November 09, 2013

Biffi And Power Mechanical Collaborate To Provide Actuation Solution For Complex Plant Regeneration Project

The existing Bacton plant controls 25% of the UK’s annual gas intake from the Southern North Sea (SNS) and European supply partners via the BBL Pipeline, and is a strategic facility for natural gas supply into the UK.

Having secured the actuation contract through Power Mechanical, Biffi is supplying 17 hydraulic linear (HLAS) and quarter-turn (OLGAS) spring return actuators for both gate and ball valve applications. The HLAS series in particular will be engineered for a range of class 600 valves from 12-24” and will be some of the largest linear actuators available on the market.

HLAS spring return actuators are designed for on-off and regulating service. The modular design allows transformation of the linear actuator from spring to close action to spring to open action and vice versa using the same components. Designed for extended service life and with minimal maintenance the actuators are engineered to order, to fit the specific stroke and torque requirements of the individual valves.

OLGAS hydraulic scotch yoke design actuators generate high break torque up to 750000 Nm with low hysteresis and high efficiency. Both Biffi actuator ranges are already installed on various Shell projects and meet Shell’s rigorous type approval, including 100-cycle testing.

Rejuvenating the Shell Bacton plant requires complex reengineering of the current valve and actuation technology at the site to bring the facility up to current international standards. A key requirement of the actuation solution is the need to upgrade the valve and control technology to emergency shutdown standards as part of the plant’s compliance with SIL 2.

A significant challenge on this project is the interfacing of old valve equipment with reengineered actuation technology. Bacton is a strategically important site and delivering a successful project is vital to improving safety and reliability, and maximizing uptime at the plant.

Marco Stoto, engineering manager for piston actuators at Biffi, adds: “Our expertise and track record ensures we can draw on experience and knowledge from a wide installed base. For complex projects such as this, engineering capability and testing, combined with close collaboration are key. Our relationship with Power Mechanical and Shell ensures that each actuator is engineered for a specific valve application and is delivered to site on time.”

Paolo Moretti, managing director of Power Mechanical, concludes: “Given the lifespan of the facility to date, it has been quite a challenge working with the existing valve equipment. Our relationship with Biffi goes back to 1988 and our previous project experience with Shell ensures we can provide an ongoing interface and support with the project engineering contractors. This approach enables us to overcome any engineering problems quickly and keep the project on track for a successful completion.”

About Biffi:

Biffi, an Italian brand, is a leading manufacturer of valve actuators with more than 55 years experience offering a comprehensive selection of standard as well as specially designed actuation products. These include electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, gas-hydraulic and subsea actuators, all available with a full complement of accessories and controls suitable for a wide range of applications. For more information, please visit