Pneumatic actuators adapted to meet high forces for oil field project

04 September 2017

As part of project to increase oil production capacity to 65,000 barrels per day (BPD) from the existing capacity of 22,000 BPD, the NASR Phase II Full Field Development Project in the UAE, Rotork has received an order for 220 pneumatic actuators.

Awarded by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the order includes spring-return pneumatic actuators to operate 30in and 36in Class 1500 ball valves, with the specification that the maximum actuator output torque at a design pressure of 9.4 Bar should not be in excess of 90% of the valves’ maximum allowable stem torque (MAST).

Due to the huge force required to compress the spring, this requirement is beyond the performance limits of the standard range of Rotork GP pneumatic actuators. However, faced with the challenge, the Rotork Research & Development department successfully created an innovative and simple solution.

Rotork engineers added a second pneumatic cylinder, mounted between the GP scotch yoke centre body and the spring-return cylinder. Both cylinders are pressurised in the same direction at the same time, so one delivers torque for valve movement, satisfying the valve MAST requirement, whilst the other independently applies the torque to compress the spring.

The resulting actuator is the largest GP350 actuator built to-date, with a total length of 8.5m and weighing 19 tonnes.

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