Up close: developments in valve actuation

Posted by David Sear

During the course of the past ten years it has been my privilege to receive invitations to Rotork offices and factories in various countries. Those visits have led to many an interesting cover story, case history or feature article in the pages of Valve World magazine or website.

To date, all those meetings have been recorded using pen and paper. However, as readers of this website may know, Valve World now has a fully-fledged TV production unit as well. Therefore, I thought it was high time to capture a new set of mini-interviews, featuring Rotork staff on video.

The ideal opportunity to turn this plan into reality came a little while ago, during the Valve World exhibition. Although my visit was unannounced, staff at the booth were quite willing to stand at the ‘business end’ of a camera

My obvious initial question was to ask about the future direction of the valve actuation industry. The ideal target for this question was Grant Wood (Rotork Controls Managing Director) who provided an immediate and succinct answer. He clearly sees the melding of technology and services as the way forward.

Now, that was a good start, so it was time to follow up with some questions about the types of technology and systems that end users are really interested in. Fortunately Shelley Pike (Systems Sales Manager) was on hand and she indicated how much network products are contributing to growth at Rotork. It appears that about 30 per cent of Rotork’s actuator sales have some kind of network product in them.

Working in the same department, Mike Howard (Senior Systems Engineer) pointed out that wireless was currently a highly sought-after feature in actuators. He also explained some of the advantages that this technology has to offer.

So far so good. Time to get some background information on a new product, Rotork’s CVA, or control valve actuator. For this, Chris Warnett (International Sales and Marketing Director Rotork Process Controls) was the right man to ask, and he gave a succinct but clear answer, pointing out how the CVA compares to the equivalent pneumatic actuators.

With time running out, I had a final, pertinent question for the CEO, Peter France. Like many other people, I was curious to hear his opinions on future markets for valve actuation products. As befits a CEO, Peter’s answer was both immediate and considered. He first mentioned those features that would help drive sales of Rotork products, and then listed the geographic and industrial markets where that growth could be expected to come from.

So there you have it. My visit may have raised a few eyebrows at first but everyone at Rotork quickly embraced the idea of giving a spontaneous interview on camera. My thanks to all who kindly volunteered their time and expert insights.
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