Actuator business finds success in niche oil and gas market

With 50 years’ experience in the valve industry, hydraulic actuator specialist, Advanced Actuators, is finding continued success with a surge in demand for stepping actuators for choke valve control. Advanced started manufacturing stepping actuators 15 years ago offering both hydraulic and pneumatic versions. Before releasing the product to market, it underwent FEA and deflection analysis along with a 1.5 million cycle test including standardisation of the design, to ensure improved delivery times.

Advanced Actuators managing director, Chris Woodhead, says: “We were fully aware of the criticality of choke valves in the upstream oil & gas operations and so had to be certain we were producing an actuator that would meet the demands put upon it.”

One of the key markets for choke valves is on FPSO’s (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) and Advanced has already supplied significant orders to the likes of Petrobras and Equinor, meeting their standards and the environmental conditions.

With its established inhouse design capabilities and expertise, Advanced has built complete stainless versions of its stepper and have versions qualified to work subsea. These design capabilities also allow Advanced to offer seamless integration if customers are looking at replacing old or obsolete stepping actuators.

“We prefer to supply our standard product as it reduces lead times,” Chris continues. “For example,  for one customer we supplied a complete stepping actuator from order input to finish painted in just seven days. However, our inhouse design abilities allow us to make bespoke orders or ‘specials’ as not all customer applications are standard.”

“The oil and gas sector is not flavour of the month with the British Government but it is a huge market that we cannot ignore – however, this does not mean we should forget about the environment,” Chris advises. “Ninetyfive per cent of our stepping actuators are recyclable and whether pneumatic or hydraulic, the overall power consumption is a modest 12 watts.”

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