Valves, Actuators & Pump Control

Behind the chameleon

January 2015 Valves, Actuators & Pump Control

The V&A iCon® positioner family comprises the model 270991 valve positioner and the model 270960 valve positioner.


The chameleon is legendary for changing colour to adapt to its environment. How does this positioner family match up to that ability?

Process environment

The V&A 270991 positioner incorporates an LCD for configuration and fault-finding.
The V&A 270991 positioner incorporates an LCD for configuration and fault-finding.

The 270960 is ATEX flameproof and FM explosionproof rated, while the 270991 can be used for intrinsically safe applications. A stainless steel housing is available as an option.


While these positioners are well-suited to use in basic process control systems (BPCS) they may also be used in safety instrumented systems (SIS) in applications requiring components up to a SIL3 rating. Using the available partial stroke testing (PST) capabilities for ESD valve circuits

can yield massive bottom line cost savings through extended full proof test intervals.

System integration

Positioners from the V&A iCon® range can be interfaced to control systems through discrete I/O, analog I/O or through one of the many common process control protocols available. These include FOUNDATION Fieldbus H1, FoxCom, HART and PROFIBUS PA.

Valves and Actuators

Properly mounting a positioner onto a valve or actuator can be a significant challenge for EPC and end-user organisations because of the almost infinite permutations of valve supplier, valve body design, actuator supplier and actuator design.

This range of positioners overcomes these challenges by offering standardised, predesigned attachment kits for almost every known combination and custom kits for the unknown. This eliminates the engineering risk of physical integration of positioner to actuator/valve and ensures a well-engineered and lasting solution.

So whether the valve requiring a positioner comes from ABB, ARCA, Fisher, Jamesbury, Masoneilan, NAF, Neles, Samson, Valtek or a host of other manufacturers there is a suitable attachment kit.

And in the rare event that if there is no standard for that manufacturer there will be a custom kit to suit rotary, linear, cylinder or special mounting requirements that arise.

The positioners can be used in conjunction with single-acting and double-acting actuators.

Situational awareness

Just as the chameleon’s 360 degree vision ensures its safety through being vigilant to events in its surroundings, the intelligence built into the V&A iCon® positioners ensures that BPCS and SIL functions perform safely and as required.

Status and Self-diagnostics

Using local buttons in conjunction with the positioner’s integral LCD the user or technician can set up the positioner using the menu-based configuration system and also perform fault-finding on the device and the valve, thus minimising the need to carry loop simulators.

More advanced diagnostics are available using either the service plug, an optional infrared interface or through the control system protocol communications capabilities.

The self-diagnostics allow the technician to view data such as hours in operation and cycle counts, loop current and potentiometer status.

System diagnostics

More importantly from a maintenance and predictive maintenance perspective, performance of the valve + actuator + positioned combination can be configured and tested through the FDT/DTM-based software which is included in positioner deliveries at no additional cost. Planned service intervals can be set and monitored and information can be accessed on sum of actuator travel, position-response hysteresis curves, partial stroke test history and results, valve signatures and stem friction.

Field Device Tool (FDT) technology provides standardised communication and configuration interfaces between all field devices and host systems which means that these positioners can be seamlessly incorporated into existing asset management systems.

These diagnostics mean that the risk of valve non-performance and maloperation are reduced and owners can take early cost effective and planned action to repair valves that begin to show off-specification performance, thus preventing costly unplanned process stoppages.

The ability to incorporate PST into the V&A iCon® positioners means that the risk of probability of failure on demand of an ESD valve and its associated safety integrated function can be kept lower for longer, allowing proof test intervals to be extended and providing direct operational cost benefits.

For more information contact Fred Venter, Valve & Automation,+27 (0)11 397 2833,,


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