Project Title

High Efficiency Valves

Project Reference

financed by

BANDO UNICOR&S anno 2012

POR CReO FESR 2007-2013

Linea d’Intervento 1.5a -1.6


The project was developed in collaboration with the University of Florence, Department of Industrial Engineering, directed by prof. Andrea Arnone.

The reference person of the project is prof. Benedetto Allotta.


For any additional technical information about the project, please contact:

Nicola Lucchesi

Research & Development



24 months +3 month (extension)

Starting Date

December 2012

End Date

March 2015

Project Scope

The HEV project is focused on two main activities:

  1. Turbine bypass Valve Controller.

The aim is to develop and test a Turbine By Pass Valve Controller (software and hardware), composed by a local controller and the main control architecture based on a virtual simulation of the whole Turbine Steam plant.

Main Project activities:

  • State of the Art of control system dedicated for Turbine Bypass

  • Developing a real time Virtual Turbine Steam System

  • Implementation of the software and hardware controller of a Turbine bypass system.

  • Testing the implemented controller on a prototype version

  1. New typology of quarter turn actuator, optimized for control valve application.

The scope is to develop, design and test a new type of actuator based on an innovative kinematics able to substitute the standard Scotch Yoke solution, increasing the performances of the actuator in terms of efficiency, repeatability dead band and accuracy. All these characteristics are extremely important when an accurate control is required and the main limitation is not given by the valve but by the characteristics of an actuator commonly used for on/off service.

Main Project activities:

- State of the Art of the kinematics commonly used for the actuation of a quarter turn valve.

- Design and manufacture a Prototype version of the innovative solution

- Design and manufacture a Test Bench for measuring actuators performances

- Start a Test Campaign to compare the innovative actuator with a Scotch Yoke standard type


Turbine bypass Valve Controller

A numerically efficient model for Real Time (RT) simulation of a steam plant was implemented. In particular, a modular Simulink™ library of components such as valves, turbines and heaters has been developed, in order to simulate different plants and operating scenarios. The code, which is implemented for a fixed, discrete step solver, can be easily compiled for a RT target (such as a Texas Instrument DSP) in order to be executed in Real Time on a low cost industrial hardware. The proposed model has been used for quite innovative applications such as the development of a Hardware In the Loop (HIL) test rig of turbine bypass controllers and valve positioners.

Respect to the current state of the art, the proposed model is optimized in order to be implemented on a low cost DSP and to be integrated on an industrial control system. In particular, using the proposed model, two different control strategies of the plant have been simulated. For both control strategies, simulated results are coherent respect to the data of a benchmark case study available in literature. This is an important result in order to verify robustness of both model and controllers respect to the multi-task approach adopted for RT implementation.

A test rig has been developed to execute open loop tests for the identification of the rig actuators dynamics. Moreover, the linearized transfer functions were found from the non-linear Simulink model. Therefore, the control system tuning has been improved according to the results of the stability margin analysis for which the identified transfer functions were used. Finally, the model has been used to successfully control the complete HIL test rig which is still used for the testing of valves and positioners.

Test Ring View, developed to perform the implemented controller

Innovative Quarter Turn Actuator

The main performances of the proposed actuator are based on a constant torques characteristic and have been compared with a conventional scotch yoke actuator using both simulation results and experimental data. In order to measure the efficiencies and the dynamical responses of the actuators, an hydraulic test rig has been designed and configured to fulfill different testing procedures. In this way, it is possible to perform both static tests to identify actuator efficiency and dynamic tests in which an assigned load or valve impedance function is simulated in order to verify the response of the tested actuator in near to realistic conditions. Finally, the proposed test rig has been successfully used to perform reliability and fatigue tests in which the actuator is stressed with realistic and repetitive loads.

The innovative solution has been patent to protect the potential development of a new series of products from a commercial point of view.

Layout of the test rig with the innovative actuator.


The encouraging preliminary results, achieved from the Test Campaign of the innovative Pulley Cable solution, have convinced to submit a patent request:

dated 26-11-2014,

number F12014A000258.

Moreover, the research activities have been summarized in an articles published on Industry Journals or presented to international conferences, as per the following list: