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Valve Basics Training Helps Fill Industry Skills Gap

Valve Basics Training Helps Fill Industry Skills Gap

One of the most keenly felt needs in tod...

An End-User’s Perspective on Valve Selection and Risk

An End-User’s Perspective on Valve Selection and Risk

I am not a valve expert, although I ofte...

New Test Stamp and More Updates on Pressure Vessel Codes

New Test Stamp and More Updates on Pressure Vessel Codes

A new test organization program and stam...

The Role of Valves in HAZOP Studies

The Role of Valves in HAZOP Studies

Process hazard analysis (PHA) is require...

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ValvTechnologies Successfully Completes NUPIC Audit

1 DAY AGO

ValvTechnologies, Inc. recently achieved NUPIC-approved suppliers list status, upon successful completion of the Nuclear Procurement Issues Committee (NUPIC) audit conducted at the Houston facility. NUPIC members include all domestic U.S. nuclear utilities as well as several international members.

Form...

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GE Oil & Gas Supporting ONGC’s Exploratory Drilling Campaign in India

1 DAY AGO

GE Oil & Gas has been awarded a multi-million-dollar frame agreement by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), India’s largest exploration and production company. Under the agreement , GE will provide an estimated 55 subsea wellheads (SG5) over next three years for the operator&rsqu...

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Chemical Activity Barometer Suggests Accelerated Business Activity

2 DAYS AGO

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) expanded 0.4% in August following an upward revision for July. This marks the barometer’s sixth consecutive monthly gain. Accounting for adjustments, the CAB is up 3.2% over this time last year, the strongest year over year growth since January 2015. All d...

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Innovation Could Lead to Significant Cuts in Chemical Manufacturing Energy Use

2 DAYS AGO

Scientists from ExxonMobil and Georgia Tech have developed a new technology that could significantly reduce the amount of energy and emissions associated with manufacturing plastics. If brought to industrial scale, this breakthrough could reduce industry’s global annual carbon dioxide emissions ...

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Manufacturing Productivity in U.S. Higher Than Other Nations

4 HOURS AGO

“U.S. productivity unexpectedly declined for a third straight quarter in the three months through June, Labor Department figures showed. On a year-over-year basis, it fell for the first time since 2013,” Bloomberg reports .

But on a more positive note, “the U.S. still blows other natio...

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Durable Goods Orders Up 4.4%, a Six-Month High

6 HOURS AGO

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July increased $9.7 billion or 4.4% to $228.9 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department announced. This increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 4.2% June decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.5%. Excluding def...

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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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