Controlling 3-Way Flow in Temperature Applications

Emerson’s Fisher division recently announced a new three-way, temperature-control valve and actuator system. The release highlighted its potential use by process manufacturers:

The new GX 3-way has the ability to accurately control the temperature of water, oils, steam, and other industrial fluids. Applications include heat exchangers and lubricating skids.

For those not well versed with three-way valves, you’ll find use for them in both flow mixing (converging) and flow splitting (diverging) applications.

I caught up with Brad Smith, the global GX control valve product manager, about some potential applications for this valve. Brad began by sharing the development objectives for this valve. Typically, when a process manufacturer cannot achieve the required control, they must reassess process-piping arrangements, often going to a 2-valve arrangement. This GX 3-Way valve provides the level of control to avoid re-piping and 2-valve arrangements.

Brad shared with me that the biggest application focus for this 3-way valve is in temperature control around heat exchangers. It was designed for high-capacity applications and precise linear characteristics required for accurate temperature control. Brad cited a specific heat exchanger application in beer brewing where the wort temperature is maintained with a glycol coolant.

Another common application for this 3-way valve is pH control on feedwater to a boiler. When the pH of the feedwater rises beyond a predetermined level, a three-way valve adds fresh make up water to reduce the pH back to target levels.

A third application Brad discussed was for test separator manifolds. Test separators are mainly used in oil & gas production facilities to measure the amounts of oil, gas, and water from the well. The manifold contains three-way valves coming from each wellhead that uses the test separator. Some installations use the three-way valves while others prefer globe valves.

A final application Brad shared was in the steel industry. Rod mills require good temperature water box control.

Most process manufacturers have temperature control applications requiring mixing flow streams or splitting flow streams. This three-way valve might have the flow characteristics and properties your application requires.

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