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Human Factors Can Cause a Disaster—or Prevent One

Human Factors Can Cause a Disaster—or Prevent One

Process industry plants are complex and ...

Improving Valve Sealing Performance and Reliability

Improving Valve Sealing Performance and Reliability

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A Primer on Fugitive Emissions

A Primer on Fugitive Emissions

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Powell Valve Approves Flotech as Authorized Repair Facility

1 DAY AGO

The Wm. Powell Company recently approved Flotech as an authorized modification and repair facility for Powell Valves.

“Flotech has been manufacturing and repairing valves for over 40 years. Adding another high quality valve manufacturer to the list of valve companies Flotech represents speaks vol...

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CIRCOR Reports Fourth Quarter 2016 Financial Results

1 DAY AGO

CIRCOR International, Inc. reports revenue of $158 million, GAAP EPS of ($0.12) and adjusted EPS of $0.48 in the fourth quarter of 2016 . CIRCOR had an operating cash flow of $20 million and free cash flow of $17 million for the quarter. Cost control and restructuring actions continued to drive bottom...

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Southern California Updating Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure

1 DAY AGO

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) will upgrade or replace 50 to 60 pipeline valves in 2017 to further enhance the safety of its system. The effort is part of SoCalGas' Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan (PSEP), a multi-billion-dollar program that tests and updates the natural gas pipeline infra...

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How New U.S. Policies Will Affect the Chemical Industry

7 DAYS AGO

“In 2017, barring a recession in the U.S. and Europe or a slowdown in China, Moody’s Investor Service expects EBITDA in the chemicals industry to slip by 1 or 2% year-over-year.”

A new report from PwC predicts that the Trump administration “is likely to embrace policies that are...

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Empire State Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Rate Since 2014

1 DAY AGO

Business activity expanded at a solid clip in New York State, according to firms responding to the February 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index rose twelve points to 18.7, its highest level in more than two years. The new orders index climbed to 13.5,...

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Philly Fed Manufacturing Conditions Continued to Improve in February

6 DAYS AGO

The index for current manufacturing activity in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware increased from a reading of 23.6 in January to 43.3 this month and has remained positive for seven consecutive months. The share of firms reporting growth continues to increase: More than 48% of the ...

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Cast or Forged?

materials_q_and_a_graphicQ: Should I be concerned whether my valve is cast or forged?

 

A: Just as in politics, everyone has an opinion on this issue.

 

The good news is that both types of valves should be able to provide you with acceptable performance, although a perception exists that forged valves are superior to cast valves. However, if cast valves are made properly, they can and have worked equally well in a variety of services and usually at a much lower cost than forged valves. Also, the belief that forged components are infallible is not true. Let’s look at an example of a 4-inch diameter wrought valve stem in N07718 (Figure 1). A crack-like defect was seen on the end of the stem, so the part was cut in half, and the large shrink cavity you see here was discovered. This shows that forged material is not without its own problems. But let’s examine how cast and forged valves are made and how we can assure we get a good valve.

What most people don’t realize is that cast and forged valves start out the same way—molten metal is poured into a mold or ingot. As a result, both types can have defects such as the shrinkage in the above mentioned N07718 bar. Other defects associated with forgings are inclusions, laps, seams, cold shuts and cracks. Defects with common castings are inclusions, porosity, misrun and hot tears. As you can see, both have their potential issues.

An issue with forgings often overlooked is that forgings and wrought products will have non-uniform mechanical properties. This is because they are worked or formed more in one direction than in another. Therefore, the grains will be elongated more in one direction than in the other, which has a direct affect on mechanical properties, particularly impact strength. As a result, the design of forgings needs to take into account these anisotropic properties whereas castings have uniform properties no matter what the orientation of the test coupons.

Another advantage of cast valves is that they can be produced in more complex designs than forged valves. Certain valve designs such as a globe valve are simply difficult or impossible to produce as forgings. This flexibility of design in cast valves allows them to be more efficient in controlling flow than a similarly forged valve.

Something else to consider with forged valves is that they usually are made in halves, particularly the larger sizes. This means there is either an additional flanged connection that can be a potential leak path or the halves are welded together. Welding, however, is another process for cast metal that can have its own set of problems.

The questionable reputation that castings have is from two sources. First, most of the ASTM cast specifications are lenient in requirements for composition, heat treatment and inspection. Second, some foundries either use this latitude to their advantage or simply do not know enough to implement tighter controls when needed on chemistry or heat treatment. This concern about castings has resulted in equipment produced to ASME Section VIII having a quality factor on castings of 80% of the allowable stress values for a wrought component. However, this quality factor can be increased to 100% if sufficient NDE (non-destructive evaluation) per Appendix 7 is performed.

Casting purchasers need to understand that in most ASTM specifications these additional NDE requirements are not mandatory. They are simply listed as supplementary requirements at the end of the product specifications and are only invoked if included in the purchase order. Specifying additional NDE-like radiography or dye penetrant inspection is one way of helping ensure the quality of valves being purchased. However, a more cost-effective way is to deal with valve suppliers who already control the quality of the products they produce and have a long and successful track record. In either case, the decision to go with cast or forged valves depends on several factors, and cost is usually the determining one.


THOMAS SPENCE is director of materials engineering for Flowserve Corp. (www.flowserve.com), Dayton, OH. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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