May. 23, 2022
Valves are manufactured to last a long time. However, in some cases, industrial valves will not last as long as expected. Identifying these situations can help extend the life of a valve. In addition, valve maintenance is an important aspect of any valve's life.
Valve wear is a normal occurrence. However, with proper installation and maintenance, you can extend the life of your valves. Band-Aid solutions are not a permanent solution when it comes to valve maintenance.
There are many ways to extend valve life and three factors are always in play. These are the selection process, the installation process and the maintenance process. Selecting the right valve is the key to the valve's life cycle. The other two maximize the expected life of the valve.
This article discusses various ways to extend the life of industrial valves.
There are multiple valves in one operation. The first step in maintaining valve integrity in order to extend its service life is to understand how a particular valve works.
Check the XHVAL label on the valve for valve specifications, including the type of system the particular valve is used in. In addition, be sure to read the manual that came with the valve to learn about the valve's material, pressure and temperature range, etc.
For example, ball valves are for tight shutoff only. Gate valves have throttling capability, but are more prone to friction. Butterfly valves are lightweight and facilitate media isolation, but there is a tendency for the base material to remain in the valve. Safety valves would be an excellent choice for throttling.
Part of understanding each valve is understanding its proper installation. If pressure is an important consideration, find out what type of bore the valve should use. Whether the valve should be bolted, welded, or similar is also a major factor. This could mean a potential leak or a tight seal.
One of the problems when you are not familiar with valve parts is that you can end up damaging the valve by misidentifying it. One such example is the rotation of travel limiters on valves and actuators. The travel stops usually look like bolts and nuts. These should not be touched because they will prevent the disc from rotating.
However, damage to the valve can be avoided by knowing how the external valve assembly looks and knowing where the valve components are located.
Technical factors such as pressure, flow direction, and temperature are also part of the learning curve. Calculating the best efficiency point (BEP) gives you the value at which the valve will work optimally.
Valve selection can be daunting. However, this stage is the make or break stage. If you are frugal in your selection process, you may choose the wrong valve. This can mean potential losses.
One of the main causes of leaks is the wrong valve design or material associated with the medium. In the long run, the wrong valve will lose its optimum performance. That means loss for you.
What you should do is know the answers to these questions.
1. What is the nature of the media?
2. What is the temperature range of the media?
3. What is the pressure range of the media?
4. Is the valve in the open position or is it always closed?
To avoid valve manufacturers citing the wrong valve, be sure to review the valve specifications and always ask the right questions.
After delivery, proper installation begins with the maintenance of the valve. Valves can be damaged by corrosion caused by negligence, especially if the valve is not exposed to the components.
Another common problem among valve technicians is the removal of end caps used as protection for internal valve components. When these are removed, foreign objects are likely to enter the valve internals. Once the valve begins to operate, these may damage the seat. Once the seat is damaged, the potential for leakage is high.
In addition, the valve should be thoroughly inspected before it is installed into the system. This is to ensure that the body and components will not be damaged during transport.
For the valves to last longer, they must be cleaned at least once a year or as needed, especially if the plant area is dirty. Clean the valve body and stem threads, studs, nuts, and other components using appropriate equipment (e.g., cloth, lubricant, or wire brush).
It is also important to clean the valve properly before installing it into the piping system. This way, the valve will not contain contaminants that can damage not only the valve, but also the media flowing through it.
In some applications containing corrosive media or those requiring high pressures and temperatures, thermally coating the valve can increase the valve's service life. Thermal coatings should be applied using high speed oxyfuel processes as these have proven to be excellent at coating valves.
Indeed, valves should be inspected periodically. As tedious as this task may be, it is a must. In the case of ball valves and other related valves, by doing so, you can ensure that the valve is not damaged and still remains tightly closed. Throttle valves need to be checked for friction damage.
As a rule of thumb, valves that have been used too hard should be replaced within six months of use. However, for critical applications, valves should be inspected every three months. Such inspections should include checking for leaks, corrosion, and defective parts.
During periodic inspections, you may find cracks, cuts or even leaks on the valve. This is normal when valves are used frequently over time.
When a valve is used repeatedly, the sealing ability of the connection wears out. To ensure that the valve does not leak at the flange without having to remove the valve from the system, use field machining.
If the valve is not corrosion resistant, use a product that will prevent corrosion from occurring that could damage the valve. A simple monthly application of a universal lubricant can work wonders and potentially extend the life of the valve. However, be aware of the lubricant recommended by the valve manufacturer.
In addition, preventive maintenance should begin by ensuring that the materials used in the manufacture of the valve match the specification sheet provided to the end user. In addition, as part of preventive maintenance, ensure that valves are lubricated regularly.
Periodic testing should be performed to allow for early detection of possible leaks, etc. While this may be considered a costly endeavor, one of the best ways to extend the life of industrial valves is to perform leak testing.
The service life of industrial valves can be extended by understanding the nature of a particular valve, cleaning the valve and performing preventive maintenance, etc. If you would like to learn more about industrial valves, please feel free to contact us.