#WishIknew – What does “final control element” mean?



When you have a question about process automation that needs a short answer, let us know with #WishIknew and #Visaya! We’ll reply with a #WishIknew post. It’ll give a quick explanation, then some related articles, videos, or reviews if you want to know more.

I wish I knew what “final control element” means!

Okay! Final control elements are essential parts of a control loop, not to mention the whole process. They make sure the right quantity and quality of product passes through the process.

Let me explain the difference between monitoring systems and control systems. When we talk about monitoring systems, we have two essential items in this loop, the primary element and the controller. Primary element refers to the device that sends data from the process to the controller. The controller collects the process data for a local visualization, trend, or historical information.

Courtesy of Lesman

Now a control system has three parts in its loop, the primary element, the controller, and the final control element.  The primary element will measure the level, flow, or whatever, and send its data to the controller. The controller will compare the data with the setpoint.

If the values don’t match, then the controller sends a signal to open or close the final control element to reach the setpoint value. It happens over and over during the process operation.

So we can define a final control element as a mechanical device responsible for changing a process to achieve a setpoint in your system. Final control elements consist of valves, pumps, dampers, gates, and more.

You have ways to scale out the right final control element for your application, but keep these points in mind before you pick one:

  • Fast response, to start and stop instantaneously
  • Good precision and repeatability
  • Minimal maintenance required
  • Design to work in harsh environments or with particular materials

If you have further questions, we also advise you !

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