Alfa Laval ThinkTop® Control & Indication Unit

For reliable, automated system control, look to the new ThinkTop® control and indication unit from Alfa Laval. ThinkTop offers the most advanced, automated control of valves in the industry. Whether you are modifying an existing plant or planning a new installation, ThinkTop is just right for your process. ThinkTop’s registered design features a modularity and flexibility like no other control unit Alfa Laval has ever offered.

The ThinkTop control and indication unit is so versatile, it can be used on any air-operated, sanitary valve from Alfa Laval—including single-seat, butterfly, and mixproof valves.

Models

  • Basic
  • Digital
  • AS-Interface
  • DeviceNet
APPLICATIONS

The ThinkTop is a control and indication unit used in conjunction with multiple kinds of processing valves. It is used mainly to control and monitor pneumatic valves. Mounted on top of the valve, it receives signals from a PLC to control the valve and sends feedback signals to the PLC to indicate when the valve is in a certain position. The ThinkTop is used to control a pneumatic valve and/or to report the position of the valve remotely through an electronic signal.

ThinkTop is available with a digital signal, AS-Interface, or DeviceNet network protocol compatibility.

WORKING PRINCIPLE

Alfa Laval's ThinkTop utilizes a magnet mounted on the valve stem and a sensor unit to detect the valve position. The sensor unit contains sensor chips that detect the axial magnetic field of the magnet with an accuracy of ± 0.004 inches. This magnetic system means that the ThinkTop can provide accurate position feedback without any mechanical switches, and without any mechanical adjustments. Valve control is provided by means of optional 1, 2, or 3 pneumatic solenoids installed within the unit.

The ThinkTop unit is set up through a simple process that utilizes a few switches within the unit.

FEEDBACK SIGNALS

The sensor system can be used for four feedback signals and one status signal, for a total of five digital PNP/NPN feedback signals. The selection of PNP or NPN is done by a jumper. Two of the feedback signals can be external sensors if necessary. The status signal is used for detection of the following:

  • Set-up in progress
  • Internal error
  • Required maintenance (based on time and/or the self adjustment program)

The LED lights constantly indicate the status of the unit: 

  • Valve position
  • Solenoid activated
  • Setup and local fault indication
  • Maintenance and seat lift
SET & FORGET

In the past, a control unit had difficulty in maintaining set parameters entered by the user. With ThinkTop, you set it just the one time, and then forget about it. Using a combination of a state-of-the-art, patented sensor system and pre-set tolerance bands, the ThinkTop self-adjusts, eliminating the need for adjustment over time.

SIMPLE INTEGRATION

Most control tops in the industry only offer open and closed signals, while the ThinkTop goes one step further. In addition to open and closed signals, ThinkTop offers two additional internal signals, external signals, or one of each. The accuracy of the sensor system allows ThinkTop to detect the seat-lift motion of a mixproof valve.

MAINTENANCE NOTIFICATION

ThinkTop allows you to set a specific time frame, using 90-day intervals, to indicate when normal valve maintenance is required. When this period of time has expired, ThinkTop will send a signal to the control computer and an orange LED light will light up.

Based on the valve’s movement along the previously set tolerance band, ThinkTop can also detect if any elastomers have worn out before scheduled maintenance. Over time, the valve may move outside the tolerance band into an “alert” band, which is often caused by seal wear. While the system retains its feedback signal and continues to operate, you will be notified that maintenance is necessary. Again, an orange LED light will light up, and a signal will be sent to the control system.

This maintenance notification eliminates valve seal leakage and unnecessary shutdown. Knowing the condition of your valve before it is too late will ultimately improve its overall performance.

FITS ALL VALVES

The ThinkTop control and indication unit can be used on any air-operated, sanitary valve from Alfa Laval, including single-seat, butterfly, and mixproof valves. This means you do not have to worry about attaching ThinkTop to a specific Alfa Laval valve, thus virtually eliminating any room for error. Since one ThinkTop fits all valves, any surplus valve purchased can be used for your other valve applications.

FEATURES
  • Self-adjusts when installed
  • Can be set-up without dismantling or readjusting
  • Fits all air-operated, sanitary valves from Alfa Laval
  • Includes a wide range of interface modules
  • Integrated indication of seat-lift
  • Offers the ability to integrate external signals in the top
  • Includes maintenance indication integrated in the top
  • Saves set parameters until reprogrammed, even during power failure
MATERIALS
Plastic PartsNylon PA 6, reinforced
Steel Parts304, 316
SealsNitrile (NBR), EPDM rubber for SMP-EC activator stem
TECHNICAL DATA
Sensor Accuracy± 0.004 inch
Distance to Magnet0.2 ± 0.12 inch
Stroke Length0.004 – 3.15 inch
Electrical ConnectionDirect cable gland entry (hard wired) PG11 0.15 – 0.39 inch diameter
Power Supply Voltage8 – 30 VDC
Power Supply CurrentMax 45 mA (excluding current to the solenoids, external proximity switches, and the PLC input current)
Protection ClassIP67

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