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Industry Headlines

Natural Gas Prices in 2017-18 Expected to be Higher

Tuesday, 24 January 2017  |  Chris Guy

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects natural gas consumption to be higher in 2017 and 2018 than in 2016, based on a return to more...

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Industry Headlines

ATI Announces Singapore Partnership

-1 DAYS AGO

Automation Technology, LLC (ATI) has formed a partnership with Hekaph Koda Pte Ltd as its representative and valve automation solutions provider based in Singapore.

Hekaph Koda has a portfolio that includes valves, valve actuators, flow meters and high-quality, high-performance hand tools. They have m...

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Eastern Controls to Distribute ITT & PBM Valves

3 DAYS AGO

Eastern Controls, Inc. (ECI) is now an ITT & PBM factory authorized distributor for New York and northern New Jersey. ECI is the distributor for a variety of sanitary process valves and instrumentation which serve the life sciences industry.

ECI has been awarded factory authorization to sell both I...

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Natural Gas Prices in 2017-18 Expected to be Higher

-1 DAYS AGO

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects natural gas consumption to be higher in 2017 and 2018 than in 2016, based on a return to more typical winter temperatures. In 2017, use of natural gas for electric power generation is expected to decline from the record level in 2016 because o...

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Trumps Signs Order to Advance Dakota Access, Keystone Pipelines

-1 DAYS AGO

President Trump signed executive orders on Tuesday clearing the way for the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines to move forward. He also signed an executive order to expedite environmental reviews of several other major projects.

“The orders will have an immediate impact in North Dakota...

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70% of Manufacturing Executives State Near-Sourcing Will Increase

-1 DAYS AGO

LMA Consulting Group recently conducted a proprietary research study to better understand outsourcing, near-sourcing and insourcing trends for U. S.–based manufacturers. Pending further analysis, a preliminary finding that shows that 70% of responding executives expect near-sourcing to increase ...

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Philly Fed: Mid-Atlantic Business Activity Hits Two-Year High

3 DAYS AGO

Economic conditions continued to improve in January, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The index for current manufacturing activity in the region increased from a revised reading of 19.7 in December to 23.6 this month. Approximately 40% of t...

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A Guide to Valve Cleaning and Specifications

Most of the time we only require that valves be free of basic dirt and debris before they are put in service. However, occasionally service requirements dictate that all traces of oil, dust and grease be removed. A prime example is valves to be used with oxygen. In that case, even a small speck of oil in a 100% oxygen environment can create a devastating explosion. One tiny metallic sliver could cause a minute spark, which is all that would be required to trigger the destruction.

 

Other media that require this level of cleanliness include numerous other pure gases, chlorine, paints and some chemicals. What all this means is that a standard, off-the-shelf valve cannot be used in these media unless it has been properly processed before installation. Decades ago, achieving this degree of cleanliness required the use of vapor degreasing machinery filled with a chlorinated solvent such as trichloroethane. These chemicals worked marvelously to clean, but they have been proved to be carcinogens, so their industrial cleaning usage has all but disappeared. In their place, environmentally friendly aqueous-based cleaners, such as Simple Green, have become the norm.


Follow the Specs

Even with the use of the right cleaning agent, however, it takes more than a simple “wash behind the ears” to ensure that a valve is clean enough for intended service. This is where cleaning standards and specifications come in. Fortunately, there are very good specifications to guide valve assemblers and technicians in the cleaning process. In fact, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has a committee that works solely on specifications for oxygen service applications: Committee G04. This group produces ASTM G93, “Standard Practice for Material and Equipment Used in Oxygen-Enriched Environments,” which is a very thorough document and an excellent reference for valve cleaning procedures.

The Compressed Gas Association (CGA) publishes another often referenced cleaning standard: document CGA G-4.1, “Cleaning Equipment for Oxygen Service.” Many end-users that don’t have their own specific procedure reference the CGA 4.1 standard. The Manufacturers Standardization Society (MSS) also recently created a valve cleaning standard, MSS SP-138-2009, “Quality Standard for Oxygen Cleaning of Valves & Fittings.” This document is derived from many end-user specifications as well as CGA G-4.1. For chlorine service cleaning, the Chlorine Institute references cleaning procedures in its document: “Piping Systems for Dry Chlorine.”

The common denominator for all the cleaning standards is removal of all traces of oils, grease, dirt and other contaminants. The methods prescribed include scrubbing, ultrasonic cleaning, pressure blasting and sand blasting.


Rust Elimination

One important issue in cleaning is the presence of rust on carbon steel components after cleaning. With any of the prescribed cleaning processes, the protective film or rust preventative on the steel is removed, which exposes the metal to rapid oxidation, a problem that is particularly acute in humid environments. In many cases, a light blush of rust is acceptable, but gross deposits would not be. As a result, cleaning may need to be performed in a non-humid area. Additionally, carbon steel valves and components that have been cleaned require some form of corrosion protection—either desiccant bags inserted in the valve bore or an exterior wrapping with vapor phase inhibitor paper, or both.

After valves have been carefully cleaned and checked for proper cleanliness, they are usually put in protective heavy-gauge plastic bags to ensure they stay clean until installation.

Cleaning of valves is a straight-forward process that requires some diligence and quality control. However, guidance is available from various standards and specifications. Also, since the valves must be disassembled for most cleaning procedures, it’s important that the personnel involved be familiar with proper disassembly and re-assembly of the valves to be cleaned.

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Greg Johnson, a contributing editor to Valve Magazine, is president of United Valve (www.unitedvalve.com), which offers factory-authorized valve modifications and repair from its Houston, TX facility. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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