Monday, August 19, 2019

Kinetrol Blueline Pneumatic Actuators for Foodservice Applications

Kinetrol Blueline actuator

"Blueline" series of pneumatic vane actuators from Kinetrol are designed for use in food service and beverage processing.  The actuators are intended to be installed in areas requiring harsh chemical washing-down. These areas are very tough on most pneumatic actuator types because the actuator is very often adversely affected by the caustic or acidic chemicals used in cleaning.

The Kinetrol Blueline actuator has an applied coating that meets the FDA allowance whereby "Resinous and polymeric coatings may be safely used as the food-contact surface of articles intended for use in producing, manufacturing, packing, processing, preparing, treating, packaging, transporting, or holding food ...".

Kinetrol's rotary design is based upon a single moving part which eliminates additional parts required to convert linear motion to rotary motion. This simple and innovative design provides a highly accurate and extremely reliable actuator for operating foodservice and beverage industry valves, providing outstanding cycle life, smooth and precise movement.

Kinetrol's Blueline Series offers a very economical option for use in foodservice wash-down environments and are in compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDA) regulations, including 21 CR 175.300 (Code of Federal Regulations). The combination of Kinetrol's superior actuator design, coupled with the wash-down approved coating, makes a very compelling case to specify the Blueline actuator for your next food and beverage industry actuation requirement.

For more information, contact:
Kinetrol USA
https://kinetrolusa.com
972-447-9443

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

How To Install and Remove a Kinetrol Actuator Spring Unit

This video demonstrates how to install and removed a spring unit for a Kinetrol vane actuator. Spring units are available for either clockwise or counter clockwise spring action. They are mounted, as standard, between the actuator and what it drives. With spring units alone, direction is determined by looking at the unit from the end which interfaces with the actuator.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Kinetrol Actuator in 60 Deg. Rotation, Continuous Cycling Application on Permanent Mold Casting Machine

hydraulic cylinder
Hydraulic cylinder (shaded in yellow) and it's associated rods and
yokes. Note the difficult access and adjustability.
Permanent mold casting (PMC) is a metal casting process that employs reusable molds, usually made from metal. Common permanent mold casting casting metals are aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. Other materials include tin, zinc, and lead alloys and iron and steel are also cast in graphite molds. The permanent mold process has a number of advantages over other casting techniques. Benefits of permanent mold casting are:
  • No waste from the mold
  • Reusable mold
  • Good surface finish
  • Good dimensional accuracy
  • High production rates
  • Higher conductivity levels
Kinetrol actuator
Kinetrol actuator replacement. The actuator mounts directly to equipment,
connected directly to the shaft eliminating the need for rods and yokes.
A foundry in the North Central USA was using a hydraulic cylinder to continuously position an armature on each side of a piece of foundry equipment. The movement of the cylinder and associated hardware was limited to 60 degrees of rotation for the application. The mounting style and location of the hydraulic cylinder made it very difficult to access and adjust. To make things worse, the cylinder design and it's associated rods and yokes compounded the need for adjustment due to wear.

The local Kinetrol Distributor was called in and immediately saw the opportunity to replace the hydraulic cylinder, rods, and scotch-yokes with a Kinetrol actuator and simple mounting.

The Kinetrol actuators have been working for several years now, moving continuously without problem and eliminating the need for frequent adjustments.

For more information, contact:
Kinetrol USA
https://kinetrolusa.com
972-447-9443

Sunday, June 30, 2019

New Hacking Risk for US Power Grids and Oil & Gas Industries

A report released in June, from the security firm Dragos, describes a worrisome development by a hacker group named, “Xenotime” and at least two dangerous oil and gas intrusions and ongoing reconnaissance on United States power grids.

Multiple ICS (Industrial Control Sectors) sectors now face the XENOTIME threat; this means individual verticals – such as oil and gas, manufacturing, or electric – cannot ignore threats to other ICS entities because they are not specifically targeted.


The Dragos researchers have termed this threat proliferation as the world’s most dangerous cyberthreat since an event in 2017 where Xenotime had caused a serious operational outage at a crucial site in the Middle East. 

The fact that concerns cybersecurity experts the most is that this hacking attack was a malware that chose to target the facility safety processes (SIS – safety instrumentation system).

For example, when temperatures in a reactor increase to an unsafe level, an SIS will automatically start a cooling process or immediately close a valve to prevent a safety accident. The SIS safety stems are both hardware and software that combine to protect facilities from life threatening accidents.

At this point, no one is sure who is behind Xenotime. Russia has been connected to one of the critical infrastructure attacks in the Ukraine.  That attack was viewed to be the first hacker related power grid outage.

This is a “Cause for Concern” post that was published by Dragos on June 14, 2019

“While none of the electric utility targeting events has resulted in a known, successful intrusion into victim organizations to date, the persistent attempts, and expansion in scope is cause for definite concern. XENOTIME has successfully compromised several oil and gas environments which demonstrates its ability to do so in other verticals. Specifically, XENOTIME remains one of only four threats (along with ELECTRUM, Sandworm, and the entities responsible for Stuxnet) to execute a deliberate disruptive or destructive attack.

XENOTIME is the only known entity to specifically target safety instrumented systems (SIS) for disruptive or destructive purposes. Electric utility environments are significantly different from oil and gas operations in several aspects, but electric operations still have safety and protection equipment that could be targeted with similar tradecraft. XENOTIME expressing consistent, direct interest in electric utility operations is a cause for deep concern given this adversary’s willingness to compromise process safety – and thus integrity – to fulfill its mission.

XENOTIME’s expansion to another industry vertical is emblematic of an increasingly hostile industrial threat landscape. Most observed XENOTIME activity focuses on initial information gathering and access operations necessary for follow-on ICS intrusion operations. As seen in long-running state-sponsored intrusions into US, UK, and other electric infrastructure, entities are increasingly interested in the fundamentals of ICS operations and displaying all the hallmarks associated with information and access acquisition necessary to conduct future attacks. While Dragos sees no evidence at this time indicating that XENOTIME (or any other activity group, such as ELECTRUM or ALLANITE) is capable of executing a prolonged disruptive or destructive event on electric utility operations, observed activity strongly signals adversary interest in meeting the prerequisites for doing so.”

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Kinetrol Vane Actuators in Sugar Production: Suger Cane Processing

First in a 2-part series on the use of Kinetrol pneumatic vane actuators in the production of sugar.  The first part focusses on sugar cane processing. The second focusses on sugar beet processing.

Suger Kane Processing


Suger Kane ProcessingSugar is produced in over 130 countries worldwide. Around 80 percent of sugar is produced from cane, which is grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The remaining 20 percent is manufactured from beet grown in more temperate climates. Refined sugar is both chemically and functionally identical whether it is produced from cane or beet.

Transportation – Cane is loaded into lorries or rail trucks and taken to the mills for processing. On arrival the cane is washed to remove rocks and leaves.

Suger Kane ProcessingShredder – The shredder shreds the cane and reduces it into fibrous material to expose the sucrose bearing cells. This allows for the extraction (milling) process to maximize the removal of the sugar juice from the cane.

Milling – This is the extraction process whereby the sugar is removed from the cane. The shredded cane is crushed between heavy, grooved metal rollers to separate the juice from the fibre. The milling process involves a number of mills which are made up of three rollers arranged in a triangular formation. As the cane is crushed in the mills hot water (or recovered impure juice) is sprayed onto the crushed cane. The resultant dark green juice (sometimes called vesou) is then sent to a mixed juice tank for storage before clarification.

The cane fiber (called bagasse) is recycled as a fuel for the mill’s boiler furnaces. Importantly, milling must take place within 36 hours of the cane being cut.

Kinetrol units are used to control the flow of water to the spray system. It is necessary to ensure that sufficient water is used to remove the sugar content without flooding the cane.

Suger Kane ProcessingClarification and Filtering – Clarification is where soluble and insoluble impurities (sand, soil, etc.) are removed. The vesou is heated and then lime is added to the juice. Clear sugar juice is run off from the top of the clarifier. The muddy juice, extracted from the bottom of the clarifier, is mixed with fine bagasse and filtered to recover more sugar. This process can be repeated to ensure maximum recovery of sugar. The final recovered mud & bagasse mix is used as a soil treatment on the cane farms.

Kinetrol units are used to control the flow of the vesou to the clarifier. Controlled flow reduces turbulence which allows for quicker settling times. Kinetrol's are also be used to control the recirculation flow of the sugar juice to the clarifier.

Suger Kane ProcessingEvaporation – The clear juice from the clarifier is concentrated into a syrup by boiling it under vacuum in evaporators. Around two-thirds of water in the juice is removed in the evaporation process leaving an end syrup with approximately 65-70 percent sugar content.

Kinetrol actuators are used to control the flow of steam to the evaporation tanks. In addition they control the flow of the juice through the evaporators. This is because of their reliability in the higher ambient temperatures in the process area.

Vacuum Pans – The syrup is concentrated further by boiling it in vacuum pans. Here it is ‘seeded’ with small sugar crystals to allow crystallization to take place. When the the sucrose concentration reaches the desired level the mixture of crystals and syrup, called massecuite, is sent to the centrifuges.

Kinetrol actuators control the input of heating steam into the pans as well as the flow of the massecuite through the process.

Centrifuges – High speed centrifuges separate the massecuite into sugar crystals and by-products (molasses).

Kinetrol actuators control the massecuite feeding system into the centrifuges. Accurate control of the valves feeding the centrifuges is necessary to prevent overloading and leakage of the centrifuges.

Suger Kane ProcessingKinetrol actuators also control the water inlets of the automated wash system for the centrifuges.


Dryers – Damp sugar crystals are dried in heated dryers before being sorted in sizes and either packed or stored.

Kinetrol's reliability, especially under hot, humid conditions, are crucial factors for our units being used within the sugar industry. Depending on the plant and location the actual ‘processing’ season varies from around four months for sugar beet to six months for sugar cane. During this short time it is essential that plants have no production issues as this will have a dramatic effect on the productivity and therefore competitiveness of the plant. The reliability and robustness of the Kinetrol units means they continue to function through each production season year after year.

Kinetrol’s ability to maintain an unchanged torque rating even with wear of the lip seals, means critical valves continue to function correctly over time. This is especially true with a product that is highly viscous in the later stage of production (e.g. thick juice, molasses).

With some plants being non-operational for many months of the year there does exist time for service & maintenance or replacement of rack & pinion actuators. However as margins within the sugar industry are low, the total cost of ownership for Kinetrol units over a number of production seasons makes them a more cost effective solution.

For more information, contact Kinetrol USA by calling 972-447-9443 or by visiting https://kinetrolusa.com.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Changes to the Kinetrol VLS Limit Switch Box: KUSA-TSB123

After a decade since the launch of the Kinetrol Universal Limit Switch Box it has become necessary to replace the tooling. As a result, we have taken the opportunity to make some improvements to the design.

With the continued pressure for modularization and commonality the new precision die cast switch box will offer some positive improvements over the current model, more internal space for future developments and will be known as the VLS Limit Switch Box.


For more information, contact Kinetrol USA by calling 972-447-9443 or visit https://kinetrolusa.com.