The Future of Industrial Valve Automation

The Future of Industrial Valve Automation

Rapid technological innovations will push industrial valve automation to new heights over the next five years. Here are some of the key trends that will drive progress in industrial valve automation and process control:

Increased Integration of IIoT and AI

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has enabled wireless networking to connect industrial valves and actuators to centralized control systems. IIoT connectivity will become ubiquitous in the future, allowing industrial facilities to collect vast troves of operational data from automated valves. Facilities can then analyze this data using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to optimize valve performance, predict maintenance needs, and fine-tune process control logic.  

AI integration will lead to self-optimizing and self-healing valve systems that can automatically adjust parameters, detect anomalies, and take corrective actions with minimal human intervention. Smart valve positioners enabled by edge AI computing will make real-time adjustments to ensure precise valve positioning. AI-powered industrial valve automation will enhance process reliability, reduce unplanned downtime, and boost operational efficiency.

Advanced Valve Condition Monitoring  

Many industrial facilities rely on manual inspections and scheduled maintenance to service valves, actuators, and related equipment. However, over the next five years, comprehensive online condition monitoring systems leveraging IIoT connectivity and smart sensors will become the norm. These valve monitoring systems will continuously track performance metrics like valve position, pneumatic pressure, temperatures, vibration signatures, and more.

Sophisticated analytics will allow maintenance teams to accurately predict valve failures based on degrading conditions before they occur. Rather than reacting to unexpected breakdowns, industrial plants will transition to a predictive maintenance model for valve assets. This approach will minimize unplanned shutdowns, reduce maintenance costs through optimized work schedules, and extend the operating life of valve equipment.

Adoption of Wireless Systems

Installing miles of wired communications infrastructure has traditionally been a significant cost and complexity for industrial valve automation projects. In the coming years, reliable and secure wireless technologies like WirelessHART, ISA100, and 5G will see increased adoption for connecting automated valve assemblies to control systems. Wireless valve automation will slash installation costs and enable flexible retrofitting of existing facilities.

Moreover, battery-powered industrial wireless valve controllers could provide autonomous operations without a grid power source in remote locations. For control valve assemblies in hazardous areas, wireless connectivity eliminates safety risks associated with running wired conduits, enhancing worker safety.  

Continued Push Towards All-Electric Actuators

Pneumatic valve actuators powered by compressed air have long been the industry standard. However, their inherent limitations, such as air leaks, freeze-ups, and maintenance requirements, will drive more industrial plants to adopt all-electric actuators over the next five years. Modern electric actuators offer high reliability, precision, efficiency, and easier integration with digital valve controllers.


As industrial valve automation continues its accelerated evolution through emerging technologies, process manufacturing across numerous sectors will benefit from tighter control, improved safety, increased uptime, and optimized efficiency. The coming years will reshape how valve-automated processes get designed, operated, and maintained using the latest digital innovations.

Mead O'Brien
(800) 874-9655