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Smart Actuator Provides Complete Diagnostics

April 3, 2003
Emersons FieldQ

Actuators for on/off valves are usually offered as "dumb" products without high-level communications and without needed accessories. Valve vendors typically have supplied preferred automation components resulting in a proliferation of actuator, switchbox, and solenoid combinations. Many customers would prefer global standardization by switching to a single source for valve automation packages.

Emerson Process Management has addressed this need by providing a smart actuator with complete diagnostics accessible via a wide variety of digital buses. Emerson's FieldQ intelligent actuator series delivers cost-effective, reliable intelligence in final control applications using on/off valves from virtually any manufacturer. FieldQ also provides patented integration of all valve automation components including solenoids, limit switches, and positioners.

Communications flexibility is a key benefit of the FieldQ actuator. The device is currently compatible with several standard communications protocols including Foundation fieldbus, AS-i bus, and Profibus DP and PA. This makes FieldQ a critical component of Emerson's PlantWeb digital plant architecture. Maintenance costs are minimized because the replacement of a plug-in module changes the FieldQ communications protocol.

FieldQ's intelligence delivers predictive, diagnostic data to the enterprise about both the operating performance and health of the device itself. Actuator break time, travel time, and cycle counter as well as electronics health are reported. Not only does this allow operators tighter control, it also enables predictive maintenance where devices are serviced only as needed. Additionally, operations and maintenance personnel receive advance notice of any degradation so preventive action can be taken.

In addition to maintenance savings, the actuator can reduce installed costs by as much as 15%. Conventional actuators tend to have non-integrated automation accessories and often need additional mounting brackets, external piping, and cabling. This causes lengthy assembly times and necessitates complex interoperability testing.

FieldQ offers all these functions in an intelligent and easy-to-use single package with modular, integrated controls consisting of a pneumatic control module and, for the initial FieldQ product, an on/off module. A FieldQ unit that provides a modulating positioner function will be available later this year.

"The FieldQ will replace conventional valve automation systems built up using a pneumatic rack-and-pinion actuator and standalone control components," says Ram Krishnan, vice president of marketing and business development for the Valve Automation Div. of Emerson Process Management. "The assembly and interoperability of these conventional systems are labor-intensive and complex. The FieldQ will drive standardization by offering a pre-engineered and pre-assembled lower-cost solution to customers."

For more information visit

www.FieldQ.com or call 813/630-2255.

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