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Industry Headlines

Velan Announces New Sales Structure

1 DAY AGO

Velan is re-designing its sales structure to be better aligned with customers’ market approach. This change is intended to focus Velan’s resources on maximizing impact and competitiveness in today’s challenging economy.

Paul Dion has been appointed as vice-president of sales, process ...

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MSS Revises Standards for Instrument Valves, Sealing of Rising Stem Valves

3 DAYS AGO

The Manufacturers Standardization Society (MSS) is pleased to announce the publication of the following revised Standard Practices:

  • MSS SP-99-2016a, Instrument Valves (replaces 2016 edition)
  • MSS SP-105-2016a, Instrument Valves for Code Applications (replaces 2016 edition)
  • MSS SP-120-2017, Flexible Grap...

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Construction Underway on Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

2 DAYS AGO

Construction is officially underway in Pennsylvania on the greenfield portion of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project – an expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline to connect Marcellus gas supplies with markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S.

Construction broke ground in ...

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EIA Projects 28% Increase in World Energy Use by 2040

2 DAYS AGO

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that world energy consumption will grow by 28% between 2015 and 2040. Most of this growth is expected to come from countries that are not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and especially in countries where d...

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U.S. Manufacturers Seeking More Renewable Energy

1 DAY AGO

A new report from David Gardiner and Associates finds that 83% of the largest manufacturing companies with a U.S. footprint have established greenhouse gas reduction targets and 25% of manufacturers have established renewable energy targets. The analysis also finds that enabling access to renewable en...

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Harvey Caused Steep Drop in U.S. Industrial Output

4 DAYS AGO

Industrial production declined 0.9% in August following six consecutive monthly gains. Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly 0.75%. The index for manufacturing decreased 0.3%; storm-related effects appear to have reduced the rate of change in facto...

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Asset Management: A Plant Manager’s Best Friend

vmfall11_maintenance_tabletInformation about the performance of a facility’s valves has never been more readily available—or more important. Digital positioners and distributed controls can provide valuable data about the operation of the overall system. At the same time, the growing complexity of today’s facilities, increasingly stringent regulatory and reporting requirements, and growing pressure to improve plant performance have combined to make that valve data more vital than ever.

But how can an operations or maintenance manager get the best information? To be useful, the data must be readily available and presented in a user-friendly manner. Asset management systems can fulfill this need by providing easy access to a database containing details of the history and health of every valve in a plant.

WHAT IS AN ASSET MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

An asset management system is the valve equivalent of the electronic medical recordkeeping systems used by hospitals and clinics. For medical applications, the patient’s electronic record contains such information as test results, prescription history, diagnostic images and notes on previous appointments. The physician can access this data with just a few clicks of a mouse, no matter the time of day or night or whether he or she is in the office the patient typically visits, or at a sister facility. Having this complete record helps the physician identify any changes in the patient’s health over time, make accurate diagnoses, alert when routine tests and procedures should be completed and properly bill the insurance provider.

Similarly, an asset management system for valves stores performance data, maintenance records, test results, piping and wiring diagrams, photos and other vital and diagnostic records in a simple and logical manner. The information can then be easily retrieved for use in tasks such as performance analysis, outage and maintenance planning, inventory management, validation reporting to inspectors and loop analysis. An asset management system also can help plant personnel see trends in valve performance over time, diagnose performance problems, determine whether a valve should be repaired or replaced, streamline plant turnarounds and other maintenance activities, and more easily meet documentation and reporting requirements.

Various types of asset management tools are in use today, ranging from spreadsheets and other user-designed tools to sophisticated Web-based programs. The following are key factors to consider when evaluating the options and choosing the right solution.

RANGE OF CAPABILITIES

A key objective of implementing an asset management system is to simplify and streamline processes. To aid in this goal, plant personnel can choose a single tool that will meet all of the plant’s needs, rather than juggling multiple tools to accomplish different tasks.

This single tool should be able to capture data about all types of valves in a plant—control, pressure relief, line, gate, motor-assisted, etc. It also should record information about a valve and all of its accessories, not just an individual component, such as a positioner.

SUPPLIER SUPPORT

It also is important to have confidence that the system’s developer will stand behind the product and provide ongoing support and service, including adding new features and modules. The college student next door who is home for the summer may be a software development whiz; but he or she is not likely to be available come fall, let alone years down the road, to field technical questions and ensure a tool meets evolving needs. A wiser move would be to choose a strong provider committed to its product.

DATA INPUT

Because asset management is about the quality of data, the old adage “garbage in, garbage out” holds true. Data input and maintenance must be regular and accurate if a tool is to provide expected benefits. Some plant operators prefer to handle these tasks in-house. Those who do not have on-staff resources to accomplish these tasks faithfully, however, should consider other options. Some valve service providers offer managing their customers’ asset management systems as a value-added benefit at no additional cost. The end user still owns the data and links to that information, but the service provider handles the data entry and system maintenance.

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