OEMs and end users often want the benefit of partnering with a single supplier, and it’s no different for fluid and gas control applications. This approach simplifies project development, helps ensure compatibility and accountability for system performance, and makes supply more efficient. For the best of both worlds, a distributor who can supply all the parts necessary to build a complete process system, as well as offering design and specification support is ideal.
This is the advantage of the key distribution partner agreement between Bürkert and Fine Controls.
“In reality, Fine Controls is an extension of Bürkert,” explains Clive Halliday, responsible for Bürkert’s north west of England projects. “Fine Controls has expertise across the complete Bürkert range of valves, sensors, transmitters, and controllers, and can also specify the whole range of components required for complete process control applications, such as temperature or pressure regulators, or high-capacity flow meters. From the customer’s perspective, this gives them the benefit of just one company to deal with.”
While Fine Controls operates across a wide variety of process applications, major projects between Bürkert and Fine Controls have focussed on the energy market, pharmaceutical production, and process control solutions for fisheries.
“A crucial distinction is that Fine Controls not only supplies a complete range of components, but that the team has a great deal of experience that enables them to specify applications for OEMs and end users,” says Clive.
A recent combined project for the development of a pharmaceutical skid was specified from scratch.
“They knew what they wanted to achieve, but they didn’t know how to achieve it,” says Gareth Hall, Fine Controls. “Together with Bürkert, we provided guidance and training on the type of valves they needed, explaining the advantages and suitability of the designs appropriate to each area of the application. For example, to increase operational efficiency, they wanted to know how to automatically control valves, so we introduced them to valve positioners, automated with electrical signals.”
In addition to specifying and supplying components, Fine Controls can also build and commission bespoke systems, including the assembly of sub-components for main systems. This ranges from manufacturing regulator manifolds, through to fitting special seals for use with specific chemicals. If the application has special requirements, like ATEX Zone 1 panel build, Fine Controls can lead the project and work with Bürkert who can design and build a fully certified unit.
With a relationship spanning 25 years, the level of trust means that Bürkert also develops customised solutions in support of important projects.
“An OEM manufacturing display fountains needed a valve with IP68 rating, enabling it to be fully immersed,” explains Clive. “In partnership with Bürkert, an IP68-equivilent valve was created, a customised version of a production valve, developed specially for Fine Controls’ project.”
Development also takes place in-house at Fine Controls, as Gareth explains:
“The Siemens PS2 positioner is one of the most common designs used in industry and it’s often specified. To provide the customer with the benefits in reliability of a Bürkert valve, we developed a customised solution that integrated the Siemens positioner, giving the customer the best possible outcome.”
While Fine Controls’ capabilities includes large-scale OEM projects for customers UK-wide, the distributor caters for customers of all sizes.
“We support low production OEMs as well, and end users of all sizes,” says Gareth. “We’ll provide end users with single units, with no minimum order quantity or value, and this is a reflection of the diversity of customer types we support across the process control sector.”
“With Fine Controls and Bürkert, it’s a real team effort,” says Clive. “We each provide products and services that compliment one another and on shared projects, we operate like one supplier. This is a significant advantage for the customer.”