There are two different types of valve maintenance: preventative and predictive. Preventive maintenance involves regular cleaning and inspections of valves, while predictive maintenance refers to proactive, preventative maintenance. Predictive maintenance includes inspecting valves periodically and identifying problems before they become critical. Predictive maintenance can be performed to determine causes before valves wear out and require replacement in case of valve failure. Reactive maintenance is commonly used when budgets are tight, or operators are under pressure to prioritize equipment maintenance. Although reactive maintenance is efficient, it can cause valves to wear out more quickly. As a result, operators will focus more on symptoms, not the root causes of valve failures.
Hundreds of valves are used in industrial processes to control the flow of fluids under pressure, especially in the valve maintenance system. These valves pose significant safety concerns due to the risk of leaks and spills. Routine preventative maintenance of these valves will improve performance, increase uptime, and decrease surprise disruptions. Most unscheduled downtime is preventable, and you can optimize your maintenance schedule with data from your valves. For example, you can predict the life expectancy of valve seals based on the application.
In addition to preventative maintenance, regular inspections of valves can prevent significant problems. Specifically, valves under high-stress environments need to be checked more frequently. This is because a faulty valve can fail more easily if pushed to its capacity limit. However, it is possible to perform essential inspections yourself if you’re not an expert in the field.
While it is common knowledge that downtime occurs in the Oil & Gas industry, proactive maintenance is essential to prevent these interruptions. This preventative maintenance strategy enables a company to increase equipment availability and improve Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) rates. It also reduces the need to replace valves as they reach the end of their lifespan. To benefit from this proactive maintenance strategy, a company should evaluate its valve performance and implement a preventative maintenance plan.
A predictive maintenance solution can be built using an AI platform, which enables it to collect and analyze real-time production data from intelligent sensors connected to supervision and PLC. This data allows for predictive analytics models to detect abnormal behavior and allow onsite engineers to address issues before they occur. Using the latest AI technologies, the BHC3 AI Suite helps manufacturers implement predictive maintenance for valves, resulting in a 58% reduction in maintenance costs and a five-hour increase in the maintenance shutdown time.
Water utilities are facing challenges in implementing systematic valve maintenance programs. The perceived cost of valve exercising is a significant barrier, affecting budgets, workforce requirements, and daily construction and repair needs. However, with the proper valve exercise program, you can reduce these barriers and increase the useful life of your valves. Listed below are some benefits of valve exercising.
The Esri Operations Dashboard and ArcGIS platform have improved productivity for water organizations. Staff members enter data once on tablets, which speeds up inspections. Staff can also complete additional maintenance throughout the day. The Operations Dashboard has made data gathering easier, enabling them to track valve exercising progress, record counts for reporting, and pinpoint valves needing repair. The benefits of valve exercising are extensive. If you have several valves, consider installing an exerciser with GPS capabilities.
Pilot diaphragm leakage
If you suspect that your valve maintenance system may be leaking water, it’s time to replace the pilot diaphragm. The pilot diaphragm is a crucial valve component, as it relies on a pressurized water supply to operate. However, it’s also susceptible to leaks. For example, over-tightening of flare fittings can create a small crack, weakening and eventually failing.
Check the pilot system if you suspect pilot diaphragm leakage in snoop-type position indicators. First, check the fittings and the small bore tube to prevent leakage. Next, check the pilot system’s pressure holding pressure and check for corroded copper tubing. If the pressure indicator indicates that air is in the pilot system, open the bleed valve to drain out the air.
Keeping a strainer screen clean
Keeping a strainer screen clean is essential for pilot systems. A clogged screen can cause a control valve to malfunction. Similarly, mineral buildup can cause small orifices inside a pilot system to become clogged. To detect a clogged main valve, you can perform a simple test. You can use a cleaning solution to flush the fittings.
A Y-strainer is a specialized filter designed to remove foreign matter from pipes and protect mechanical equipment. Its name derives from its shape. The “Y” filter is commonly used for water, gas, and suction applications. It is designed to prevent the buildup of large particles, improve medium clearance, and prolong valve life. It can be installed horizontally or vertically and works with either upward or downward flow. The lowest point in the Y collects material.