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Actuated Ball Valve Recommendations

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  • Actuated Ball Valve Recommendations

    Does anyone have opinions or feedback on actuated ball valves? I'm looking at 1" 24 V AC with fail-closed and mainly debating between Belimo or AGB. I like the idea of having a manual override in case of an emergency.

    Belimo seem to be known as the high-end standard and have mechanical spring-return, but they are pricey and they don't seem to make a manual-override version in that size. These run about $270

    AGB are much less expensive and have a manual override, but use a capacitor fail-safe that is supposed to be less reliable. I believe Premier uses AGB for their systems. Have people actually experienced frequent failures on the AGB or other capacitor-based valves or is that just theoretical? The AGB actuators are so reasonably priced that they could even be preventatively replaced several times over for less than the Belimos. These sell for about $83 and spare actuators are only $48.

    Is CV rating very important for glycol control applications at the 10-20bbl scale or is that not very important?

    The AGB valves open in 5 seconds. Is there any issue with that being too fast?

    I welcome suggestions for other options or well-priced sources as well.

  • #2
    I've been using pneumatic, angle-pattern piston valves. High flow rates, reliable, and bulletproof. Similar to ball valves, they don't clog as solenoid valves tend to. They do however introduce instrument air as another failure mode, but I'm good with that. A manual override can be had by selecting the right pilot solenoid; the ones you want have an LED to let you know it's getting signal, and a button to open the valve regardless of signal. These really help troubleshoot glycol systems. Cv values are important as you don't need any more restriction in your glycol line than you absolutely must. But I wouldn't lose much sleep over it either. Valve opening in 5 seconds is great. You also want slow closing to prevent hammer in the system. With air, this is adjusted with a small needle "speed" valve. Regardless of which direction you go, do NOT go cheap with failure as an option. Sure, the initial investment is low, and the replacement cost is low, but the real cost is your time to track it down and replace it. Not to mention an entire batch of wasted beer. Or your reputation if you choose to sell substandard beer. There are enough issues as it is. Do it right the first time!
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--