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Integrated linear actuator simplifies process applications

13 March, 2013

Festo has developed an intelligent linear actuator for process automation applications such as controlling knife gate valves and shut-off valves with regulated strokes, and for use with linear-actuated process valves. The DFPI actuator combines the functions of a linear actuator, a positioner and displacement encoder in an all-in-one cylindrical device that is easy to install.

Festo says it will improve operational efficiencies as well as saving time and costs associated with specifying and installing equipment.

Linear actuators used in process applications usually need external components and are susceptible to mechanical problems and require frequent maintenance. The new device is said to be simpler and more robust, with all of its components fitted inside a compact cylindrical housing. It is available with IP65, IP67 or IP69k protection and can withstand harsh environments containing moisture and dust. It also has CRC3 corrosion resistance.

The actuator is quick to set up and configure and can be integrated easily into existing control architectures. It can also be controlled from Festo’s CPX valve terminal. Flow control functions allow the back-and-forth movement speed of the piston rods to be set separately or independently of each other. Intermediate positions can also be sensed. Feedback about the position of the actuator is available via a 4–20mA signal, simplifying diagnostics.

“At Festo we have a long history and extensive knowledge of technologies for automation in a manufacturing environment,” says Steve Sands, product manager at Festo GB. “We are now transferring this to the process automation markets, enabling those in industry to benefit from robust, simple, exact process control so they can increase reliability and operate more efficiently.”

The DFPI actuator is based on Festo’s proven DLP open/close actuators. Sands believes it is “the most resistant solution available for dust and aggressive environments in the process automation markets. We can now supply both entry-level equipment and more advanced positioned actuators, in each case tailored to the customer’s application.”

The actuator is available in diameters from 100–320mm and strokes from 40–990mm, with longer strokes supplied on request. It is delivered with pre-assembled fittings and connectors, together with the electrical cable and two pneumatic tubes for the power supply and exhaust in a flexible protective conduit. 

The actuator is suitable for any application that regulates media in piping systems. For instance, it can control: sluice gates for the return sludge at final clarifiers, in the water and wastewater industry; pump flow rates for cardboard production, in the pulp and paper industry; and dart valves in mining applications.




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