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How to Calibrate a Control Valve

There's no doubt that having a well-calibrated control valve is crucial for any industrial process. After all, without proper calibration, you could end up with costly mistakes and subpar performance. A control valve calibration is an important process for industry to get right. By calibrating a control valve, it ensures that the valve is functioning at peak efficiency. This in turn leads to better overall performance in the industry process. Having a properly calibrated control valve can save time and money by optimizing the process.
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    If you’re looking for tips on how to calibrate a control valve, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of calibration and walk you through the steps needed to properly calibrate a control valve. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your control valve is functioning at peak efficiency and delivering optimal performance in your industry process.

    Calibrate a Control Valve without Valve Positioner

    Diverse sequencing patterns may be assumed by split-ranged control valves. Complementary, exclusive, and progressive control valve sequencing methods are often used in the process sector.

    Split-Range Control and Its Complements

    With this type of split-ranging, there is never an output range state when both valves are completely open or closed. Instead, each valve enhances the function of the others. When base and pigment liquids are combined to create colorful paint, as seen below, two valves are often used to balance the combination of the two fluid streams. This is an example of complementary split-range control.

    split range control valve
    split range control valve picture from instrumentationtoolbox

    The same controller output signal drives the base and pigment valves. The base valve ATC means air to close, and the fail position is a valve to open(FO). whereas the pigment valve ATO means air to open, and the fail position is a valve to open(FC). The relationship between each control valve’s valve opening and the controller’s output is displayed in the following table:

    Controller Output (%)l/P Output (PSI)Pigment Valve (Stem position)Base Valve (Stem position)
    03Fully ClosedFully Open
    25625% Open75% Open
    509Half-OpenHalf – Open
    751275% Open25% Open
    10015Fully OpenFully Closed

    Exclusive Split-Range Control

    This kind of split-range control has a throttled route for process fluid that is “EITHER OR” by nature of the valve sequencing. In other words, process fluid never passes through both valves at once; it always passes through one or the other.

    When using split-ranged control valves, it is necessary to sequence the valves so that both are completely closed at a 50% controller output signal, one valve fully opens as the controller output increases to 100%, and the other valve fully opens as the controller output decreases to 0%.

    When reagents are fed into a pH neutralization process, where the pH value of the process liquid is raised by the addition of either acid or caustic, this type of split-ranging is used practically as follows:

    exclusive split range control
    exclusive split range control valve picture from instrumentationtoolbox

    The above procedure’s fundamental guiding principle is:

    1. A pH analyzer checks the mixture’s pH level, and a single pH controller tells two reagent valves when to open.
    2. The controller’s output signal rises as the process pH rises, opening the acid valve directly as a result (direct action).
    3. The pH level of the mixture will decrease as a result of the addition of acid.
    4. If the process pH starts to fall, on the other hand, the controller’s output signal will also drop, closing the acid valve and opening the caustic valve.
    5. The pH level of the mixture will increase as a result of the caustic addition.

    The operating range of the Air-To-Open acid valve is 9 to 15 PSI, while that of the Air-To-Close caustic valve is 9 to 3 PSI. The relationship between each control valve’s valve opening and the controller’s output is displayed in the table below:

    Controller Output (%)l/P Output (PSI)Acid Valve (Stem position)Caustic Valve (Stem position)
    03Fully ClosedFully Open
    256Fully ClosedHalf – Open
    509Fully ClosedFully Closed
    7512Half – OpenFully Closed
    10015Fully OpenFully Closed

    Continually Split-Range Control

    To increase the operating range of flow control for a particular fluid beyond what a single control valve could deliver, this type of split-range control for control valves is used. In this type of control, one of the valves, typically a small valve, gradually opens until it is fully open at 50% of the controller output while the large valve stays closed until the controller output exceeds 50% before it begins to open. When the controller output is 100%, both valves fully open.

    A pH control process, where the incoming liquid always has a high pH value and must be neutralized with acid, is an illustration of progressive split-range control:

    progressive split range control
    Continually split range control

    The analyzer, AT, measures the PH of the incoming water to be treated. The small acid valve begins to open as the controller AIC’s output rises and opens completely at 50% of controller output. The large acid valve will continue to be closed until the controller output reaches 50%. To guarantee that the PH of the incoming water is neutralized, the small and large acid valves are both fully open at 100%.

    The following diagram illustrates the controller output and valve status necessary for small and large acid control valve sequencing:

    Controller Output (%)l/P Output (PSI)Small Acid Valve (Stem position)Large Acid Valve (Stem position)
    03Fully ClosedFully Closed
    256Half OpenFully Closed
    509Fully OpenFully Closed
    7512Fully OpenHalf Open
    10015Fully OpenFully Open

    Before each THINKTANK control valve leaves the factory, our engineers will complete the material tests, NDT tests, hydraulic tests, sealing tests, leakage tests, and function tests. However, due to the collision or displacement during transportation, the control valve should be debugged again after being installed on site.

    Today we will talk about how to quickly debug the mechanical electro-positioner of the pneumatic diaphragm control valve.

    Firstly, when the air source is connected, adjust the pressure gauge to the required pressure value of the actuator. For example, 0.2bar air supply of 40-200kpa spring diaphragm actuator, 2.4bar air supply of 80-240kpa spring range. Generally, the air source pressure of the diaphragm actuator cannot exceed 3.5 bar, otherwise, the diaphragm will be easy to be damaged.

    7 Steps to Calibration of Control Valve Positioner

    The Calibration Method of Mechanical Electro Positioner in Pneumatic Control Valve

    yt1000 valve positioner
    yt1000 valve positioner

    Step 1: Check the Actuator Spring Range

    This actuator spring range is 80-240kpa, so we first adjust the pressure regulator to 2.4bar.

    Step 2: Connect Wiring

    Open the function box of the valve positioner, and connect the analog signal’s positive and negative poles.

    Step 3: Feedback Level Position

    Open the positioner cover, adjust it manually to ensure the feedback rod is in the horizontal position when the valve is at 50% opening, and then fix the feedback rod clamp block.

    Step 4: Calibrate the Zero Position

    Calibrate the zero position. 0% travel length. This black wheel is the zero adjust knob. Set the input signal to 4 mA to see if the positioner output pressure is zero. If not, adjust the black knob to make the output pressure gauge drop to zero, indicating that the valve is in the initial position (If it is air to open, the valve should be in the closed position. If it is air to closed, at 4 mA, the valve should be in the fully open position). We can see that this valve is now in the closed position.

    Step 5: Zero Adjustment

    Input a 5 mA signal to see if the valve responds. If no feedback, adjust the zero adjust knob till the positioner output pressure gauge and valve start action. Back to 4 mA input signal to see if the valve is in the closed position. In other words to see if the positioner pressure gauge is in zero position. If it doesn’t back to zero, keep adjusting the knob till the pressure gauge is in zero adjustments. Input 5 mA signal again, and the valve starts response.

    Step 6: Adjust the Travel Range

    100% full travel position. Input 20 mA, whether the valve is at 100% opening. If the valve travel indicator is too low or too high, it is necessary to readjust the full position. Loosen the locking screw and adjust the travel lever. The + sign indicates an increase in travel. The – sign means to reduce travel length. If the valve does not reach 100% position after 20 mA is given, move the screw to + direction by 1 mm. Then tighten the locking screw. In particular, it is necessary to readjust the zero position after adjusting the 100% full range opening. Now input 4 mA signal and check whether the valve is 0. If not, repeat step 4 until the valve returns to zero. Give a 20 mA signal again to see if the valve is in the 100% travel position. If it is not in the full range position, adjust the locking screw position again.

    Step 7: Proportional Travel for Each Signal

    After adjusting the full range and zero position, input 4 mA, 8 mA, 12 mA, 16 mA, and 20 mA, in turn to see if the travel indicator needle corresponds to the 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% positions of the travel plate. So far, the mechanical electrical positioner debugging is completed.

    HEP15, HEP16, HEP Valve Positioner Manufacturer

    TypeHEP15: Explosion-proof, HEP16: Intrinsically-safety, HEP17:Water-proof
    Input signal4~20mA, 4~12, 12~20mA·DC
    Output characteristicsLinear, equal percentage, quick-opening
    Air supply140~500kPa
    Air consumption4L/min (Air supply: 140kPa)
    Flow capacityMax.110L/min (Air supply:140kPa
    Air connectionRc1/4″, 1/4NPT, G1/4″
    Ambient temp.-40~+60℃(Explosion Site),-40~+80℃(Standard Site)
    Ambient humidity10%~90%RH
    Stroke6~10, 10~100mm
    Shell materialA-alloy
    Shell constructionHEP15:Ex. Certification dⅡCT6, as per standard GB3836.1, GB3836.2; Protection class of shell: IP65, as per standard GB4208, HEP16: Ex. Certification iaⅡCT6 Gb, as per standard GB3836.1,GB3836.4; Protection class of shell:IP65, as per standard GB4208
    Wire connectionM20×1.5,1/2NPT, G1/2″
    PerformanceAccuracy: Within ±1% FSDead band: Within 0.1% FS
    Speed4mm/s(HA2D Pneumatic Actuator)

    Final Thought

    Now you have known the calibration method of the control valve mechanical positioner, next time we will talk about intelligent positioner and pneumatic-pneumatic positioner debugging methods, including calibrating to Siemens positioner, ABB positioner debugging, FISHER positioner calibration, Flowserve positioner calibrate, etc. THINKTANK is a professional control valve manufacturer in China, with CE, ISO9001-2015, ISO14001, and SIL3 safety function certificates. If you need technical support and a business quotation for your project, please feel free to contact us.


    Picture of Will Don

    Will Don

    After earning my bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Zhejiang Normal University in 2008, l was fortunate enough to begin my career with Siemens, Fisher, and YTC, focusing on control valve accessories. Over the past dozen years, l've poured my heart and energy into understanding technology and fluid solutions for control valves.
    Now, as the marketing director for THINKTANK, a trusted branch of the Taiwan STONE valve group, I can't help butf eel proud of how far we've come. Our knowledge isn't just reaching professionals like engineer and valve distributors; it's also inspiring the next generation of automation college students.
    l genuinely hope you're enjoying our articles and finding them helpful.Your thoughts, questions, and feedback mean the world to me, so please don't hesitate to reach out to marketing[at] Whether you're a seasoned expert or just curious about the field, I'm here to connect, share, and learn together.

    All Posts »

    I am the author of this article, and also the CEO and marketing director of THINKTANK, with 15 years of experience in the industrial valve industry. If you have any questions, you can contact me at any time.

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    With expertise in valves and rich experience in the oil&gas, chemical industry, textile mills, power plants, and sugar mills. THINKTANK has become the premier manufacturer of next-generation precision control valves.

    With a customer base that includes over 42 of the world’s leading engineering&contractors and international valve brands, THINKTANK Valves offers cost-effective valves that help our customers achieve automated process control without paying high prices.

    Why are more and more international valve brands choosing THINKTANK for OEM service?

    Brand is reputation, which not only requires high valve technology, but also great comercial support and fast response after-sales service and delivery time. They will not gamble their brand on an unknown product

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