SmartStep™ Precision Electric Actuators

SmartStep™ precision electric actuators are available in 500, 1200, 2500, and 5000 in-lbs outputs.

Additional SmartStep™ Key Features:

  • Hazardous Location Rating is standard: Class 1, Division II, Group A, B, C, and D
  • Non-Contact Position Sensing: No mechanical switches to wear out
  • Capacitor Based Electronic Power Backup: Allowing for backup lifespan of greater than 10 years
  • Customizable Speed Settings: Each model may be customized to fit your Open/Close speed needs
    • X0500: 3-10 seconds for 90° rotation
    • X1200: 7-20 seconds for 90° rotation
    • X2500: 12-36 seconds for 90° rotation
    • X5000: 28-80 seconds for 90° rotation
  • Programmable Feedback Standard: 4-20mA feedback allows remote reading of exact position of the actuator shaft
  • High Number of Starts Per Hour: Can exceed 6000 starts per hour
  • Permanently Lubricated Drivetrain: No maintenance needed
  • 100% Modulation Standard: 4-20mA or 0-10V DC control input standard
For assistance in specifying and applying SmartStep™ precision electric actuators contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at 804-752-1000 or visit

Automated Monitoring, Performance Diagnosis, and Configuration of Industrial Valves

Valve Monitoring

As corporations worldwide are increasingly concentrating on their bottom-line margins, there is an increased drive towards efficiency and productivity in industrial operations. Operators are also looking to respond to industry concerns about aging assets. All manufacturing activities are continually motivated to improve performance and productivity to boost profit margins and optimize bottom-line returns. This drive takes place in many industry sectors against a backdrop of increased health, safety, and environmental issues and the need to make changes to old assets that can sometimes run beyond their original design lifespan.

Reducing the number of unscheduled plant shutdowns is an essential way of fulfilling these targets. Unplanned shutdowns are mostly related to worn-out machinery and are attributable to exceeding process equipment's longevity in many instances. Operators may avoid expensive shutdowns and increase production uptime with a regular maintenance schedule and a condition monitoring solution that minimizes maintenance spending and improves plant safety. Asset tracking, asset management, and predictive maintenance solutions are, therefore, becoming increasingly common.

Valve Condition Monitoring's goal is to detect and prevent possible failures before causing unsafe conditions and unplanned downtimes.

Since valves are a critical component of any flow-based operation, valve efficiency is an essential factor to check when trying to avoid unplanned maintenance, or worse, shutdowns of plants and the resulting loss of batch output.

Although some operators already deploy condition monitoring on control valves and critical valves, many valves are often left unmonitored, particularly those used for on / off and shutdown applications. Although the technology for controlling these valves is available, operators are discouraged from such an investment because of the prohibitive hardware and installation cost. 

Although some valve manufacturers have touted various valve testing and monitoring systems, many proposed solutions can pose operational, financial, and technical implementation problems. This is because they are usually considerably more expensive than conventional methods or require new electrical systems and hardware to accommodate and enhance the monitoring software. Suppose automation is fundamental, such as that needed with on/off valves. In that case, the transformation is relatively low in value. This way, the time and resources involved in implementing a useful monitoring solution can be challenging to justify. However, the consequence is that vast numbers of on/off valves are not supervised and pose a significant risk of valve failure.

By implementing this technology cost-effectively on all automatic valves, a plant will provide production efficiency and avoid unspecified delays and unsafe conditions. Valve Condition Monitoring is useful to all operating phases of the plant and thus provides the ability to increase all current and future installations' performance and safety.

If you are considering updating your plant's valve monitoring strategy, contact a local expert who can guide you through all the ups and downs. The information they provide is truly invaluable. 

Automatic Controls of Virginia
(804) 752-1000 

Extremely Rugged, Hazardous Area Pressure Switch - The 6900GE from Custom Control Sensors (CCS DualSnap)

The Custom Control Sensors hazardous location 6900GE Series is the most popular, all-around, all-aluminum gage pressure switch. The series is UL/CSA explosion proof, Class I, Groups A, B, C and D, and Class II Groups E, F and G certified. NEMA 4X and IP66 rating is optimum for wet conditions.

It is designed with high vibration and shock resistance utilizing Dual Snap® disc spring technology ensuring high accuracy and repeatability. It comes with high over-pressure capabilities and still relatively compact in size to conveniently mount on panels. It meets the demand for all applications commercial, industrial and otherwise. 

6900GE Industrial Applications Include:

  • Oil & Gas
  • Power Generation
  • Fluid Management
  • Chemical Refining and Processing
  • Manufacturing Process
  • Utilities, Water Treatment and Waste
  • Safety Systems

For more information about CCS DualSnap products, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at 804-752-1000 or visit their website at

SmartStep™ Precision Electric Actuators

SmartStep™ Precision Electric Actuators
SmartStep™, by USI, are AC or DC powered precision electric actuators rated for Class 1, Division II, Group A, B, C, and D hazardous areas. They are used for applications requiring 100% modulation and/or open/close operation.

SmartStep™ actuators incorporate non-contact position sensing increases reliability, eliminating wear failure from mechanical switches or contacts.

SmartStep™ is available in four torque outputs, 500, 1200, 2500, or 5000 in-lbs torque. All models include a bright four-line LCD display shows an extensive list of valve states and service advisories, including: valve position, cycle count, back-up power charge statues, current/max temperature values, system faults, and many others.

Get the SmartStep™Brochure Here

SmartStep™ Precision Electric Actuators

SmartStep™ Actuator Features:

  • Robust design engineered for 100% Modulation and Open/Close operation
  • UL/CUL and CE approved with Class 1, Division II, Group A, B, C, and D Hazardous Location Rating.
  • Electronic Power Backup option powers actuator enabling it to return to pre-programmed safe position in the event of loss of control signal or power.
  • Life Expectancy of Power Backup option is greater than 10 years due to super capacitor technology.
  • ISO 5211 direct mounting for F07 and F10 compatible valves.

SmartStep™ Actuator Certifications:

  • CE Certified
  • UL/CUL Certified
  • UL Class 1, Div 2, Groups A, B, C, D Hazardous Location Rated

For more information about SmartStep™ actuators, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at 804-752-1000 or visit their website at

XOMOX® Cavity-free, Sleeved Plug Valves

XOMOX® sleeved plug valves are are non-lubricated quarter-turn valves that achieve sealing through the use of a compressible sleeve as a sealing member. They provide maintenance-free and cavity-less design benefits, namely no costly lubrication required and no accumulation or contamination of process media. Sleeved plug valves are used for on/off and throttling service in demanding process applications with media temperatures ranging from -20°F to 600°F.

For more information about XOMOX plug valves, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at 804-752-1000 or visit their website at

White Paper: Theory, Application, and Sizing of Air Valves in Water and Wastewater System Pipelines

Sizing of Air Valves

One of the most misunderstood aspects of the water and wastewater industry is the presence of air in a pipeline and its impact on operations. Many operational problems, especially at the time of initial start-up, including damaged equipment, as well as faulty instrumentation readings, are blamed on inadequate thrust blocking, improper pipeline bedding, etc. But in reality, many of these problems are not caused by improper installation of the line, but by failure to de-aerate the line. Properly de-aerating the pipeline with the use of automatic air valves will safeguard it from air-related problems.


  • Introduction
  • Three Basic Types of Air Valves
  • Air Release Valves
  • Air/Vacuum Valves
  • Combination Air Valves
  • Air Valve Locations Along a Pipeline
  • Air/Vacuum Valve Sizing
  • Air Release Valve Sizing
  • Summary
  • References


For more information about Val-Matic products, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at 804-752-1000 or visit their website at

Waterman Engineered Water Control Products for Water and Wastewater Treatment, Hydropower/Dams, Industrial, Drainage/Flood Control, and Irrigation

Waterman Engineered Products
Waterman is a recognized leader in water control products for water treatment, wastewater, high-volume agricultural and rural surface water delivery, hydro-power, and flood control management.

Waterman is a leading provider of water control gates, valves, automated controls and accessories to these markets and key customers such as government agencies (water districts, utilities, flood control districts) and agricultural water users (growers, cooperatives).

Waterman products include: Slide & Sluice Gates, Large Custom Gates, Water Treatment Specialties, Drainage Flap Gates, Canal Gates, Line Gates, Riser Valves & Hydrants, Air & Pressure Relief.

Waterman has over 100 years in the control gate and valve business, developing custom-engineered solutions for thousands of critical projects throughout the world.


For more information on Waterman products in Virginia, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at (804) 752-1000 or visit them at

Installation and Startup for the Quest-tec Magne-Trac Magnetic Level Gauge

The Quest-tec Solutions Magne-Trac utilizes a non-magnetic pipe chamber mounted directly to a vessel. The process connections from the chamber to the vessel act as an inlet and outlet that allow the liquid level in the pipe chamber to match the level in the process vessel. Inside the chamber, a custom designed float rises and falls with the level of the liquid in the chamber. A 360ยบ magnet array within the float projects a magnetic field through the pipe chamber to an externally mounted indicator to provide a visual read out of the liquid level within the vessel.

The Magne-Trac™ level indicator is easy to install, low maintenance, and easy to view. Accessories include point level switches and transmitters to provide integration into plant control systems.

The Quest-tec Solutions Magne-Trac Plus combines the Magne-Trac magnetic level gage with the Bridle-Trac by pass chamber. It may be used with our VAR Partner E&H GWR or customer specified radar for redundant level measurement. The Magne-Trac Plus is recommended in applications that require both visual and electronic level viewing.

For more information on Quest-tec products, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call us at (804) 752-1000 or visit our website at

Flowrox Valve Solutions for Demanding Shut-off and Control Applications

Flowrox Valves

Heavy Duty Pinch Valves

Flowrox heavy duty pinch valves are “The pinch valves”. They are made to last and are ideal where shut-off and control applications involve abrasive or corrosive slurries, powders or coarse substances.

General Line Pinch Valves

Flowrox general line pinch valves are robust and cost- effective valves with simple, single-sided closing mechanism. PVG valves have a strong valve body and opening tags in the sleeve as standard. PVEG valves have a corrosion resistant and light-weight plastic body. They are ideal for low cycle applications involving abrasion, corrosion and aggressive slurries. Through the reliability and structure, they offer substantial savings based on improved performance, long service lifetime and low total cost of ownership.

Slurry Knife Gate Valves

Flowrox Heavy Duty Slurry Knife Gate Valves isolate flow, even in the most demanding process conditions. The complete valve is built around an ease-of-maintenance concept. The designs of Flowrox Slurry Knife Gate Valves are based on the years of experience Flowrox has gained, providing reliable solutions for abrasive and corrosive process applications.


For more information, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at (804) 752-1000 or visit

The EIM TEC2 Electric Valve Actuator

The EIM TEC2 is the next step in reliable high-performance digital valve control to make your work easier and safer. The TEC2 includes a robust and compact design that are widely used on valves for marine, oil and gas, chemical, power, and water and wastewater applications. Accurate torque sensing is accomplished using a rotary Hall-Effect encoder directly connected to torque pinion kept active in both motor and manual operation. The TEC2 has a compact profile, patented, Remote Display Module that puts local controls within easy access for safe operation, diagnostics, configuration or monitoring for hard to reach locations or limited access areas.


Automatic Controls of Virginia
(804) 752-1000

Wastewater Treatment Facilities as Early Warming Sentinels for Coronavirus

New studies show that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, is shed in human feces and is collecting in our city sewers.  If the pandemic continues in waves as the latest estimates believe, wastewater treatment plants could provide early warnings to prevent ICUs and hospitals from being swarmed.

It needs to be mentioned that experts believe, based on previous coronavirus research, that SARS-COVID-2 is effectively removed through traditional water treatment processes. The focus on these public health surveillance efforts track virus levels before treatment.

Environmental microbiologists have studied pathogens in sewage for decades. In 1989, Israel set up a Polio virus sewage surveillance system. The use of sewage pathogen monitoring in wastewater treatment facilities as a public health surveillance tool, however, is a fairly new area of study. 

Biobot, Somerville, MA company who specializes in wastewater epidemiology, is establishing protocols to test sewage for SARS-CoV-2. If successful, this data will give communities a dynamic map of the virus as it spreads to new places.

Data from sewage will enable communities to:
  1. Measure the scope of the outbreak independent from patient testing or hospital reporting, and include data on asymptomatic individuals,
  2. Provide decision support for officials determining the timing and severity of public health interventions to mitigate the overall spread of the disease,
  3. Better anticipate likely impact on hospital capacity in order to inform hospital readiness and the necessity of public health interventions,
  4. Track the effectiveness of interventions and measure the wind-down period of the outbreak, and
  5. Provide an early warning for reemergence of the coronavirus (if it does indeed have a seasonal cycle).
To learn more about their program, visit the Biobot website.

Other useful links about the effort to use wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 tracking:

Automatic Controls of Virginia is Now the Authorized CCS DualSnap Distributor in Virginia and Washington D.C.

Automatic Controls of Virginia is very pleased to be appointed the Authorized Distributor for Custom Control Sensors, also known as CCS DualSnap, in the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as in Washington, D.C.

CCS DualSnap is a leader in providing pressure and temperature sensing products for the Aerospace, Defense, Industrial and Energy industries. CCS’ designs utilize the proven, rugged “Dual-Snap®” disc spring and advanced sensing technologies to provide their customers superior solutions for pressure and temperature applications.

For more information, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at (804) 752-1000 or visit their website at

Glossary of Valve Terms and Acronyms

Glossary of Valve TermsTerminology plays a critical role in the understanding of specialized or technical contexts. Understanding the specific terminological meaning of the technical contexts in process control and industrial systems assists in defining and communicating the main message of a document, which in turn allows stakeholders the ability to transmit the content much more effectively.

A glossary is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge with the definitions for those terms. It's purpose is to document the key words and phrases which are regularly contained in a body of content.

Val-Matic, a leading manufacturer of check valves, quarter turn shut-off valves and air valves for water/wastewater, industrial and building markets, has assembled an outstanding glossary of terms and acronyms used in the valve, process flow, and process piping segments. This is a must-have resource for anyone new in in industrial engineering, maintenance, or procurement.

You can download the Val-Matic Glossary of Valve Terms and Acronyms from this Automatic Controls of Virginia web page.

Coronavirus Statement and Update

We at Automatic Controls of Virginia continue to navigate the ever changing COVID-19 pandemic. We are closely monitoring and following the guidance available through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and state and regional public health authorities. We are committed to keeping the safety of our customers, business partners, and employees.

Our Ashland warehouse location remains open and our supply chain remains intact. We are maintaining a limited staff in our Ashland Office to support critical functions including shipping/receiving, accounting, and IT.

Additionally, we have implemented the following requirements:

  • Restricting visitor access to our facility.
  • Increased frequency of sanitizing facilities and work spaces
  • Requiring regular hand washing and sanitizing.
  • Using technology where possible to replace in-person meetings.

We will update this statement as the situation changes.

We thank you for your continued business and support. Please stay safe and be well.

Cavitation in Valves

Cavitation in Valves

Cavitation can occur in valves when used in throttling or modulating service. Cavitation is the
sudden vaporization and violent condensation of a liquid downstream of the valve due to localized low pressure zones. When flow passes through a throttled valve, a localized low pressure zone forms immediately downstream of the valve. If the localized pressure falls below the vapor pressure of the fluid, the liquid vaporizes (boils) and forms a vapor pocket. As the vapor bubbles flow downstream, the pressure recovers, and the bubbles violently implode causing a popping or rumbling sound similar to tumbling rocks in a pipe. The sound of cavitation in a pipeline is unmistakable. The condensation of the bubbles not only produces a ringing sound, but also creates localized stresses in the pipe walls and valve body that can cause severe pitting.

Read this white paper, courtesy of Val-Matic, to fully understand what happens when cavitation occurs in valves.

Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Cavitation Analysis
  • Cavitation Data
  • Valve Coefficient Data
  • Example Application
  • Conclusion & Recommendations
  • References
For question about the proper applications of valves, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. Call them at (804) 752-1000 or visit their web site at

Basics of Industrial Valves and Actuators

This video provides a basic understanding of industrial valves types, and also an understanding of valve actuator types.

Industrial valves are designed in three major categories. They are:
  • Rotary multi-turn valves. These include gate, globe knife and multi port valves. 
  • Rotary quarter turn valves these include butterfly ball plug and choke valves.
  • Linear valves. These include gate, angle globe, and globe valves. 
There are many varieties and subcategories for these basic three design configurations.

Two major functions of industrial valves are isolation and control. Isolation valves are used in applications where the primary concern is the opening or closing of the valve when needed. Isolation valves provide tight shut off and sometimes provide simple control. They are operated via hand wheels or levers, electric actuators, pneumatic actuators, or hydraulic actuators.

Control valves are used to modulate flow to maintain a certain set point in the process control loop. Traditionally, control valves use pneumatic diaphragm positioners, but newer technology enables control with pneumatic and electric actuators.

There are three types of valve actuators:
  • Electric
  • Pneumatic
  • Hydraulic 
Electric actuators use electricity is their power source, have a relatively slow strokes speed, are moderately priced, and typically include the valve operating system. Electrical and mechanical technical skills are required to install and maintain electric actuators.

Pneumatic actuators use air or gas as their power source, have relatively fast stroke speeds, are relatively inexpensive, and require external devices for their valve operating system. In most cases, only mechanical technical skills are required to install and maintain pneumatic actuators.

Hydraulic actuators use hydraulic fluids as their power source, have fast stroke speeds, are more expensive, and require external devices for their valve operating system. Electrical and mechanical technical skills are required to install and maintain hydraulic actuators.

For more information about industrial or municipal valves, actuators or control systems, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. They can be reached by calling 804-752-1000 or visit their website of

Pinch Valves: An Outstanding Choice for Erosive and Abrasive Flow Conditions

Pinch Valves

Pinch valves are designed and constructed to outlast other types of valves in high wear applications. They are ideal where shut-off and control applications involve abrasive or corrosive slurries, powders or coarse substances.


In the open position, the valve is full bore with no flow restrictions. During closing, two pinch bars squeeze the valve sleeve shut on the centerline. Bubble tight shut-off is provided even if solids have built up on the sleeve wall. The rubber sleeve is the only wearing part which significantly reduces maintenance costs and extends service

Pinch Valve OperationPinch valves can be either shut off valves (also known as isolation valves) or control valves, and provide superior performance in the most demanding applications, where conventional valves encounter problems with wear due to increased turbulence. When the controlled flow is abrasive, it is a big advantage to have only one, wear resistant, valve part in contact with the medium. Because of this, the need for maintenance and spare parts is greatly reduced.

As the valves are self-cleaning, even if any solids are accumulated in the sleeve wall, it breaks away when the valve is operated. This is due to the flexibility of the sleeve, making the valve lifetime longer than many other competing products on the market. The sleeve is naturally wear resistant and when particles hit the sleeve’s rubber surface, the energy is absorbed and released when the rubber bounces back.
Pinch Valve Advantages

Strongly consider the use of a pinch valve to retrofit or replace the failing ball, butterfly, or gate valve in your application. Most plant maintenance and engineering staff will tell you they are very pleased with the decision.

For more information on the many uses and applications of pinch valves, contact Automatic Controls of Virginia. They can be reached by calling (804) 752-1000 or visit their web site at