Rotork Is On Track for Another Strong Year

This has been a good year for Rotork plc, a global supplier of valves, actuators, and related equipment. The company, which is based in Bath, U.K., with its U.S. office in Mullica Hill, N.J., has provided equipment and expertise for major projects in the U.K. and Malaysia.

This month, Rotork announced that it is assisting Thames Water, the U.K.'s largest water company, with the design and installation of valve and actuation system upgrades. An important component of the project is the IQ3 intelligent electric valve actuator.

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Rotork valve actuators are specified for applications ranging from water treatment to oil and gas refining and distribution.

In May, the company reported orders for more than 700 IQ3 valve actuators from Pengerang Terminal, a huge oil and gas tank farm in Malaysia.

In the same month, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), a U.K. company that operates the largest production plant for soft drinks in Europe, announced that installation of Rotork's CVA control valve actuators, as part of a site upgrade that has resulted in major operational savings.

These and other developments suggest that Rotork will achieve solid growth again this year. In 2013, Rotork posted "record-breaking" sales and earnings, with double-digit increases in major financial categories over the previous year. Sales totaled £578.4 million ($966 million), up 13 percent from 2012; adjusted operating profit rose 14.8 percent to £151.4 million ($252.8 million); and adjusted pre-tax profit was £150.1 million ($250.6 million), 14.1 percent greater than 2012.

The IQ3 intelligent valve actuators that Rotork is supplying to Thames Water offer sophisticated diagnostic technologies that increase efficiency, reduce maintenance, and improve long-term asset management. Rotork says that the IQ3, the third and latest generation of the product, provides thorough data analysis on the condition and operational status of a valve. Features include an intuitive user interface, secure Bluetooth connection, solid-state controls, a simplified torque sensor, an accurate and robust absolute position sensor, and real-time status reporting.

With the IQ3, Thames Water can upgrade and automate flow control equipment in many areas of operations.


The Pengerang Terminal oil and gas tank farm in Malaysia has a major installation of Rotork IQ3 valve actuators.

The initial installation is a river takeoff inlet that runs to a pumping station. The IQ3M (for modulating) actuators replace locally operated electric motors on three large river gates. The actuators automatically respond to changes in the river and thereby maintain an accurate flow of water to the pumping station 24/7. The electric motors were operated from a switch panel in an adjacent building. They sometimes caused operating delays, inaccurate gate positioning, and fluctuations in water supply. The IQ3M actuators are monitored in a central control room at the site or, if necessary, can be remotely operated.

At the Pengerang Terminal in Malaysia, 274 explosion-resistant IQ3 actuators have been installed so far out of the 700-piece order. The devices, equipped with Rotork IB bevel gearboxes, operate gate valves in the terminal's new import jetty and storage tank facilities. Each actuator has a Pakscan P3 two-wire digital control. All 274 actuators are controlled by eight Pakscan P3 master stations on site, which are linked to a central Yokogawa SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system.

Rotork says that with the IQ3 actuators, large amounts of data can be accessed by technicians in the field and by operators in the control room. The Pakscan P3 digital control system is designed for the extended-area coverage needed in tank farms. Individual networks monitor and control 240 field units on one two-wire highway that runs as far as 20 km (12.4 mi).

Installation of the Rotork CVA devices at CCE was part of a £100 million ($167 million) facility upgrade in Wakefield, U.K. One goal of the upgrade was reducing energy consumption. By replacing pneumatic actuators with the electrically actuated CVA devices on just one bottle-filling line, CCE achieves savings of at least £857 ($1,431) per valve per year. The savings are based on the cost of 2 cubic-meters per hour (70.6 cu-ft/hr) of compressed air in a 3-in control valve, and a CVA actuator in the same valve that uses 10 watts/hr at £0.15/kW, about $0.25/kW.

CCE initially had reservations about using electrically controlled actuators in place of pneumatic valves. The reason was that electric valves were not thought to be capable of responding rapidly enough to maintain the necessary pressure control on a filling line. After one month of comparison tests, however, the Rotork CVA actuators proved as effective as pneumatic valves and were much less expensive to operate.

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