06202018Wed
Last updateWed, 20 Jun 2018 6pm

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From Cannon Balls to Pressure Seals: Graphite for Sealing

From Cannon Balls to Pressure Seals: Graphite for Sealing

From time to time, we re-publish well-re...

Gaskets Are Not Created Equal

Gaskets Are Not Created Equal

Gaskets are near the bottom of the food ...

Your Valves May Be Weaponized

Your Valves May Be Weaponized

The advent of the Internet of Things (Io...

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Industry Headlines

Global LNG Trade Growing, Led by Australia and the U.S.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018  |  Chris Guy

Global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 38.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 10% (3.5 Bcf/d) increase from 2016 and the larg...

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Industry Headlines

Metso Receives Major Valve Orders in China

1 DAY AGO

Metso has received two valve orders totaling 8,200 valves from major pulp and paper customers in China. The orders are booked in Metso's first quarter 2018 orders received. The total value of the orders and the company names are not being disclosed. Broadly covering China's mid and high-end customers ...

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A-T Controls Names Andy Cheney Southwest Regional Manager

5 DAYS AGO

A-T Controls recently announced the addition of Andy Cheney as the company’s new southwest regional manager, effective immediately.

Cheney’s new role will cover California, South Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. He has over twenty years in the valve and automation business and is very famil...

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Global LNG Trade Growing, Led by Australia and the U.S.

1 HOUR AGO

Global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 38.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 10% (3.5 Bcf/d) increase from 2016 and the largest annual volume increase since 2010, according to the Annual Report on LNG trade by the International Association of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers...

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U.S. Natural Gas Production Could Grow 60% Over Next 20 Years

1 HOUR AGO

A decade since the start of a shale gas revolution that unlocked new supplies and resulted in a “wholesale turnaround” in U.S. production, the overall size of recoverable gas reserves continues to increase and the pace of production growth is only accelerating, a new report by IHS Markit s...

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Texas Economy Continues to Expand at “Solid Pace”

4 HOURS AGO

The Texas economy is expanding at a solid pace. Employment has grown at a 3.6% annualized rate through May, driven by job gains in the goods-producing sector. Unemployment remains near its historical low, and labor markets are tight. The Dallas Fed’s Texas Business Outlook Surveys (TBOS) suggest...

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Consumer Sentiment Climbs to Three-Month High

1 DAY AGO

Consumer sentiment rose slightly in early June due to consumers' more favorable assessments of their current financial situation and more favorable views of current buying conditions for household durables. The Expectations Index declined to its lowest level since the start of the year due to less f...

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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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