What Is a Valve Positioner?


Quick Answer

A valve positioner is a device that automatically positions a valve's actuator so that the pressure from the valve meets pre-determined specifications, notes IHS Engineering360. These devices are widely used throughout the automotive, marine, aerospace and food processing industries, and are available for all different applications on various online retailers, such as Emerson Process Management.

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Full Answer

In simple terms, a valve positioner is an automated device that makes sure that the valve is working properly, and repositions the valve if it begins to apply too much or too little pressure. The positioner receives signals from the valve, and is able to move the actuator automatically in accordance with the signals. There are four commonly used types of valve positioners, which include pneumatic positioners, electric positioners, electro-pneumatic positioners and digital or "smart" valve positioners, states IHS Engineering360.

Pneumatic positioners use pneumatic signals and are capable of applying large amounts of force to the valve, if necessary. Electric valve positioners both receive and send electric signals, and they use either alternating current or direct current to signal the actuator. Electro-pneumatic positioners receive electric signals from the valve, then convert that signal to a pneumatic device that positions the actuator, and digital devices are very accurate and have a microprocessor that processes information and is able to be controlled using an external computer.

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