Cowan Dynamics

Cowan Dynamics’ energy, industrial and manufacturing industry clients rely on the company's products to keep their processes running. The Montreal-based company's internal focus on engineering, research and development allows it to more than meet this need.

“Our products aren't mass produced, they are designed specifically to solve a customer's problem,” Vice President of Business Development Jean  Behara says.

The company specializes in designing, engineering and manufacturing actuation and process control solutions used in the world's most challenging environments. “We can provide solutions that multinational companies aren't nimble enough to provide,” Behara adds. “Although we're small, we're nimble and agile and have a lot of engineering horsepower. We've solved a number of application problems our competitors have said couldn't be done.”

Cowan's actuators and other products are used in continuous processes within the mining, oil and gas industries. Actuator applications include use within flotation cells in the mining industry to extract minerals from slurry. The company's energy industry track record includes designing actuation for process valves used to control water in nuclear power plants and providing systems used within the hydroelectric industry to control the pitch of turbines.

The company's products and systems can help customers improve their operations and bottom line. At one refining plant, Cowan’s modulating systems increased the yield by $33 million per year. “More and more companies are looking to enhance and improve their efficiency without having to build a new wing of their plant or making large capital investments,” Behara says. “We give our customers a way to maximize what they have, whether through automating a new process or improving the efficiency of an existing process.”

Research and Development

Research and development have been high priorities for Cowan Dynamics for the past 10 years. The company's newest products include the AS series of spring return pneumatic valve actuators, which are designed to offer customers advanced safety features, lower operating costs and faster turnaround times than standard spring return actuators.  

“Typically, spring return actuators are produced on a case-by-case basis,” the company says. “Since the design requirements are not known until the sizing has been specified, the product is manufactured to order, resulting in slower quoting, longer lead times and higher production costs. With the AS Series, Cowan Dynamics has developed a standardized, catalogue-based spring return actuation solution.” 

Cowan’s proprietary i-Cylinder software lets customers configure the appropriate actuator with a few simple input parameters. The program automatically generates both an official quote and drawing.

Harsh Environments

Cowan has built an international reputation on the quality of its products and their performance record in the world's most challenging environments.  Applications include actuating process valves using large bore tandem cylinders on remote pipelines where temperatures of -65F are common. Innovations such as the GT3 triple seal rod gland have been developed for process conditions that are hot and abrasive.  

The company was also recently awarded patents for its AT series pneumatic valve actuator with integrated position transducer. The actuator's modular enclosed feedback design replaces exposed linkage arms, greatly reducing mechanical backlash and makes the system more responsive and efficient. In addition, the fully enclosed feedback unit is protected from damage, process media and the elements, which is ideal for harsh environments, Behara says.

A Complete Solution 

Custom actuation and process controls solutions have been the company's focus since the late 1990s, when it diversified from its origins as a provider of standard- cylinders to the pulp and paper industry.

The company recently took another step its evolution when it began distributing severe service valves through partnerships with Slurryflo, Skycera and the  Stainless Valve Company. “We've gone from just supplying a standard cylinder to supplying a custom cylinder that actuates a valve, the valve itself and the control package that automates the valve actuator assembly,” Behara says. “We can now provide a solution for an entire process, which is something I see us expanding on and taking to different market sectors. That's where I think the growth of the company will be.”

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