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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.

7 HOURS 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

7 HOURS 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”

10 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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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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