In the opening of his book Control Valve Primer: A User’s Guide, control valve expert Hans S. Baumann writes:
“Control valves may be the most important, but sometimes the most neglected, part of a control loop.”
These valves are the final control elements in process control systems. When they work properly, so does the rest of your system. When they don’t, you could find yourself having to slow down production, throw away product, or exercise your pressure relief valves more often than you’d like.
Given how important these valves are, you can’t afford to neglect them. The best way to make sure your control valves are operating at their best is through diagnostics and maintenance. Proper control valve maintenance will also help you increase your uptime and decrease your costs.
At Allied Valve, we recommend using ValScope-PRO, which is an “all-in-one diagnostic tool for testing and validating the health of control valves.” Here are five ways ValScope-PRO improves your control valve maintenance and saves you money.
1. Diagnose problems before they happen
When you take your car in for a tuneup, the technician hooks the engine up to a computer to test the systems and run diagnostics. That’s exactly what ValScope-PRO does for your control valves.
ValScope-PRO is a microprocessor-based data acquisition system. A technician connects the ValScope-PRO to the valve and runs the valve through its paces. This allows the technician to measure the valve’s performance and identify where any problems are occurring.
2. Identify the right problem every time
A control valve may function poorly for several reasons. It could be an issue with the valve itself, such as something going wrong in the internals of the valve body. But it could also be a problem with the actuator or the instrumentation. Maybe something upstream is giving the valve incorrect instructions.
ValScope-PRO dissects the valve analytically, monitoring the travel channel and pressure channels, to pinpoint exactly where the problem lies. It also allows the technician to perform a root cause failure analysis for the complete control system.
Because this testing is done in situ, you avoid pulling valves out of the line for no reason. Also, when you do have to pull a valve, your technicians will know exactly what’s wrong and how to repair it.
3. Improve the accuracy of your maintenance schedules
ValScope-PRO enables you to move from a preventative maintenance model to a predictive one. This makes your maintenance schedules more accurate by tying them to actual valve performance rather than arbitrary timelines.
It’s common to perform valve maintenance once a year. However, individual valves may need repair more or less often. With ValScope-PRO, you can test your control valves regularly to monitor the deterioration of their performance. This allows you to predict when repair will become necessary. For valves that perform well, that may mean stretching your maintenance schedule to every other year, or even every four years.
Tracking your data in ValvKeep will help you devise even more accurate maintenance schedules.
4. Raise efficiency across the board
Your control valves affect the efficiency of your entire system.
For example, in a power plant, if your valves leak, your heat rate goes up, which means your efficiency goes down.
When your valves perform well, your efficiencies go up across the board. Your don’t have to run below your desired setpoint, your trim sets don’t wear out, you don’t overstress your vessels, and your safety valves don’t lift. Your control valves keep all of your other systems operating properly, which translates into higher throughput for your process.
5. Increase yield and decrease waste
In a process where you’re mixing batches, such as in a pharmaceutical application, a valve that isn’t working can mean throwing batches down the drain because they don’t meet the applicable quality standards.
By identifying problems early, ValScope-PRO ensures you meet those quality standards so you don’t have to throw anything away.
Would you like to learn more about ValScope and how Allied’s control valve maintenance services can help you improve efficiency and save money? Contact us today.