Smith Flow Control Celebrates New Agency Agreement in the Middle East

Smith Flow Control (SFC), the global market leader in valve interlocking, is delighted to confirm the signing of a new distributor agreement with Econosto BV to provide technical and commercial support locally in the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Egypt.

The Econosto Team

The Econosto Team

Mike Fynes, SFC’s Sales and Marketing Director, comments, “Following our recent sales tour to the Gulf Region we are thrilled to partner with Econosto.  The company has vital in-depth knowledge of markets across the Gulf and a vast number of established relationships with EPCs, contractors and end users, which will only help to enhance and support our plans for 2014.”

Econosto has grown from strength to strength in the Middle East since its first pioneering efforts in 1983.  The company’s headquarters are in Dubai, which is pivotal to SFC’s growth plans in the UAE, but will also benefit from the exposure of Econosto’s regional offices and partners across most of the Gulf countries.

Econosto's UAE HQ

Econosto’s UAE HQ

Plans are already in place for SFC to undertake regular sales tours in the Middle East, in conjunction with Econosto, showcasing the full range of interlocks and valve management systems, most notably the EasiDrive portable valve actuator, a cost effective alternative to permanent dedicated valve actuators.

Mike adds, “The proposed sales tours will only help to strengthen and further enhance the relationship with Econosto and we are looking forward to seeing the relationship evolve.”

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SFC Launches FlexiDrive II Remote Valve Operator with New Counter Mechanism

Smith Flow Control confirms the launch of FlexiDrive II, a dependable, versatile and cost effective remote valve operator.

The FlexiDrive II includes a new fully integrated counter mechanism, failsafe even in the most aggressive of environments. The counter mechanism displays valve position (open/closed), providing the operator with a clear indication of valve status.

Smith Flow Control’s FlexiDrive II valve operator can be applied to any handwheel operated valve, including lever operated valves (quarter turns) in oil, gas or petrochemical processing plants to make them constantly accessible and safe, regardless of location.


The FlexiDrive II system allows the user to operate a valve in a place of safety/convenience.  It is adaptable to any conventional valve with no modification requirements.  A patented, flexible, linear drive cable effectively delivers rotary torque for distances up to 30 metres. The system can be passed through and around walls, bulkheads and floors, and is completely sealed and lubricated for maintenance-free, continuous loop operation.

FlexiDrive II is constructed from corrosion-resistant, 316 Stainless Steel and can be submerged into flooded pits. It is designed to withstand temperatures from -30 to 175 degrees Celsius and is delivered as a complete sealed unit.

FlexiDrive II is a unique solution to remote valve operation and removes issues associated with valve access in potentially hazardous areas.

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Smith Flow Control Introduces TorkDrive to Prevent Plant Shut-Down and Protect Plant Assets

Smith Flow Control launches TorkDrive, a device that can be mounted to either the valve input handwheel or directly to the valve input shaft to safeguard the valve from excessive torque.

TorkDrive has two distinct benefits. It prevents valve damage, thus reducing the need for expensive plant shutdown and valve replacement (through over-torque) and provides vital information regarding site maintenance requirements.

TorkDrive Gate Valve with Spring Sets

TorkDrive Gate Valve with Spring Sets

TorkDrive can increase valve life as it prevents the operator from applying excessive force when closing the valve, protecting the valve seat.  TorkDrive controls the torque applied when operating a valve, ensuring that the same force is used regardless of the strength of the operator.

TorkDrive can be incorporated seamlessly into plant maintenance systems and schedules.  TorkDrive is set to a predetermined maximum torque and, if during the operation cycle of the valve, the operating torque increases above the maximum limit, the TorkDrive will slip, indicating an irregular valve condition. This will alert the operator to report the valve status to Site Maintenance, rather than continue to apply force to the valve.

TorkDrive boasts a compact design, weighing less than 4kg, despite an all-mechanical construction.  It is a completely maintenance free device, made from 316 Stainless Steel and is suitable for oil refineries, power plants, paper mills, water plants and chemical processing facilities.  TorkDrive withstands temperatures from -56°C to +100°C, with a torque setting range from 80Nm – 500Nm.  TorkDrive can be installed directly to manually operated valves, requiring torque monitoring over 80Nm (Ball, Gear, Gate & Globe etc).  TorkDrive also benefits from IP65 protection, safeguarding the device in the most aggressive of environments.

TorkDrive features unique clutch plates that are controlled by a series of calibrated compression springs. Two spring set configurations are available, a low range TorkDrive unit offering a maximum torque output range between 80Nm – 280Nm and a high range unit offering 250Nm-500Nm. Each unit is factory set before installation and the unit can be adjusted to suit the host equipment’s torque requirements using a calibrated setting scale within the body of the device. Each spring set has a unique colour code, thus ensuring that the correct torque range is always used.

TorkDrive comes complete with a tool for making fine adjustments.

The TorkDrive is supplied with bespoke adaptation to the host valve and its own operating handwheel/lever.

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SmartKey+ Securely Manages Safety Interlock Keys in Real Time

SmartKey+ is an extension of Smith Flow Control’s Key Management Systems.  Key cabinets provide a safe and visual way of storing interlock system ‘initiating’ keys. SmartKey+ has been developed to provide all the features of SFC’s Visual Alert Key Cabinet, along with the ability to record movements of keys in real-time, providing complete accuracy.

SmartKey+ uses RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology which allows a key to be tracked with complete confidence, providing operator and control room personnel with information on interlocked processes and their status.  Full transaction history is available, revealing details of key insertion/removal. The unit is designed to support a remote web interface, without any specific licence.


Image: SmartKey+ with a 36 key requirement

SmartKey+ has enhanced levels of system security.  All keys are trapped in the cabinet until authorisation is granted; a user is identified by a pin code.  SmartKey+ highlights specific key positions that the operator is authorised to use.  The user selects the appropriate key from the panel and removes the key as the selected key position is unlocked.

To reinsert a key in the SmartKey+ Cabinet, the user scans the key in front of the integrated scanner and the appropriate key position is highlighted on the frontal display for re-insertion.

The SmartKey+ Cabinet is configured around a central control panel capable of running a system with over 500 keys. SmartKey+ is comprised of modular sections, each containing 18 key positions, and can be increased incrementally.

SFC’s SmartKey+ provides a unique solution to key management, combining innovative software and smart technologies.

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FlexiDrive Valve Actuators Assist Paper Plants

Equipped with two stations and joined by a unique linear drive cable, the Smith Flow Control FlexiDrive tool offers paper and pulp plants a cost-effective remote device to safely control valve operations. The FlexiDrive valve operator is constructed of stainless steel, and holds up well in corrosive, industrial environments.


Typical paper and pulp applications can include inaccessible overhead valves, valves in pits and valves in hazardous zones.

FlexiDrive allows a user to locate a point of operation in a safe and convenient place in the plant.  It is adaptable to most valves with no modifications needed. The patented flexible linear drive cable effectively delivers rotary torque for distances up to nearly 100 feet depending on the output torque required. The system can be passed through and around walls, bulkheads and floors, and is completely sealed and permanently lubricated for maintenance-free, continuous loop operation.

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SFC’s Key Management System Ensures Safe Operation of Interlocks

To complement its key interlock system, industrial safety company Smith Flow Control (SFC) offers a high quality key management system.

SFC has designed a range of horizontal key cabinets to hold operational keys and ensure safe application under secure supervisory control. Each interlocked system has a dedicated, engraved tag location within the key cabinet to ensure total integrity and all keys are visually displayed inside the cabinet during periods of normal operation.


Once the initial key has been retrieved from the central key cabinet, an operator can begin the sequence of key transfer events that allows dangerous machinery and critical valves to be operated in a safe and pre-determined way, eliminating human error.

To facilitate this, key cabinets should be located in a secure place, typically a control room. Initial keys are typically issued by the Permit Officer. Key cabinets have fully lockable doors to prevent unauthorised access.

Throughout the procedure, the control room has a clear indication of work in progress at any time; a transparent perspex window provides visual key status. A ‘visual alert’ tag is revealed when the key is removed, providing details of the issued key, its designated location and a ‘work in progress’ signal.  Smith Flow Control also offers a more advanced version of this key cabinet, which incorporates micro switch actuation to signal key movements.

Key cabinets vary in size, but utilise a new horizontal design which allows greater capacity and storage for up to 280 keys. SFC offers the units in a choice of carbon or stainless steel. For more information, please visit the company website at or call +44 (0)1376 517 901.

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Smith Flow Control to Attend ADIPEC Oil &Gas Event in Abu Dhabi

Located on stand #8233, Smith Flow Control will demonstrate its headline products at ADIPEC, in addition to its wide range of safety interlocks.

On display will be SFC’s portable valve actuator, EasiDrive. Using EasiDrive, an operator can easily operate multiple valves, avoiding fatigue and injury risk. EasiDrive is especially effective on valves that require many turns, or valves that are difficult to operate due to high torque or challenging climate conditions.


FlexiDrive is SFC’s remote valve operating system that allows users to operate valves from a safe distance of up to 30m. It can be applied to any conventional wheel-operated device to make it constantly accessible and safe.

SFC will also be showcasing its PSV system which ensures maintenance procedures on safety relief systems operate in the defined, safe sequence.

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Smith Flow Control Celebrates Exceptional Export Achievements

Engineering company Smith Flow Control has been recognised for its tremendous success in export sales, winning a prestigious trophy at the ‘Made in South East’ Awards.  SFC is now on the short list for the major ‘Made in the UK’ Awards in 2014.

The ‘Made in the South East/UK’ Awards is part of The International Festival for Business (IFB) and will be the UK’s biggest business event in 2014.  Described as the ‘Olympics’ for business, the ‘Made in the UK’ Awards will celebrate the country’s prosperous manufacturing sector.

For the financial year ending 30 March 2013, SFC’s export sales accounted for 90% of total turnover. Through both direct sales and an extensive network of Agents and Distributors, SFC products can be found on Oil & Gas platforms across the globe.

Made in South East Awards_blog
Tracey Ayres, Finance Director receiving Export Award

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Smith Flow Control Invests in its Staff

Smith Flow Control Engineer Ben Hart has successfully graduated with a Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. SFC sponsored Ben through his two year course, which enabled him to gain new skills that he can develop and put to test in the business.

“Ben’s a diligent and versatile individual and we are grateful that we have a growing number of employees that we can place in our different departments, which also helps support the varying needs of the business during times of peak activity,” comments Mark Dymond, Operations Director.

Ben is now one of four individuals this year that have completed further education courses supported by the business, demonstrating the notable level of investment by SFC in its employees.

“I am so lucky to have been given the opportunity to complete my studies and I’m extremely grateful to Smith Flow Control for supporting my career advancement,” adds Ben.


Ben Hart, graduating with an HNC in Mechanical Engineering

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FlexiDrive Offers Safety, Ease to Power Plants

Smith Flow Control now offers a cost-effective safety tool for companies in the power industry to remotely control valve operations. The FlexiDrive remote valve operator securely operates valves in power plants that are hard to reach or in hazardous areas. The FlexiDrive operator station is positioned at grade, in a safe area, or in a better, ergonomical position. This eliminates the operator having to operate the valve in a hard-to-reach location.


FlexiDrive allows a user to locate a point of operation in a safe and convenient place in the power plant. It is adaptable to most valves with no modifications needed. A patented flexible linear drive cable effectively delivers rotary torque for distances up to 30 meters depending on the output torque required. The system can be passed through and around walls, bulkheads and floors, and is completely sealed and permanently lubricated for maintenance-free, continuous loop operation.

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