New SPX FLOW IO-Link Control Unit

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The new SPX FLOW IO-Link Control Unit. Pic: SPX FLOW
The new SPX FLOW IO-Link Control Unit. Pic: SPX FLOW

Related tags Valve Dairy

SPX FLOW, Inc., a provider of process solutions for the industrial and nutrition and health markets, has launched a new control unit as a part of the CU4plus platform that now includes IO-Link communication protocol.

The CU4plus IO-link Control Unit works with all APV and Waukesha Cherry-Burrell valve ranges and can be retrofitted into any existing installed base when paired with an IO-Link master.

The CU4plus valve control unit fits any SPX FLOW air-operated sanitary valve bringing safety, simplicity and reliability to dairy, beverage, brewery, processed food, healthcare and pharmaceutical processes. The addition of the IO-Link technology, an Industry 4.0 data-ready communications protocol that connects sensors and actuators to process automation systems, allows data to send and retrieve to/from hygienic valves. It forms the backbone of many food and beverage control systems. It is hygienic hardware that does not need to be enclosed in a stainless-steel panel, a feature which reduces installation time and cost.

"Our customers who rely on the CU4plus platform have been asking for this IO-Link technology​," said Julien Bassett, SPX FLOW's global product manager for valves.

"SPX FLOW listened to their needs and was able to come up with a solution that improves preventative maintenance, provides end-users with real-time data and has better early warning signals to potential problems, optimizing their process along the way."

What makes the CU4plus IO-Link Control Unit different is the pressure sensor that allows end-users to better monitor air pressure used to actuate the valve. The unit can easily integrate into an existing system, meaning customers don't have to upgrade a whole line to optimize performance, increase uptime and maximizes interoperability with other protocols.

SPX FLOW said there are many benefits to the new unit. These include ease of installation and use, as IO-Link allows for interoperability across multiple protocols enabling end-users to quickly integrate with other fieldbus protocols. 

It also allows for improved uptime. It can monitor real-time process data to update valve limit set values to optimize/trigger needed maintenance intervals (activation hours, cycles, actuation reaction times, control air pressures).

Also, complete configuration setup is an automated process stored in the IO-Link master so it can be reloaded in any replacement unit (including the firmware).  This leads to shorter downtimes and accurate, error-free automation restoration of the original valve relevant setting of the control unit. 

For mix proof valves seat lifting can work based on pulsation with defined ON/OFF scheme to significantly improve CIP time, fluid costs, and disposal waste.

The CU4plus IO-Link Control Unit extends SPX FLOW's range of control units, which are available as Direct Connect and AS-i.  Like other control options, this new control unit can be used with SPX FLOW's line of valves, which includes the recently-introduced D4 mix proof valves series. These expansions are suited to support a range of applications in various hygienic processes with viscous fluids that are difficult to clean in place and valves and within hazardous environments.

"We've expanded our product offering to provide customers a full range of options, effectively giving them a one-stop-shop for all their valve needs,"​ Bassett said.

"This continued focus on product innovation, coupled with efforts to improve customer outcomes, shows a tireless effort to innovate and evolve process valves — and their related products — for all nutrition and health needs."

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