Making the Right Choice: Smart or Digital Positioners?


Introducing Westlock Controls, the global leader in automated valve monitoring and control. With over 40 years of experience, Westlock Controls has been at the forefront of providing industry-leading valve monitoring and control solutions. Our products are thoughtfully designed and engineered to last, equipping customers with meaningful diagnostics to achieve optimal operational performance.

Westlock’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is evident in its diverse product line, which includes the K20 smart positioner and ICoT digital positioner. These positioners are designed to enhance the performance and reliability of control valves, making them an essential component of any modern control system. But we are often asked which one our customers should choose. We’ve created this blog post to help answer that question. However, ultimately, the answer truly depends on the customer, their needs, their budget, and the industry requirements or compliance standards.


Key Takeaways

  • Versatile Positioner Options: Westlock Controls provides two exceptional positioners: the K20 Smart Positioner and the ICoT Digital Positioner, catering to a variety of control needs.
  • K20 Smart Positioner Excellence: The K20 Smart Positioner offers a versatile control solution with features such as touch-start auto-calibration, enhanced reliability, an intuitive interface, and HART Protocol support for seamless integration and communication.
  • Advanced ICoT Digital Positioner: The ICoT Digital Positioner stands out with advanced capabilities, incorporating industry-standard protocols that deliver comprehensive diagnostics and actionable insights, ensuring optimal plant performance and reliability.


Enhance Your Control Valve Performance: The K20 Smart Positioner

The K20 is a versatile solution engineered for both rotary and linear control valve applications. Crafted with the plant operator’s convenience in focus, this smart positioner presents a user-friendly interface designed for effortless navigation. With unparalleled auto-calibration speeds completing the process in just over a minute, efficiency is paramount. Incorporating advanced HART protocol, it enables seamless remote access and enhances device communication. Equipped with a 4-20mA transmitter, this advanced positioner ensures precise position feedback, guaranteeing optimal and reliable operation at all times.


Maximum Reliability

The K20 Smart Positioner sets a new standard in reliability with its frictionless spool manifold, meticulously tested to endure 2 billion cycles of operation. This cutting-edge technology, combined with a state-of-the-art frictionless valve design, ensures virtually non-existent wear, providing unparalleled reliability for your critical processes.

Say goodbye to the era of mechanical wear in position sensing. The K20 smart positioner revolutionizes valve control with its non-contact position sensing technology, applicable for both rotary and linear applications. This innovative approach ensures precise positioning without mechanical linkages and the risk of degradation over time, establishing a new standard of precision in the valve control industry


Intuitive Interface and Setup

Experience unparalleled ease-of-use with the K20 smart positioner’s intuitive interface, now enhanced with HART 7 protocol integration. Designed to streamline your valve monitoring and control experience, the K20 features an LCD screen and capacitive buttons for local setup. Navigating through the menu structure is effortless and intuitive, enabling quick and seamless configuration adjustments. With HART 7 protocol support, accessing advanced diagnostic information and remote monitoring capabilities is easier than ever, empowering operators with comprehensive control over their systems.

With our advanced microprocessor technology, precise autocalibration can be initiated with just two simple button presses, ensuring optimal performance and accuracy without the need for complicated manual adjustments. Additionally, the K20 comes equipped with a built-in quick start guide, providing step-by-step instructions for ultra-fast setup, saving you valuable time, and minimizing downtime during installation, giving your technicians the data they need at their fingertips to get up and running.


Unparalleled Versatility

Adaptability is key in control technology, and the K20 delivers unmatched versatility. With industry-leading flow capability and the ability to seamlessly transition between Single and Double Acting capability with a single part number, our positioner simplifies your supply chain. 

The K20 can be equipped with up to two limit switches for enhanced valve travel feedback. Select from a variety of integrated switch options, including mechanical SPDT, Magnum proximity, or inductive sensor technology, to ensure position feedback and optimize operational efficiency.

The K20 has rugged enclosure options designed to withstand harsh industrial environments. Choose from Engineered Resin, low copper Aluminum, or CF8M (316) Stainless Steel enclosures, each offering exceptional corrosion resistance and durability to ensure reliable performance in even the most demanding conditions. Whether you’re operating in corrosive chemical plants or challenging offshore environments, the K20’s rugged enclosure options provide the ultimate protection for your valve monitoring and control applications. 

Enhanced Position Feedback and Visibility

Our iconic Beacon position indicator stands out as a guiding light in rotary applications, boasting high-contrast indicators that eliminate guesswork during plant startups and enhance field visibility.

The K20 smart positioner provides advanced functionality beyond its innovative design. With the inclusion of a 4-20mA transmitter, this device offers enhanced position feedback and visibility, elevating control technology performance. This feature ensures precise and reliable monitoring of valve positions, allowing operators to make informed decisions and optimize system efficiency with confidence.


Elevate Your Control Valve Operations to New Heights: The ICoT Digital Positioner

Discover the enduring reliability of Westlock Controls’ ICoT digital positioner, a cornerstone valve control solution for over 15 years. The ICoT digital positioner stands as an advanced solution tailored to meet the evolving needs of modern industrial plants. Equipped with standard protocols, it offers seamless integration and enhanced diagnostic capabilities, providing actionable insights to ensure optimal valve performance and operational efficiency. With its innovative features and robust design, the ICoT empowers plant operators to proactively monitor, analyze, and address potential issues, thereby minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity. Embrace the future of valve control with Westlock’s ICoT and elevate your plant’s performance to new heights.


Reliable Design

The ICoT digital positioner revolutionizes valve control with cutting-edge non-contact sensing technology, replacing conventional mechanical systems prone to wear. Utilizing advanced Hall Effect sensors, it ensures precise magnetic feedback, maximizing product lifespan and reliability. By eliminating mechanical components vulnerable to degradation, the ICoT sets a new industry standard for digital precision in valve control, promising unparalleled longevity and performance.

The ICoT boasts a frictionless spool valve manifold engineered for durability, rated for up to an impressive two billion cycles of operation. This innovative spool valve design ensures unparalleled reliability in valve control applications, minimizing wear and tear even under demanding conditions. By providing smooth and precise modulation of control signals, the spool valve manifold enhances the overall performance and longevity of the positioner, making it an indispensable component for achieving optimal operational efficiency and reliability in industrial settings.

Position feedback is essential for effective valve control, and the ICoT excels in providing precise and reliable feedback for optimal performance. Featuring a standard 4-20mA feedback transmitter, the ICoT offers accurate position feedback upon installation. Users can select from a range of feedback options, including limit switches, mechanical SPDT, Magnum proximity, and inductive proximity, allowing for customization to suit specific application needs. This comprehensive feedback capability enables operators to monitor valve position effectively, detect deviations from set parameters, and promptly address issues, ensuring smooth and efficient operation of the valve system.

Westlock’s ICoT revolutionizes valve control with its remote mount capability, offering unmatched flexibility and safety in challenging environments. By allowing remote mounting from the controlled device, operators gain the ability to isolate the positioner, particularly in high-vibration, corrosive, or hard-to-reach locations. This innovative feature not only enhances operational safety but also ensures optimal performance and longevity of the positioner by protecting it from potentially damaging external factors. Whether in hazardous locations or remote areas, the ICoT Digital Positioner’s remote mount capability delivers reliability and peace of mind, solidifying its position as a cutting-edge solution in digital valve control technology.


Advanced Diagnostics

The ICoT’s advanced diagnostic capabilities enable proactive monitoring and troubleshooting of valve performance. With features like stick-slip detection, it can identify irregularities in valve movement, ensuring smooth operation. Detection of excessive static position error alerts users to potential issues with valve positioning accuracy, allowing for timely adjustments.

Moreover, the ICoT is equipped with an onboard pressure sensor that can detect low air supply pressure, clogged air supply filters, and restricted transducer nozzles, providing insights into potential airflow issues that may impact valve function. It also alerts users to transducer diaphragm air leaks and non-functioning spool valves, enabling swift maintenance actions to prevent downtime.

Additionally, the positioner’s calibration error detection ensures precise valve calibration, enhancing overall system performance and reliability. With its comprehensive diagnostic capabilities, the ICoT Digital Positioner empowers operators to address potential issues promptly, optimizing valve efficiency and minimizing operational disruptions.


Seamless Connectivity

Delivering precise position control modulation, our digital positioner ensures effective control for both rotary and linear valves. With support for HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus, and Profibus PA protocols, seamless integration and flexibility across systems are assured.

Westlock’s ICoT stands out with its intuitive interface, featuring a 3-button interface and graphical LCD for effortless calibration and information display. With easy configuration options for split range and reverse acting operation, it offers unparalleled flexibility to suit diverse valve applications. The advanced auto calibration feature ensures precise and efficient setup, saving valuable time and resources during commissioning. By automating the calibration process, the ICoT Digital Positioner eliminates the need for manual adjustments, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring optimal performance from the outset.



Application Considerations for Choosing the Right Positioner

When comparing the performance of the K20 and ICoT positioners from Westlock Controls, it is evident that both products offer exceptional accuracy, responsiveness, and reliability for precise valve control.

When choosing between the K20 and ICoT positioners from Westlock Controls, it is essential to consider the specific requirements of your application. It is crucial to evaluate the environmental conditions, process requirements, and maintenance needs of your application to determine which positioner is the best fit for your control system. By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that will enhance the performance and reliability of your control valves.

As always, we encourage readers to speak with an expert on our website and reach us through our contact page to ask us questions about your specific situation. Get trusted advice and experience the performance and reliability of Westlock Controls.

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