Industrial Automation

Understanding 2 out of 2 SOV: Working & Configuration

  • In industrial automation, reliability is paramount. Any failure in field instruments can lead to significant consequences, ranging from production downtime to safety hazards. 
  • To mitigate such risks, engineers employ various strategies, one of which is the implementation of redundancy through 2 out of 2 SOV (solenoid-operated valve) configurations. 
  • This article explores the working principle, configuration, benefits, and drawbacks of 2 out of 2 SOV systems in industrial settings.
Understanding the Need for Redundancy
  • Field instruments in industrial processes are susceptible to failures due to various reasons such as single digital output assignment, reliance on a single cable for communication, or the use of a single instrument in the field. 
  • These vulnerabilities increase the likelihood of system downtime or malfunction, posing operational and safety risks. 
  • Recognizing these challenges, engineers seek robust solutions to enhance the reliability of control systems.
  • 2 out of 2 SOV redundancy is a strategy employed to reduce the failure rate of field instruments. It involves the use of two solenoid-operated valves in parallel, each controlled by a separate digital output. 
  • This redundancy ensures that even if one valve or digital output fails, the system can continue operating reliably.
  • To implement 2 out of 2 SOV redundancy, two separate digital outputs(DO) are created in the control room, each connected to a distinct cable leading to one of the SOVs. 
  • These SOVs are typically constructed using two 3/2 solenoid-operated valves. 
  • Care must be taken during configuration to allocate the SOVs in different slots within the Distributed Control System (DCS) or Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) to maximize redundancy.
  • The working principle of 2 out of 2 SOV redundancy is straightforward yet effective. 
Understanding the Need for Redundancy 1
  • When both digital outputs are activated simultaneously, it signifies a state of redundancy activation in the 2 out of 2 SOV system. 
  • In this scenario, both SOV1 and SOV2 receive electrical signals and consequently become energized. 
  • As a result, the inlet air, which flows from port 1 to port 2, is allowed to proceed unhindered through both valves. 
  • This combined flow of air ensures a consistent and reliable supply to the final output, contributing to the smooth operation of the control system.
  • By activating both digital outputs concurrently, the redundancy feature of the 2 out of 2 SOV configuration is fully utilized, providing assurance against potential failures and maintaining operational continuity.
Understanding the Need for Redundancy 3
  • In the scenario where digital output 1 (DO1) is activated while digital output 2 (DO2) remains deactivated, the 2 out of 2 SOV system operates in a specific mode to ensure continued functionality. 
  • When DO1 receives the activation signal, it triggers the energization of SOV1 while leaving SOV2 de-energized.
  • With SOV1 energized, it allows the flow of inlet air from port 1 to port 2, directing it towards the final output. 
  • Meanwhile, SOV2 remains in a de-energized state, effectively blocking any flow through it. 
  • As a result, the airflow is directed solely through SOV1, ensuring the proper functioning of the final output without interference from SOV2.
  • This selective activation of SOV1 and deactivation of SOV2 in response to the activation of DO1 demonstrates the dynamic control capabilities of the 2 out of 2 SOV system. 
  • By independently controlling each solenoid-operated valve based on the status of the digital outputs, the system can adapt to various operating conditions while maintaining redundancy and reliability.
Understanding the Need for Redundancy 4
  • In the scenario where digital output 1 (DO1) is not activated, while digital output 2 (DO2) receives an activation signal, the 2 out of 2 SOV system operates in a mode tailored to this specific condition. 
  • When DO2 is activated, it triggers the energization of SOV2 while simultaneously de-energizing SOV1.
  • With SOV2 energized, it opens the pathway for the inlet air to flow from port 1 of SOV2 to port 2, which leads to the final output. 
  • Meanwhile, SOV1, being de-energized, closes its pathway, preventing any airflow through it. 
  • However, in this configuration, there is a need for additional clarification.
  • As per your description, the airflow exits from port 1 of SOV2 to port 2 to reach the final output. 
  • However, you also mentioned a pathway from port 3 of SOV1 to port 2. The function of port 3 in this context needs to be clarified, as it seems to introduce an additional pathway in the airflow. 
  • If port 3 serves as a secondary outlet for the airflow from SOV1, it might redirect the airflow to a different destination or act as a bypass route for redundancy purposes.
  • In any case, the selective activation and deactivation of SOV1 and SOV2 based on the status of the digital outputs ensure that the airflow is directed appropriately to maintain the operation of the final output. 
  • This dynamic control mechanism allows the 2 out of 2 SOV system to adapt to different operating conditions while upholding redundancy and reliability.
Understanding the Need for Redundancy 5
  • In the scenario where both digital output 1 (DO1) and digital output 2 (DO2) are not activated, the 2 out of 2 SOV system enters a state of standby or non-operation. 
  • In this state, neither SOV1 nor SOV2 receives an electrical signal, resulting in both valves being de-energized.
  • As a consequence of both SOVs being de-energized, the pathways for airflow through the valves are closed. 
  • At port 1 of both SOV1 and SOV2, which serve as the inlet ports, the airflow is effectively blocked. This prevents any air from entering the system and reaching the final control element.
  • With no airflow reaching the final control element due to the closure of both SOVs, the system remains in a static state with no operational activity. 
  • This condition ensures that the final control element remains inactive and unaffected until either one or both of the digital outputs are activated to initiate the flow of air through the SOVs.
  • This state of non-operation demonstrates the fail-safe nature of the 2 out of 2 SOV system when neither digital output is activated. 
  • It serves as a protective measure to prevent unintended operation of the final control element in the absence of control signals, thereby maintaining system integrity and safety.

The adoption of 2 out of 2 SOV redundancy offers several advantages:

  1. Enhanced Reliability: By providing redundancy at both the digital output and valve levels, the system’s reliability is significantly improved, reducing the risk of unexpected failures.
  2. Fault Tolerance: The redundancy allows for continued operation even in the event of a single component failure, minimizing downtime and production losses.
  3. Improved Safety: Reliable operation of field instruments is critical for ensuring the safety of industrial processes and personnel. 2 out of 2 SOV redundancy helps maintain operational integrity, thereby enhancing safety.
  4. Simplified Troubleshooting: With redundant components, identifying and isolating faults becomes more straightforward, facilitating quicker resolution and maintenance activities.

Click here for Designing 2 out of 4 Voting Logic in Control Systems: A Step-by-Step PLC Ladder Diagram Tutorial with Video

Despite its benefits, 2 out of 2 SOV redundancy also presents some challenges:

  1. Increased Cost: Implementing redundancy requires additional hardware, including valves, cables, and digital outputs, leading to higher upfront costs.
  2. Complexity: The addition of redundant components can increase the complexity of the control system, requiring careful configuration and management.
  3. Space Requirements: Redundant components may occupy more space, particularly in systems with limited physical footprint.
  4. Maintenance Overhead: While redundancy improves reliability, it also introduces additional maintenance requirements, such as regular testing and inspection of redundant components.

Click here for Designing 2 out of 3 Voting Logic in Control Systems: A Step-by-Step PLC Ladder Diagram Tutorial with Video

Sundareswaran Iyalunaidu

With over 24 years of dedicated experience, I am a seasoned professional specializing in the commissioning, maintenance, and installation of Electrical, Instrumentation and Control systems. My expertise extends across a spectrum of industries, including Power stations, Oil and Gas, Aluminium, Utilities, Steel and Continuous process industries. Tweet me @sundareshinfohe

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