explosive environment certification to comply with regulations when operating in hazardous atmospheres.

Flow restrictors, one-way valves and check valves will all be needed as the system takes shape – all these components will need to be matched to the application with regard to construction material, sealing properties and connection sizes to ensure reliable and efficient service.

For instance, the type TRG001, also from Burkert, contains a complete range of restrictor valves, check valves and flow control valves, with non-standard versions, materials and seals also available.

All of this equipment will need to be connected together, requiring careful selection of threaded or push-in connectors or a combination of both. Again, the application determines the correct design of connector, especially the material choice, which could require FDA approval or the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.

Burkert has developed a wide range of individual products for use in pneumatic process control systems as well as a process for designing, building, installing and commissioning complete systems.

Burkert’s experience and expertise span a wide range of projects from the simplest closed loop control system to the largest factory wide production facility with the latest fieldbus communications and intelligent control valves.

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