05252016Wed
Last updateTue, 24 May 2016 3pm

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Industry and Regulatory Changes in Offshore Operations

Industry and Regulatory Changes in Offshore Operations

On May 13, 2016, the offshore oil and ga...

Strategies for Successful SIS Valve Diagnostic Implementation

Strategies for Successful SIS Valve Diagnostic Implementation

End users and contractors alike strive t...

Stop Check Valves

Stop Check Valves

Stop check valves are vital to several i...

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Industry Headlines

MRC Global Expands Service to Chemours in the U.S. Gulf Coast

1 DAY AGO

MRC Global Inc. announced that its subsidiary, MRC Global (US) Inc., has been awarded an agreement to be the primary provider of pipe, valve, fitting (PVF) products and services to all U.S. locations of The Chemours Company. The five-year agreement added the Gulf Coast region and also includes valve a...

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Sunbelt Supply Opens Shanghai Valve and Automation Center

4 DAYS AGO

Sunbelt Supply celebrated the grand opening of its new Valve and Automation Center with an open house on May 12, 2016 in Shanghai, China. The open house welcomed 80 customers and manufacturers. Attendees toured the newly stocked warehouse and automation center .

Sunbelt Supply Shanghai is a joint ventu...

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Gulf Coast Petrochemical Boom Contributing to Global Plastics Glut

12 HOURS AGO

A surge in new plastics chemical capacity coming from low-cost producers in North America (specifically the U.S. Gulf Coast), the Middle East and China is driving the global market for key plastics polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) to oversupply, which will pressure margins for producers and ...

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U.S. Chemical Production Stalled in April

1 DAY AGO

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) was flat in April , following a 0.4% gain in March, and a 0.1% decline in February, as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). In April, the Gulf Coast was the only region to post a smal...

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Markit PMI Shows U.S. Manufacturers Stagnating in May

12 HOURS AGO

The U.S. manufacturing sector crept closer to stagnation in May, with the seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) registering only slightly above the neutral 50.0 mark at 50.5. This was down from 50.8 in April and signaled only a marginal improvement...

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Why Innovation is the Key to U.S. Manufacturing Growth

1 DAY AGO

Manufacturing may be facing some headwinds, but it’s undeniably in the midst of a technological renaissance that is transforming the look, systems and processes of the modern factory. Despite the risks — and despite recent history — industrial manufacturing companies cannot afford ...

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Extreme Valve Testing

VM-smr11-cryogenic_testTwo commonly used low temperature tests today measure the degrees for liquid nitrogen and liquid natural gas.

Valves today face more challenging conditions from a wider range of applications. As a result, users are asking for more and better testing.

Filling a valve up with water, adding pressure and looking for leaks might work for some valve specifications, but many of today’s demanding valve requirements call for much more stringent testing and evaluation. Special service applications such as hazardous fluids, nuclear power plants, high-pressure pipelines and more dictate a much broader testing and inspection regimen than traditional simple tests.

Many users are requesting valve manufacturers prove their products will operate satisfactorily at the higher and lower temperatures and more extreme pressures that their valves are advertised to reach. These may be the lowest cryogenic temperatures or elevated temperatures close to 1000° F (538° C). Such tests call for specialized equipment and test procedures.

VM-smr11-cryogenic_test_2Cryogenic testing is generally performed at temperatures ranging between -50° F (-46° C) and -320° F (-196° C).The most common of these more extreme tests is cryogenic testing. Such testing is generally performed at temperatures ranging between -50° F (-46° C) and -320° F (-196° C)—most often at -320° F (-196° C), which is the temperature of liquid nitrogen (LN). Standard practice is for the valve to be immersed in the LN up to the packing gland area, if the valve is equipped that way. The packing must be kept out of the LN or it could freeze the packing, seizing the stem and causing the valve to lock up and fail to operate. Because polymer seals do not function well at cryogenic temperatures, valve end connections must be the type that makes a solid mechanical connection. These include threaded, flanged or caps welded onto buttweld-end ends. Socketweld-end and buttweld-end valves without welded-on caps are very difficult to test at the lowest cryogenic temperatures.

One of the most popular low temperature services today is liquid natural gas (LNG). Valves for LNG are sometimes tested at -320° F (-196° C), but a more accurate test is performed at the actual LNG temperature of -260° F (-162° C).

Cryogenic testing is costly and hazardous and should only be performed by experienced, trained personnel. The test procedures for cryogenics are available from several standards-making-organizations, as well as end users. The most significant differences in testing procedure documents are allowable leakage rates.


VM-smr11-cryogenic-table1

PIPELINE VALVES

Pipeline safety has come to the forefront lately because of catastrophic pipeline failures. These failures have occurred primarily on older pipelines because quality requirements for new pipeline construction are very stringent. Valves for pipeline service are also scrutinized very closely. While all pipeline valves are hydrostatically tested at the factory, usually in accordance with API 6D, additional tests are almost always performed. The most common extreme test for pipeline valves is a long duration shell test, which is carefully monitored by a recording device tracking the pressure and the temperature of the valve as it is tested.

During these enhanced duration shell integrity tests, the pressure on the valve must be maintained, or the pressure drop must coincide with a proportional drop in temperature to avoid valve failure. It is not uncommon for test durations to run several hours long.


FUGITIVE EMISSIONS TESTING

VM-smr11-preparing_for_fugitive_emissions_testA valve is prepared to undergo fugitive emissions tests.The desire to keep our nation’s air clean is manifested in the valve industry through the Clean Air Act and various state and local regulations. For manufacturers to meet today’s low emissions requirements, valves must be tested to determine their ability to contain these fugitive emissions (FE). FE testing is now a requirement by most refiners and chemical companies that must contain hazardous fluids as part of their everyday processes.

FE testing requires the valve be pressured up with an easily measurable gas such as methane or helium, and then checking the body and seals, particularly the packing, for leakage. An alternative method is to create a vacuum drawn on the valve through a closed piping system and introducing a tracer gas into the areas of the valve exterior susceptible to FE leakage.

Two distinct schools of thought exist on what gas should be used to FE test a valve—schools separated by the Atlantic Ocean. In Europe, it is deemed unsafe to test with methane, so all testing must be performed with helium; in the U.S., the preferred test media is methane, which more closely resembles the molecular structure of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that both industry and government are working hard to control.

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