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Metal Additive Manufacturing in the Valve Industry

Metal Additive Manufacturing in the Valve Industry

Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a f...

The Past, Present and Future of Fire Testing

The Past, Present and Future of Fire Testing

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Advancements in Blue Laser Scanning

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Industry Headlines

LNG, Ethanol Sellers Buoyed by China Trade Talk

Wednesday, 23 May 2018  |  Chris Guy

“China's interest in reducing its trade surplus with the United States through increased energy imports could advance plans for U.S. liquefied n...

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Industry Headlines

Curtiss-Wright Supporting Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier Program

1 DAY AGO

Curtiss-Wright has been awarded a contract valued in excess of $85 million to provide main propulsion steam turbines and auxiliary equipment for the U.S. Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN 80). The award was received from Huntington Ingalls, Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) ...

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Crane Celebrates Opening of New Plant in India

1 DAY AGO

Crane ChemPharma & Energy celebrated the inauguration of its newest location, an aseptic diaphragm valve factory in Satara, India. Crane invited hundreds of customers and industry stakeholders to participate in a day-long event complete with a tour of the new plant and luncheon held on May 10, 201...

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LNG, Ethanol Sellers Buoyed by China Trade Talk

4 HOURS AGO

“China's interest in reducing its trade surplus with the United States through increased energy imports could advance plans for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and ethanol sales, said analysts and energy executives involved in developing new LNG facilities.”

Reuters  reports th...

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Chemical Activity Up as Pace of Growth Slows

5 HOURS AGO

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 0.1% on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis in May to 121.9. The barometer is up 3.9% on a 3MMA compared to a year earlier. The unadjusted CAB showed a second consecutive month of gains, up 0.2% in May and also...

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Philly Fed: Manufacturing Activity Up in May Survey

1 DAY AGO

The Philadelphia Fed’s monthly survey indicate a pickup in growth for the region’s manufacturing sector. The indexes for general activity, new orders, shipments, and employment all improved from their readings last month. The indexes for prices paid and received continued to suggest price ...

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Manufacturers Are Boosting Hiring, Wages and Investment

2 DAYS AGO

A new survey from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) shows that manufacturers are keeping their promise after passage of the historic tax reform legislation by boosting wages, hiring and investment. The survey , released by Emerson chairman and CEO and NAM board chair David Farr during a ...

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Common Bellows Failures and Suggestions for Mitigation

vmwnt12_MR_Fig1Figure 1. Galling on the stem due to an oversized valve or operating the PRV too close to set pressure.

While it is an extremely rare event, bellows can and do fail. But bellows failures are often wrongly attributed to the quality of the valve or the bellows while in reality, a more likely scenario is operating conditions or an improperly specified valve that contributed to the failure. Still, whenever a failure occurs, analysis of what happened and why is critical.


THE USE OF BELLOWS

A spring-loaded pressure relief valve (PRV) is a device that reacts based on the amount of static pressure force pushing up on the disc. In normal processing conditions, the valve will remain shut because the upward force on the disc is less than the closing spring force. When the force from the process fluid pushing up and the force of the spring pushing down are at equilibrium, the disc of the valve will begin to lift from the nozzle, and the valve will begin to “simmer.” At this point, a slight increase in process pressure will cause that valve to “pop” open (its set point), thereby relieving the overpressure.

vmwnt12_MR_Fig2Figure 2. Bellows rupture likely because of excessive backpressure.A bellows is typically specified for applications when a spring-loaded PRV will experience backpressure (which can impact the valve’s ability to open at the correct set pressure) or when the internal components of the valve must be isolated from the processing fluid. When selecting the bellows material, consideration of the process material discharging into a common header must be made.

While it is possible for a bellows to fail because of an imperfection in fabrication, failure more commonly can be attributed to the wrong valves being used or operating conditions. Quality control during PRV assembly can prevent a customer from experiencing this type of failure.

Listed below are four scenarios that are common reasons a bellows might fail. Each assumes that a thorough review of the engineering sizing and specifications for a given PRV has been completed since these calculations will aid in diagnosing the problem.


EXCESSIVE BACKPRESSURE

One clue that indicates a valve has been exposed to excessive backpressure is when the bellows has been crushed. There are two types of backpressure in process systems: constant and variable. Variable can be further divided into two subgroups: superimposed and built-up.

Built-up backpressure is defined as the pressure at the outlet of the PRV based on the discharge piping configuration, i.e., pressure that occurs only after the valve has opened. For applications where the flow is compressible, built-up backpressure is based on the piping hydraulics at the accumulation pressure using the maximum actual capacity for the PRV. All too often engineers perform this calculation at the required capacity for the given scenario, not at the device’s actual capacity.

When a bellows failure can be attributed to excessive built-up backpressure, the following options will ­mitigate the problem:

  • Use a bellows with a higher pressure limit.
  • Use a pilot valve balanced against backpressure.
  • Modify the outlet piping by ­making it larger or shortening the length of pipe, thereby ­reducing the effects of built-up backpressure.


OVERSIZED VALVE

While most PRVs are protecting equipment for more than one relief event, the size of the valve is based on the scenario requiring the greatest relieving capacity. An example would be when a PRV is sized for both fire and blocked outlet scenarios. The fire sizing requires significantly greater orifice area than the blocked outlet sizing. However, since the blocked outlet scenario is more common and more likely to occur, then the PRV will be potentially starved for capacity, causing the valve to “chatter” (rapidly opening and closing). Valve chatter, as well as flow instability, could inevitably cause valve damage such as premature fatigue failure of the bellows, as well as galling of guiding surfaces. In our experience, a PRV should not be specified that has an actual orifice area more than 3 to 5 times larger than the required area.

Mitigation strategies for failure in this scenario include:

  • Install multiple PRVs and stagger the set pressure for each of the scenarios. Ensure the small valve is properly sized based on the lowest required capacity relief scenario.
  • Install a modulating pilot-operated relief valve.

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