Switch to Transmitters

Why You Should Upgrade from Conventional Switch Boxes to Westlock Position Transmitters

In the ever-evolving landscape of industrial automation, the valve monitoring industry is undergoing a groundbreaking transformation. Industry leading companies seek actionable valve diagnostic data to maximize operational safety & performance. Traditional switch boxes have served as the backbone of valve monitoring systems for decades, this legacy technology is being disrupted, making way for cutting-edge position transmitter technology. This technological shift promises to revolutionize how industries monitor and regulate their processes, bringing forth a new era of efficiency, precision, and reliability. Join us as we unlock the doors to the future of valve monitoring, where innovation meets unprecedented performance.

History of Switch Boxes

A typical process plant can have anywhere between 100 to 1,000 mechanical switches. While the relevance of these switches still hold value in many plants today, the reality is that use of switches provide limited precision, leaving operations personnel without the ability to know the exact valve cycle position of every process valve. In some applications, not knowing the difference between 95% and 100% closed can compromise plant safety. Switches have been used for years in process plants by sensing flow, level, pressure, temperature, and position. A switch indicates a change of state at a point that is set by the individual setting the switches. Conventional, process switches can and often do fail. False indications of closed position, failure or no indication and mechanical wear, are few of the many reasons process industries should make the “switch” to transmitters. The monitoring of process control valves is crucial. Switch boxes are a simple and cost-effective way to monitor the position of a process control valve. However, if you upgrade from switch boxes to position transmitters, you gain several advantages. Let’s examine why you should make the switch.

The Limitations of Switch Boxes

Switch boxes are standard for monitoring process control valves, but they’re not perfect. They have several limitations, including:

  • Inaccurate feedback: only provide discrete feedback, meaning that they can only tell you whether the valve is open or closed. This can make it difficult to accurately control the process.
  • Manual setup: This means an individual must be present to adjust the switch position, which can be inconvenient and time-consuming.
  • No continuous monitoring: switch technology cannot be continuously monitored. This means that you cannot see the valve’s exact position at any one time, only set locations are visible to operations.

The Advantages of Westlock’s Position Transmitters Versus Conventional Switch Boxes

Transmitters are a more sophisticated type of device that provides a continuous signal that represents the exact
position of the valve. This signal can be used to provide more accurate feedback or to control the valve automatically.
Transmitters offer several benefits over switch boxes, including:

  • More accurate feedback: provide a continuous signal that represents the valve’s exact % open or closed position, which can be used to provide more accurate feedback on the process.
  • Faster Commissioning: Quick autocalibration accessible locally or through HART communication, reduced I/O count from conventional limit switches significantly reduces field wiring.
  • Automatic control: can be paired with an integrated solenoid valve to control the valve automatically, which can improve the installation & efficiency.
  • Increased reliability: utilizes non-contact hall effect sensing which is far more reliable than limit switch technology as less prone to mechanical failure.
  • Ease of maintenance: easier to maintain than switch boxes because they have fewer moving parts.
  • Flexibility: Westlock position transmitter allow the addition of integrated limit switches for added redundancy, giving you added confidence

Things to Keep in Mind While Upgrading

If you are considering upgrading from switch boxes to Westlock position transmitters, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, is that the cost of transmitters is higher than that of switch boxes. However, this increased cost delivers significantly more value for your plant. With a transmitter, you get more accurate feedback, reduced field I/O wiring, continuous feedback, with HART connectivity. This incremental value can lead to improved efficiency, safety, and productivity.
Overall, the benefits of upgrading from switch boxes to transmitters far outweigh the costs. If you are looking for a more accurate, reliable, and efficient way to monitor and control your process control valves, then a Westlock position transmitter is the ideal solution.

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