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High Efficiency Valve

This work belongs to the project High Efficiency Valves (CUP: D55C12009530007), which is financed by the program POR CREO FESR of Regione Toscana (European Funds for Regional Industrial R&D projects).


  • Parte A: Hardware-In-the-Loop testing of actuation systems for turbine bypass valves


During the start-up and shut-down phases of steam power plants many components are subjected to pressure and temperature transients that have to be carefully regulated for both safety and reliability reasons. For this reason, there is a growing interest in the optimization of turbine bypass controllers and actuators, which are mainly used to regulate the plant during this kind of operations.

Therefore, a numerically efficient model for real-time simulations of a steam plants was developed in collaboration with Velan ABV S.r.l. and University of Florence (Department of Industrial Engineering). In particular, a modular SimulinkTM library of components such as valves, turbines, and heaters has been developed.

In this way, it is possible to easily assemble and customize models able to simulate different thermal-fluid plants and operating scenarios (including off-design and failure conditions).

The resulting code, which is implemented for a fixed, discrete step solver, has been easily compiled for Real-Time targets (such as a Texas Instrument DSP) to be executed in Real-Time on low-cost industrial hardware. Therefore, one of the most innovative characteristics consists in the development of a Hardware-In-the-Loop test rig of turbine bypass controllers and valve positioners.

Preliminary experimental activities and results of the proposed test rig developed for Velan ABV S.r.l. have been obtained in the recent period and have been object of publications for congresses and international journals.


  • Parte B: Design and Hardware-In-the-Loop Testing of an Innovative Wire Transmission for a Quarter Turn Actuator


Object of this activity is the development of an innovative Pulley and Cable actuator in collaboration with Velan ABV S.r.l. and University of Florence (Department of Industrial Engineering), whose characteristics are very useful in applications in which a high efficiency and a linear behaviour are desirable specifications.

In this work, the main features of the proposed actuator, which is protected by a patent, are evaluated and compared with respect to a conventional solution consisting in a scotch yoke transmission system. The comparison is performed using both the simulation results and the experimental data.

In order to identify the efficiency and the dynamical response of the innovative actuator, an innovative Hardware-In-the-Loop test rig was designed, which can be configured to perform different testing procedures. In this way, it is possible to perform both static tests, to identify actuators efficiency, and dynamic tests, in which an assigned load or a valve impedance function is simulated to verify the response of the tested actuators in realistic conditions. Finally, the proposed test rig has been successfully employed to perform both reliability and fatigue tests in which actuators are subjected to realistic and repetitive loads.

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