Alfa Laval has released its new hygienic valve indicator, the ThinkTop V20. The company states that by moving valve position monitoring into the Industry 4.0 era, there will be competitive advantages. With automation, digitization and real-time communication, the ThinkTop V20 raises the bar on process control, making it more reliable and accurate while saving time and money on installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance, says Alfa Lava.

It is the first pure valve-sensing unit that is maintenance-free and does not require manual adjustment or programming. It enables 360-degree LED visual status indication from all directions. ThinkTop v20 also provides control-room monitoring of the real-time status of Alfa Laval hygienic valves used across the dairy, food, beverage, home and personal care, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other industries,

Designed to digitize essential on-off valve monitoring, the ThinkTop V20 sensing unit provides a pragmatic approach to enhancing reliability of valve status and position. This new addition to Alfa Laval’s ThinkTop V-series enables a higher level of process control for manufacturers who rely on visual and signal feedback of the open or closed valve positions.

Reportedly it takes just a few seconds to commission the ThinkTop V20 by installing, activating and deactivating the unit. The live set-up is designed to be intuitive. Sensors automatically recognize the valve type and size, calibrate and record the valve opening and closing distances—no manual interaction is required to complete set-up. Replacing or hot swapping the valve top is reportedly easy to do without disrupting production. The company states that no expertise, training, adapters or special tools are required.

Part of Alfa Laval’s ThinkTop V20 shares the same look, maintenance-free housing and enhanced 360-degree LED visual status indication as the rest of the ThinkTop V-series control tops. Its compact design makes it suitable for tight installations and manufacturers are able to select the communication protocol—digital, AS-Interface, IO-Link—that nest suits its processing needs. Sealed hermetically, the V20 ensures reliable readings of the valve position and prevents the risk of water, dust and other unauthorized access into the unit. The point-to-point IO-Link communication protocol connects the sensors to automated systems. It also makes access to meaningful real-time data easier, which the company states improve diagnostics and simplifies configuration and control while supporting Industry 4.0.

Real-time visibility and remote monitoring capabilities are some features of the ThinkTop V20 unit and is reported to provide a competitive advantage to manufactures who rely on hygienic valve status data. Beyond what originally was available, Alfa Laval designed this new V-series valve sensor for faster set-up and more reliable process control.