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Last updateThu, 19 Oct 2017 5pm

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Market Outlook 2018: A Sunnier Mood with a Few Caveats

Market Outlook 2018: A Sunnier Mood with a Few Caveats

The atmosphere at VMA’s 2018 Marke...

Is it Time to Toss Those Commissions?

Is it Time to Toss Those Commissions?

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly wha...

Cybersecurity for Process Control

Cybersecurity for Process Control

Security for any process plant has alway...

Young Valve Professionals: Megan Johnston

Young Valve Professionals: Megan Johnston

In 2014, VMA's leadership created the Val...

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Industry Headlines

Crude Oil, Petroleum Product Exports Reach Record Levels

Thursday, 19 October 2017  |  Chris Guy

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA ), crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per ...

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Industry Headlines

Emerson Agrees to Acquire Paradigm

3 DAYS AGO

Emerson has agreed to acquire Paradigm for a purchase price of $510 million, reflecting a multiple of 13 times expected 2017 EBITDA. Paradigm will be joined with Emerson’s existing Roxar automation software. The acquisition is expected to close within the next 60 days, subject to various regulat...

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ValvTechnologies Receives ISO 15848 Certification

4 DAYS AGO

ValvTechnologies’ EcoPack technology has received ISO 15848-1:2015 certification from Odin Heavy Industries. To earn ISO 15848 certification, ValvTechnologies underwent a stringent evaluation process that included a series of 17 helium leak tests and eight thermal cycles on a fully assembled v...

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Crude Oil, Petroleum Product Exports Reach Record Levels

2 DAYS AGO

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA ), crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per day (b/d) from the first half of 2016, reaching a record high of 0.9 million b/d. Petroleum product exports also grew over the same period with propan...

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Energy Intensity in U.S. Manufacturing Decreased

2 DAYS AGO

Energy intensity in manufacturing in the U.S. decreased from 2010 to 2014. U.S. manufacturing overall fuel intensity decreased by 4.4% from 3.016 thousand British thermal units (Btu) per dollar of output in 2010 to 2.882 thousand Btu in 2014. According to the Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (M...

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Fed Reports Economy Growth in September, Early October

2 DAYS AGO

Reports from all 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity increased in September through early October, with the pace of growth split between modest and moderate. The Richmond, Atlanta, and Dallas Districts reported major disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in some areas a...

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Industrial Production Up 0.3% in September

3 DAYS AGO

Industrial production rose 0.3% in September. The rates of change for July and August were notably revised; the current estimate for July, a decrease of 0.1%, was 0.5% lower than previously reported, while the estimate for August, a decrease of 0.7%, was 0.2% higher than before. Manufacturing output...

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A Guide to Valve Cleaning and Specifications

Most of the time we only require that valves be free of basic dirt and debris before they are put in service. However, occasionally service requirements dictate that all traces of oil, dust and grease be removed. A prime example is valves to be used with oxygen. In that case, even a small speck of oil in a 100% oxygen environment can create a devastating explosion. One tiny metallic sliver could cause a minute spark, which is all that would be required to trigger the destruction.

 

Other media that require this level of cleanliness include numerous other pure gases, chlorine, paints and some chemicals. What all this means is that a standard, off-the-shelf valve cannot be used in these media unless it has been properly processed before installation. Decades ago, achieving this degree of cleanliness required the use of vapor degreasing machinery filled with a chlorinated solvent such as trichloroethane. These chemicals worked marvelously to clean, but they have been proved to be carcinogens, so their industrial cleaning usage has all but disappeared. In their place, environmentally friendly aqueous-based cleaners, such as Simple Green, have become the norm.


Follow the Specs

Even with the use of the right cleaning agent, however, it takes more than a simple “wash behind the ears” to ensure that a valve is clean enough for intended service. This is where cleaning standards and specifications come in. Fortunately, there are very good specifications to guide valve assemblers and technicians in the cleaning process. In fact, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has a committee that works solely on specifications for oxygen service applications: Committee G04. This group produces ASTM G93, “Standard Practice for Material and Equipment Used in Oxygen-Enriched Environments,” which is a very thorough document and an excellent reference for valve cleaning procedures.

The Compressed Gas Association (CGA) publishes another often referenced cleaning standard: document CGA G-4.1, “Cleaning Equipment for Oxygen Service.” Many end-users that don’t have their own specific procedure reference the CGA 4.1 standard. The Manufacturers Standardization Society (MSS) also recently created a valve cleaning standard, MSS SP-138-2009, “Quality Standard for Oxygen Cleaning of Valves & Fittings.” This document is derived from many end-user specifications as well as CGA G-4.1. For chlorine service cleaning, the Chlorine Institute references cleaning procedures in its document: “Piping Systems for Dry Chlorine.”

The common denominator for all the cleaning standards is removal of all traces of oils, grease, dirt and other contaminants. The methods prescribed include scrubbing, ultrasonic cleaning, pressure blasting and sand blasting.


Rust Elimination

One important issue in cleaning is the presence of rust on carbon steel components after cleaning. With any of the prescribed cleaning processes, the protective film or rust preventative on the steel is removed, which exposes the metal to rapid oxidation, a problem that is particularly acute in humid environments. In many cases, a light blush of rust is acceptable, but gross deposits would not be. As a result, cleaning may need to be performed in a non-humid area. Additionally, carbon steel valves and components that have been cleaned require some form of corrosion protection—either desiccant bags inserted in the valve bore or an exterior wrapping with vapor phase inhibitor paper, or both.

After valves have been carefully cleaned and checked for proper cleanliness, they are usually put in protective heavy-gauge plastic bags to ensure they stay clean until installation.

Cleaning of valves is a straight-forward process that requires some diligence and quality control. However, guidance is available from various standards and specifications. Also, since the valves must be disassembled for most cleaning procedures, it’s important that the personnel involved be familiar with proper disassembly and re-assembly of the valves to be cleaned.

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Greg Johnson, a contributing editor to Valve Magazine, is president of United Valve (www.unitedvalve.com), which offers factory-authorized valve modifications and repair from its Houston, TX facility. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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