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Leakage Prevention Tops the List of Priorities for Valve Customers
If you’re looking for optimized valve leakage elimination, here are two solutions you should be aware of: Shan-Rod’s EV-O-SEAL (4100) and FLATE-O-SEAL (4300).
- Class V leakage
- Large & odd sizes
- Available in all weldable alloys
The basic damper consists of a fabricated carbon steel body with machined stainless steel seat, carbon steel reinforced disc with machined O-ring groove and retainer, carbon steel flanges, 304 stainless stub shaft, stainless steel taper pins, stainless packing follower, graphitar or carbon inboard bushings, graphite packing and lantern gland, lubricated and bolted stuffing boxes with alemite purge fittings and standard O-ring. Flanges can be supplied with Shan-Rod standard drilling for ductwork or plate flanges that conform to 125/150 ANSI drilling or 125/150 ANSI flanges.
- Bubble tight shut-off
- No-wear seat design
- No seating torque required
The basic valve consists of a fabricated carbon steel body, carbon steel disc with 304 stainless disc edge, plate flanges that conform to ductwork drilling and plate flanges for 125/150# ANSI drilling, 304 stainless stub shafts, taper pins, packing follower and studs, carbon inboard bushings, one outboard bearing (power end), graphite packing, packing follower and lubricated stuffing boxes and alemite purge fitting, inflatable elastomer seal.
The valve’s inflatable seal encompasses the entire circumference of the disc when energized, and completely shuts off all flow. The valve is covered by U.S. patent number 3,840,208. An automatic or manual seal system using instrument air is furnished as an integral part of the valve and used in conjunction with a manual or automatic actuator. Shan-Rod engineers select the most compatible materials and elastomers for the service encountered in the chemical, refining, steel, paper and power industries.
Additive Manufacturing Revolutionizes Valve Production
3D printing falls into the category of additive (as opposed to traditional subtractive) manufacturing. A trending technique for scientists, engineers and hobbyists alike, 3D printing has revolutionized everything from reconstructive surgery to wildlife preservation to toy creation. And the valve industry is no exception here. The reality is that this profoundly effective new technology is considered to be the first true innovation to the sand casting process that the valve industry has seen in about two centuries!
One interesting and perhaps obvious difference between most 3D printing and the methodology used when producing valves is that the majority of 3D printing is conducted using polymers. Additive manufacturing for valves is largely conducted with metals. Direct production or production of a product mold are both employed for valve-manufacturing purposes.
Material and Color Combinations
A new addition to 3D printing technology, a machine called the Connex3 is capable of using multiple materials and colors simultaneously during the 3D-printing process. Valves can now be built through additive manufacturing with transparent materials and in a variety of colors, allowing complete, functional products to be produced all at once rather than being beholden to manufacture and assembly of all their respective parts; this is a significant time saver. This form of production also allows for lighter weight materials to be employed, which reflects in terms of savings in shipping costs.
All in all, this exciting new technology is revolutionizing valve production from the inside out. That said, the equipment and materials can be costly so this method of production is not yet cost effective industry wide for all purposes. Stay tuned, though. Our guess is that 3D printing is the wave of the future, and we’re going to see a lot more of it.
When It Comes to Valves, Welding Is a Natural Part of the Equation
Navigating Extreme Weather and Inhospitable Climates Using Automated Valves
Worldwide valve-reliant infrastructures both at the municipal and industrial levels—coupled with wildly fluctuating environmental circumstances—have increased the need for reliable automated valve installations. While the climate change debate is ongoing, manufacturers and municipalities everywhere are dealing with the day-to-day realities of extreme weather and its effects on their systems.
Automated valves offer the benefit of being able to function in extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, snow and even flood conditions. In many such cases, it is unsafe to operate manual valves, so automation is a true necessity.
Increased incidences of flooding have called upon automated-valve manufacturers to strengthen their valves’ capabilities to withstand damage. Moisture is any valves worst enemy, as precipitation can damage, erode and even destroy valve components. However, many of the latest automated valves are designed to the NEMA 6 standard for occasional temporary submersion, while others even meet NEMA 6P standards for occasional prolonged submersion. Particularly for municipalities that keep water-processing plants at lower elevations, these advances have made an incredible difference in the life of their valves.
From flood zones to offshore locations and all extreme environments in between, automated valves are quickly becoming the preferred solution for equipment and personnel safety.
When Possible, Choose Vertical. Here’s Why.
Forty years ago, before many of today’s manufacturing techniques were in use, stem and disc misalignment were essentially nonissues. These days, however, the orientation in which valves are installed makes a real difference in terms of how many misalignment issues manufacturers will run into over the life of the unit.
Ideally, all linear valves should be installed vertically so that gravity can lend a hand. Vertical installation puts the stem in alignment with the disc while also aligning the disc to the necessary guides within the valve body. It’s clear to see why vertical installation leads to optimal performance.
That said, many plants aren’t capable of housing the valves vertically and require horizontal installation. The API (American Petroleum Institute) requires valves built to standard to be usable in any orientation—and they are usable; the long-term costs associated with repair and upkeep, however, are worth noting.
Hardfacing can certainly help, but it is not a cure-all for the operational damage associated with horizontal valve installation. Damage can even occur to the valves during the shipping process if they spend lengthy time in the horizontal positions. Be sure to communicate with the supplier to request vertical shipment or at the very least to be made aware of how long horizontal orientation will be used.
Take extra time during installation or repair to ensure that all pieces are functioning properly without the occurrence of any scratching. These precautions can help to avoid a costlier repair down the road that requires removal of the valve.
Choosing the Right Valves Up Front Pays Off Down the Line
Saving money always sounds like a good idea, but don’t make the mistake of cutting corners on valve installation. Choosing the ideal valve for the application on the front end may result in the selection of a costlier valve, but this investment saves savvy manufacturers from untold money and hassle down the road.
When you have more than one valve to consider and each appears capable of getting the job done, the obvious selection point becomes the cost. However, there are more factors to consider before jumping at a cheaper price:
- Materials: Valves need to be built to last. A cheaper model may not be constructed from the same level of reliable, long-lasting materials. Unforeseen maintenance and replacement costs could result from investing in the shoddier product.
- Applications: A single valve that can be used for multiple applications is likely to cost more up front, but it may save you from having to purchase multiple valves for a variety of uses.
- Quality: Purchasing from known suppliers with a reliable history of quality control offers more protection for your investment than buying cheaper products from a less-reliable source.
- Repair and Replacement: Eventually, all valves will need repair or replacement. The key is investing in products where the frequency of this occurrence is lessened and the cost of eventual repair or replacement is manageable.
- Standardization: One final important factor to consider is standardizing your valves across the plant. Costs may be higher initially, but streamlined repair and replacement as well as staff comfort with the equipment could be a big payoff long term.
Industry Numbers Flat Overall but There Are Several Bright Spots
Before the Great Recession of 2008, the valve industry had reached a height of about $4 billion in overall shipments. Since 2009, the industry has been pushing hard to get those numbers back up, climbing steadily each year. In 2016, growth had flattened due to a number of factors, including reduced petroleum production throughout the country as well as power industry reductions.
Even so, the valve industry has hit an important milestone these past couple years, coming in at $4.5 billion in shipments and finally surpassing pre-market-crash levels. In spite of the reductions in the petroleum and power sectors, we are seeing an uptick in commercial construction, which is now making up approximately 5% of the industry.
Chemical and water/wastewater is also on the increase, forecasted to increase to 17.8% by the end of 2016, almost a full point above last year’s 16.9%. And while petroleum production continues to fall, petroleum refining remains a bright point, gaining some ground over last year and moving from 10.8% up to 11.1% of shipments. Exports have been an industry stronghold and they continue to move upward for 2016, though not as markedly as in years past. Imports decreased slightly.
Which Valve Is the Right One for You?
Valves serve myriad functions within mechanized systems all over the world. They help us to do our jobs, enjoy temperature-controlled environments and regulate the flow of various materials. Valves are made to suit a given purpose. As long as they are not handling extremely hot liquids or gasses, they are typically constructed from steel, bronze, iron or plastic. In other cases, they may be made from special metal combinations or even ceramic.
Which valve do you use for which purpose? While there are perhaps infinite variations of customized valves able to be created for individual systems, here are the most common standard valve types that you will see:
- Butterfly Valves: In cases where larger valves are required, butterfly valves are often selected. A disc within the valve rotates to allow more or less material to pass through. They operate at degrees of open and shut rather than just a hard and fast on or off functionality, allowing for throttled applications to function properly.
- Globe Valves: Globe valves are also useful for throttling purposes. The internal disk in this case can be placed entirely within the flow path to stop functionality or removed completely to allow optimal flow. These valves can cause notable pressure drops, however, so if that is pertinent to your purpose it is something to bear in mind.
- Ball Valves: These valves are ideal for handling semiliquid slurries or straight liquids. They offer a clear flow route and are easily able to shut completely on or off, making them the perfect choice for shut-off applications.