Application Driven Answers

Harper International Article 6284 – Remote Control

Remote Control Cuts Operating Costs 75% in Aquarion Valve Pits

remote control“With remote pilot controls, we’ve cut our labor expense for managing valve pits by 75% while keeping the protection of hydraulic control,” says John Schultz, senior operations specialist for Aquarion.

When you install a valve pit for a water system, you hope you never have to go underground to service it. But that rosy scenario rarely comes true.

Aquarion normally sent a two-person crew to make operating adjustments in their closed valve pits, heeding OSHA requirements to protect workers from the toxic gasses that can accumulate in confined underground spaces. During the summer season, this could require two to three unscheduled pit entries per week in addition to the weekly scheduled visit to make adjustments. To service valve pits under busy roads, there’s the added expense of hiring a traffic control officer.

Inexpensive Solution

remote control

This year Aquarion installed Cla-Val series 32 electronic actuated pilot controls in three locations in Connecticut and New York with three more in the works.

The programmable electronic pilots communicate through a very simple SCADA interface. Operating on low voltage, the series 32 pilot accepts a 4-20 mA remote set-point and positions the pilot to maintain a pressure at valve settings within preset limits. Ranging software makes it easy to manage set-point limits.

(Click here to enlarge output sample shown above.)

Notes Schultz, “The Cla-Val pilots integrated easily with our existing valves and communications, so we didn’t have to utilize our more advanced SCADA solution to handle them.” Now Aquarion can actively manage its valves remotely as conditions change.

Hydraulic Integrity Under All Conditions

The Cla-Val series 32 pilot works differently from a solenoid-controlled pilot system, which locks the main valve into position when the valve pit loses power or communication. Using the Cla-Val series 32 pilot, the system remains in automatic hydraulic control if the power or control input should fail, assuring system stability.

The series 32 is also submersible, allowing the electronic pilot to work even when the valve pit is flooded by torrential rain or leaking pipes.

Schultz describes the Cla-Val pilots as trouble-free, working flawlessly despite widespread flooding and power failures during repeated thunderstorms.

Latest in Automation Technology

Schultz has been working with Harper’s Fred Haines for over 10 years to optimize Aquarion’s water system, and he appreciates Harper’s expertise in leading-edge automation technology for valve operations.

“Fred made sure we were able to get some of the first series 32 accuators when they became available in the U.S in January 2006,” says Schultz, “and we had the first one installed by mid-March. That’s fast for this type of application!”

Schultz attributes the speed and ease of installation to the close team effort between his staff and Harper. “They’re the best valve agent I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve dealt with several,” says Schultz in praise of Harper’s responsive customer service.

To find out more, contact a Harper representative.
Harper Haines Fluid Control, Inc.
125 Old Gate Lane, Milford, CT 06460
Telephone: 203.693.3740 * Fax: 203.547.6092

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