Happy New Year to our VALVE Magazine readers and contributors. Thanks to you, VALVE continues to provide valuable information on technical matters, standards updates and best business practices as our content is created exclusively for and by our readers.
Hopefully you’ve read many of the features offered over the past year, but if you’ve run short of time, here is a great opportunity to catch up on the best of the best. Enjoy these, our Readers’ Choice 2017 articles, from both the print edition and from features created specifically for the web.
Prusha and Nymeyer stress how important it is to understand that the standards listed on the spec sheets given to your valve suppliers is crucial to the installed performance and lifespan of your final control elements. On the other hand, specifying an unintended standard to an application may also add unnecessary cost and lead time to replacement or repair of a critical loop.
Pulp and Paper
In response, some traditional pulp mills have converted to produce fluff pulp, which is used for personal hygiene products; others have converted to make alpha crystalline cellulose for the manufacture of rayon fiber in the textile markets. Paper machines also are being repurposed to produce tissue, toweling or boxboard predominantly from recycled fiber. Correctly selecting valves for applications in this modern and ever-evolving industry can significantly enhance a mill’s performance and increase profits.
Safety is obviously uppermost in readers’ minds as articles with this theme consistently rank high in this and every year’s most popular articles. Included among those was “Improve Reliability and Safety of Solenoid Valves.”
Safe shutdowns frequently involve isolating a process fluid flow, often accomplished using an ESD (emergency shutdown) valve. If the ESD fails dangerously, the worst-case consequences can be catastrophic. ESD valves often include a solenoid valve, but solenoid valves can fail due to several different conditions. However, the failure mode contributing most significantly to this is stiction.
More safety concerns are addressed in a web feature on oxygen safety. In his presentation at VMA’s 2017 Technical Seminar, Kurt Larson, a process control engineer for Air Products, spoke about the inherent danger of the oxygen production business and how it is particularly important for end users and valve manufacturers to work closely together. Additionally, he stressed the importance of having organizations that work to standardize and ensure the safety of plants and people.
In Valves in Oxygen Service, we report on Larson’s presentation, and learn how to minimize the risk of fire by being careful to choose highly compatible materials for valves—both metals and soft goods. Larson itemizes several factors to consider when choosing the metals for valves in oxygen service, and stresses that the end user must know the geometry of every component of the valve to determine its suitability for oxygen service.
The “State of Industrial Distribution” is a summary of Modern Distribution Management’s annual webinar analyzing the state of industrial distribution in 2016 and forecasting what to expect in 2017. While there were some positive indicators of growth in the industrial distribution sector, a variety of challenges arising from technology and a changing digital landscape continue to have an impact on distributors that do not make a concerted effort to stay on top of these challenges. Also, while the new administration in the U.S. may support a more pro-growth, anti-regulatory environment, market fundamentals, such as the price of oil and metals, will continue to shape the outlook for industrial distribution.
Coming up mid-January 2018, we will publish a web feature again at VALVEMagazine.com to report on MDM’s 2018 State of Industrial Distribution. Be sure to check back to learn the changes that have occurred over the past year, and what you can expect in the next 12 months.
Pressure Relief Valves
The use of isolation valves presents real risk to operators if either the shutdown procedures are not correct or if operators do not follow the procedure as described. Both situations can create a scenario where the system is either unprotected from an overpressure event or inadequate in preventing system damage. There are ways of eliminating the risk associated with isolation valves, and Croxford offers several solutions in this article.
Safety Instrumented Systems
VALVE readers also felt it was important to know, Are Your Safety Instrumented System Proof Tests Effective? In the Spring 2017 issue, Loren Stewart explained proof test coverage for valves, actuators and solenoids, and why this test is an important safety parameter. Stewart asserts that the real objective is to detect failures that are not detected by any automatic diagnostics, and she points out that safety instrumented systems (SIS) products will have much higher safety even with a lower proof test coverage if automatic diagnostics are used. Simply put, the article explains why a lower proof test coverage is not a bad thing.
Bregman recommends installing water hammer arrestors and check valves. Additionally, pumps that output into a long run of vertical pipe should be avoided. If you have not read this article, take the time to do so now—it could mean huge savings for your operation.