Tag Archive: valves

  1. A Brief History of Valves & Valve Automation

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    While valves and valve automation may seem advanced, they are by no means new. In fact, these devices have existed for over two centuries and have played a part in some of civilization’s biggest technological leaps. There are many industries that rely on automated valves and equipment, including:

    • Food and Beverage
    • OEM Machinery
    • Oil and Gas

    From ancient times through the Industrial Revolution and into the modern day, valves have served a vital role in society. Let’s explore the fascinating history behind these devices.

    history of valves

    The Advent of Valves by the Romans to the Steam Engine

    We can trace the first usage of valves back to the Romans, who engineered these devices as part of their intricate canal systems. These early valves were made of bronze and contained high amounts of lead, allowing them to be corrosion resistant, ductile, and very strong.

    Romans used an early version of the diaphragm valve crafted out of leather to control the temperature and flow of water into household bathtubs. Evidence also suggests the use of mixing valves, angular valves, and check valves for use in preventing backflow.

    The Rise of the Steam Engine

    While valves continued to be used throughout the centuries, the Industrial Revolution marks the true start of using complex valves systems. In 1705, Thomas Newcomen transformed steam engine technology by using a cylinder to surround the vacuum and piston. The force generated by this system pumped the engine’s shaft, creating a new and innovative type of steam engine that is now considered one of the precursors to automobile travel.

    Valves were a vital component in helping regulate the engine’s high-pressure steam, as they opened during each pump. Legend even has it that Newcomen’s workers helped invent valve automation by rigging a rope system to open the valves, so they didn’t have to do it themselves.

    Several decades later, inventor James Watt set out to improve the efficiency of Newcomen’s steam engine. Watt’s take on the engine was significantly more complex than Newcomen’s, as it relied more heavily on valves. The inventor added valves above and below the piston to even out the strokes and developed a steam throttling valve to regulate steam flow.

    industrial revolution steam engineThe Industrial Revolution Paves the Way for Valve Automation

    Beginning in the 1700s, the Industrial Revolution marked a dramatic shift away from agrarian societies and toward an industrial, urban lifestyle. This historical era began in Britain and spread to many countries across the globe by the mid-19th century. It was largely enabled by advances in steam power, which came about with the improvement of complex valve systems.

    The Industrial Revolution had a number of advantages. Technology such as automated valves, the spinning jenny, and electric appliances began to reduce the amount of labor it took to manufacture goods, which allowed workers to take on specialized professions. This not only sped up the manufacturing process, but also created specialist training jobs.

    Now that factories could manufacture products with ease, these products suddenly became more accessible and affordable to the general population. Quality of life began to improve as people were easily able to acquire new appliances, clothes, shoes, and other desirables that were once considered luxuries.

    electric actuator inventor

    The Electric Actuator

    Another advancement in automated valve systems began in the 1970s when Brent Jensen began looking for ways to improve his family’s business. Jensen and an old friend created an electric actuator to adjust the height of a wheelchair. Up until this point, motors only functioned with a rotational motion; however, Jensen’s electric actuator made it possible for a motor to create linear movement. Many of today’s automated valve systems utilize both electric and pneumatic actuators.

    BI-TORQ Valve Automation Is Here for You Today!

    At BI-TORQ, our decades of experience enable us to supply cost-effective, high quality valves and valve automation equipment to clients across a wide range of industries. Our extensive product line includes butterfly valves, ball valves, actuators, and more. Contact us today to learn more and discuss your valve automation needs.

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  2. Industries That Rely on Valve Automation

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    Since 1981, BI-TORQ Valve Automation has provided valve and actuation products to industrial, commercial, and municipal customers across a diverse set of industries. Over our three decades working with reputable valve and actuator manufacturers, we gained a deep understanding of the industry, which allows our experts to match the right products to the right applications.

    Our products find use in equipment for practically every industry that uses valves. Some of the key industries that particularly rely on valve automation include:

    • Chemical & Plastic Manufacturing
    • Food & Beverage
    • Oil & Gas
    • Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Machinery

    Regardless of industry, BI-TORQ is ready to provide the ideal valve automation solution.

    Valve Automation for Various Industries

    Valves and valve automation products play a critical role in a wide range of industries. To meet the varying demands of these industries, we supply a variety of different products.

    Here are some of the key industries we serve and how we fulfill their needs:

    The Chemical and Plastic Industry

    Working in the chemical and plastic industry often means working with hazardous materials. To facilitate safe processing and manufacturing operations, valves for this industry must be highly precise and tightly sealed to guarantee the production of specific formulations. These valves must also provide reliable performance under extreme environmental conditions and meet rigorous mechanical and safety standards.

    For this industry, we provide the following valves that meet its requirements:

    • IS-3TC (sanitary) series
    • FS/FW (API 607 fire) series
    • IS-2PF (150# flanged) series

    The Food and Beverage Industry

    Food and beverage industry valves are subject to strict standards from multiple regulatory organizations, including NSF International, 3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc., and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These standards dictate several factors regarding design and construction to facilitate sanitary processing conditions, such as the construction material:

    • Smoothness (or roughness) and permeability
    • Corrosion resistance
    • Lead content

    Our automated valves suitable for use in food and beverage applications include:

    • IS-3TC series
    • IS-3PT series
    • BY butterfly valve series
    • Customized hardware with heat and stem extensions

    The Oil and Gas Industry

    The oil and gas industry rely on pipes and pipelines to distribute its products. These systems, in turn, rely on valves to regulate the flow of gas and oil, protect critical equipment, and control the refining process. As oil and gas generally move under high pressure, it is important that valves maintain adequate pressure levels for optimal system performance. Oil and gas industry valves, therefore, need to have tight seals while still opening and closing quickly.

    Some of the most commonly used valves in the oil and gas industry include ball valves, globe valves, control valves, check valves, and butterfly valves. The BI-TORQ valves available that are suitable for oil and gas applications include:

    • FS/FW (API 607 fire safe) series
    • ED50/W50 (API 607 fire safe) series
    • IS-2PF (150# flanged) series
    • Thermal Shut-off Assemblies

    The OEM Machinery Industry

    The OEM machinery industry provides equipment for a wide range of industrial applications, encompassing everything from generators and canning machinery to industrial laundry equipment and more. Virtually any OEM system that involves fluid needs valves that are safe, reliable, and highly responsive.

    For the OEM industry, we offer the following valves:

    • IP (brass) series
    • IS-2P (2-pc) series
    • BY (butterfly valve) series
    • Customized hardware with tee or tandem valve linkages to suit the application

    Choose BI-TORQ for High-Quality Valve Automation Solutions

    At BI-TORQ, we have the experience and inventory necessary to offer quality valve automation solutions for virtually any industrial need. Whether you’re in the chemical and plastic industry or the oil and gas industry, we can provide you with an automated valve that meets your project specifications and industry standards.

    To learn more about our automated valve offerings and how they can suit your industrial application, contact us or request a quote.