This year’s Valve Repair Council Meeting, Tour & Exhibits in Houston, June 6-8, provided the attendees with an excellent program of sessions designed for skilled professionals in the valve repair and rebuild industry. Presentations included updates on pressure relief device repair, bolting and the use of hand-held XRF for positive material identification.
New Program and Code from the National Board of Boiler & Pressure Valve Inspectors
Sydney Cammeresi of the National Board of Boiler & Pressure Valve Inspectors started off the meeting with news that the 2017 National Board Inspection Code (NBIC) is now arranged into 4 parts. The goal was to ensure that pressure relief information as treated as one organized subject in one location, as well as to ensure that a proper overpressure protection device is present and that it is installed correctly.
This section closely mirrors ASME Code and Part 4, Pressure Relief Devices, which treats pressure relief devices and overpressure protection as a unified subject. The first section of the new Part 4 is implementation of the new construction standard and it contains sub-sections for each type of pressure-retaining item (PRI), including boilers, heating boilers, potable hot water, pressure vessels and piping systems. Once a PRI is in service, it must be inspected.
The second section of Part 4 is for in-service inspection, which outlines the inspection process, including device operation. Deficiencies found often lead to pressure relief valve repair, which is the third section of the standard. It includes repair as regulated through the National Board VR program (admin rules for VR in NB-514).
Cammeresi also described the relatively new National Board Test Organization (TO) program, which implements a certification program for organizations that perform in-service testing of pressure relief valves.
Similar in structure to the VR program, this is a formal program for a test-only process. The TO program certifies testing organizations who perform testing of PRVs in service and provides specific qualification to adjust per NBIC Part 4. The TO program requires a quality manual for the testing process, the quality program must address in-service inspection, and the test equipment must meet NBIC requirements.
The effects of the TO program on VR holders is that a VR holder can now get TO certifications with application and a quality control manual update only. No application charge or additional test is required for the TO program. When needed, repairs must be done by a VR holder, and cannot be performed under the TO program. TO holders cannot perform fluid changes or conversions; only VR holders can perform these. The benefits of TO the user organization are: confidence in the test organization’s quality due to independent audit and comparison tests; differentiation of the company from non-certified organizations—reducing the users need to perform audits; and help with liability concerns by complying with a National Standard.
Specifications Changing Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries Bolting API 20E and 20F
In their presentation, Lester Burgess, Gabrielle Hein and Aaron Oliver of U.S. Bolt Manufacturing advised attendees that, while API product specifications traditionally reference ASTM specifications for bolting, ASTM bolting specifications are material specifications, not quality specifications, and ASTM has no enforcement power.
An API subcommittee on supply chain requested development of true API specifications for bolting, resulting in API 20E, which deals with alloy and carbon steel bolting and 20F, and with corrosion-resistant bolting—all for use in the petroleum and natural gas industries.
The specification states that a manufacturer must have a written process plan for BSL-2 and BSL-3 for each of the nine product types covered by the specification. It must also have qualified the process for each type, with documentation of the qualification. This requirement was imposed because failures were caused by inadequate control and processes that could not be audited.
Special attention was given to heat treatment because failures were and continue to be a direct result of improper heat treatment practice and insufficient or deficient testing. There are specific requirements for heat treatment practices imposed by bolting specification levels (BSL), and additional testing (mechanical and metallurgical) are required based upon BSL.
Non-destructive testing (UT, MPI, LPI) is required based upon BSL, and PMI is required in 20F. This is important because the ASTM specifications involved are primarily material specs, not quality control specs. 20E & 20F have added controls for contractors and 20E has added a section on coating, prohibition of zinc electroplate, increased control of heat treatment, and an added section on forging control. The industry is adopting these standards, including the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Trust But Verify
The third edition of API RP 578 requires that owners/users “shall” establish a written material verification program that indicates the extent and type of PMI to be conducted during the construction of new assets, retroactively on existing assets, and during the maintenance, repair or alteration of existing assets. This resulted from findings that piping from the same heat exhibited variable chemical and mechanical properties including mill test reports were not meeting recorded values.
Manufacturing of carbon steel is becoming more dependent upon recycled metal scrap, increasing residual element concentrations in finished materials. Residual element concentrations in carbon steel can be a critical indicator in the expected life and performance of pipes and components used in petrochemical applications. The challenge is for mills to completely remove tramp elements from the melted scrap. Mills do provide material test reports (MTRs) although not always listing the minor, undesirable element concentrations. Don’t just rely on MTRs for the correct material on your valves, Mears said: A PMI program can help.
Mears also gave a live demonstration of PMI tools on various materials. He showed that one form of steel material can be identified in an initial pass-through, but when the operator waits for more time to pass (required to pick up a trace element), the PMI concludes it is actually a different form of steel. This is a very important point as modern handheld XRF (x-ray fluorescence), if done correctly, can input and process any common pseudo element equation including EQF. Evaluating EQF can allow the user to assess what special welding precautions may be required, such as hot taps, line pipe sleeve or casting repairs (valves and pumps)
Normally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) Detection and Protection
Justin Harris, radiation safety services manager at Quantum Technical Services, pointed out that, unless prior arrangements have been made, an equipment owner is responsible for ensuring equipment is free from NORM contamination before it is shipped to a repair facility. Equipment must also be secured to prevent contamination during transport, and all shipping must be done in compliance with applicable DOT regulations.
States regulating NORM include Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia, and regulatory limits have been established in these states. The types of surveys that are necessary in NORM detection include internal Alpha/Beta/Gamma contamination surveys (when equipment is opened), external equipment surveys (during normal operation), and personnel surveys (leaving a NORM work area.)
If you are an equipment owner, you can participate in a proactive NORM program by obtaining baseline data, routine maintenance data, procedures and knowing where equipment will be shipped for repair. If you are a repair facility you can participate in a proactive NORM program and find out if suspected equipment has been checked for NORM contamination. Consider having radiation survey meters at the facility to verify NORM readings and have a game plan for monitoring NORM contaminated valves.
Paul Souza, product application specialist and training manager for AUMA Actuators, gave an excellent presentation on the challenges of actuation commissioning, and a full report from Souza is included in the Summer 2018 edition of VALVE Magazine.
Oxygen Cleaning Standards, Specifications and Procedures
Greg Johnson, CEO of United Valve, reminded everyone that when it comes to oxygen cleaning, elimination of sparking is the goal because, when dealing with an oxygen fire, litigation is guaranteed. Everyone who provided materials or touched any part of the piping system will be sued. Whose fault was it? The pipe manufacturer, valve manufacturer, valve repair vendor, piping system cleaning vendor, pump manufacturer, fabricator, operator error, designer, gasket manufacturer? Everyone is responsible.
As a repair facility, you have two choices: Don't perform oxygen cleaning at all or learn everything you can about the process and train your personnel very well. Oxygen cleaning standards and specifications include the following:
- Compressed Gas Association CGA G-4.1—most referenced oxygen cleaning standard
- MSS SP-138—specific to valves
- ASTM G93—can be applied to all types of equipment
- ASTM G128—goes into detail about liquid oxygen
- NFPA 53—published by National Fire Protection Association, contains examples of incidents
Cleaning facilities vary from laminar flow clean rooms, to industrial type clean rooms, to clean “areas.” Common oxygen cleaning equipment and processes include ultrasonic cleaners, agitation equipment and deionized H2O.
Packaging is also very important. When repairing and cleaning oxygen valves, make sure your cleaning procedure is approved in advance and insist on customer inspection (if possible) to lessen your liability. Some repaired valves may not be suitable for oxygen service - so just say no. In summary, get the proper standards and specifications, train your personnel and utilize your best technicians for cleaning operations. Ensure all technicians understand how serious the Oxygen cleaning operation is.
The meeting also featured updates on standards by Carlos Davila, product manager-Americas, Crane ChemPharma & Energy. Most of the updates he shared are available in the Summer 2018 issue of VALVE Magazine.
And finally, Cami Siewers shared a brief overview of the Houston Area Safety Council (HASC). This non-profit’s focus is on building safe workplaces by improving the quality and integrity of the workforce. It delivers approximately 1 million units of training annually and has betwee 1,800 to 2,000 trainees per day at its headquarters. The HASC is also the location for VMA’s upcoming 2018 Valve Basics Seminar & Exhibits, Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2018.
Tours and Exhibits
In addition, an exhibit which offered many networking opportunities featured products from FloTech Inc., AUMA Actuators Inc., Teadit North America, Flexitallic, Polymet Corporation, Rotork Controls, Belleville International, RSVP Actuators & Controls, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific, DG Energy, REMCO Industrial, EFCO USA Inc., EGC Enterprises, Flowserve Corporation, Engis Corporation, Setpoint I.S., Starflex America Inc., Wal-Tech Valve, Inc., Ventil-USA, and Chemours.
The Valve Repair Council is an affiliate of the Valve Manufacturers Association. To learn more about the VRC, visit www.VMA.org/ValveRepairCouncil.