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U.S. Economy Grew 0.7% in the First Quarter of 2017

Friday, 28 April 2017  |  Chris Guy

Real GDP in the U.S. fell short of expectations, increasing at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017; this according to the advance esti...

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Industry Headlines

Mueller Water Products Reports 2017 Second Quarter Results

1 DAY AGO

For its fiscal second quarter ended March 31, 2017, Mueller Water Products’ net sales were up 1.3% to $199.7 million and net income was $73.3 million, or $0.45 per diluted share. Operating income from continuing operations was $10.9 million. The quarter's results included $68.6 million of income...

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Weir Group Reports First Quarter 2017 Results

1 DAY AGO

The Weir Group's first quarter input was 15% higher than the prior year period with good sequential growth primarily driven by increased activity levels in North American Oil & Gas and strong aftermarket orders in Minerals. Group-wide aftermarket orders were 21% higher than the prior year period w...

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Permian Basin Oil Production Continues to Increase

2 DAYS AGO

Crude oil production in the Permian Basin is expected to increase to an estimated 2.4 million barrels per day in May, based on estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration . Between January 2016 and March 2017, oil production in the Permian Basin increased in all but three months, even as...

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East Coast Refiners Eye Texas as Alternative to North Dakota

3 DAYS AGO

“Major U.S. East Coast refiners profited from railing hundreds of thousands of barrels of discounted Bakken crude to their plants daily from 2013 until 2015. But as more and more pipelines were built in North Dakota, the discount began to disappear, and so did the rail cars,” Reuters repor...

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U.S. Economy Grew 0.7% in the First Quarter of 2017

1 DAY AGO

Real GDP in the U.S. fell short of expectations, increasing at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017; this according to the advance estimate just released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The 0.7% figure, down from 2.1% in the fourth quarter and 3.5% in the second half of 2016, and is...

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Survey Shows Small Business Confidence Increasing

2 DAYS AGO

The second annual Allstate/ Small Business Barometer finds increasing optimism and innovation among small business owners, despite the rising cost of doing business. Nine in 10 local entrepreneurs say the benefits of owning a business outweigh the challenges. This year’s Barometer found that, ...

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Effective Valve Field Service

The field service repair industry offers a number of on-site options for production plants needing regular or emergency maintenance. From valve repair and diagnostics to fugitive emissions solutions, on-site field service is a fast, cost-effective, and efficient way to help maintain production and reduce downtime.

 

Understanding the cost and time savings of on-site service gives plant operators the ability to handle the hazards and logistics of maintenance on their own terms, while employing a methodical and organized workflow. Using predictive maintenance technologies, such as mobile diagnostics, operators can anticipate critical component failure based on real-time variables before the failure leads to lost production or an emergency shutdown.

Critical to implementing this type of maintenance program is a proven, fully qualified vendor with the ability and skills to perform any and all type of maintenance and repair service under on-site operating conditions, as well as off-site shop conditions. The vendor's technicians must be fully trained and certified to the same standards as plant employees and capable of bringing all of the plant's operating components to manufacturer and operating system specifications.

Perform Diagnostics
While all plant components, ranging from large rotating equipment to control valves, have life cycles based on the process application, the operating conditions, and the frequency of the operating cycle, valves and actuators are integral to the health and safety of overall operation and equipment. Because of this, valve diagnostics lead the way in applying predictability to plant technology. The results of a valve diagnostic analysis provide operators with the information they need to make decisions on the level of repair based on the priority of a particular process control point.

Field maintenance and the repair of valves, actuators, and other plant equipment requires mobile field units with at least two technicians. These units are fully equipped with repair and diagnostic equipment for control valves, engineered valves, motor operated valves, and pneumatic cylinders equipped with positioners, as well as spare parts, replacement valves and actuators, and all the equipment required for servicing, machining, and welding both normal and severe service materials.

The field service technicians staffing these mobile units must be trained and certified by a local contractor safety council in reciprocal basic safety, in addition to being qualified by the Department of Transportation. Quality technicians should also be trained to perform services within the published guidelines and specifications of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and even factory trained by several OEM valve manufacturers. The technicians should also be experienced in all aspects of equipment service repair from simple bolt and nut torquing, to extremely complex customer requirements and solutions.

Gather Information
A reliable and proactive field-service program begins with obtaining information about critical valves. The operator and the field service technicians should first complete a detailed walk-through to identify and document valve information: locations; the type, size, and dimensional data; and design and operating specifications; type of packing; and the type and scope of any repair issues.

After the walk-through, the field service technicians may need to execute a diagnostic analysis on the critical control valves. This analysis will determine the valve's actual performance and any problems with instrumentation or related equipment. Obviously, the service technicians must be both capable and versatile enough to resolve any problems with on-line equipment and correct them with the equipment and materials in the mobile unit. The field service team must be able to identify, analyze, and solve problems with the control valve, the valve's actuator, instrumentation, packing problems, and non-packing problems such as bent stems, galling in trim, diaphragm leakage, positioner problems, and calibration errors.

Should the valve fail the function test, the plant operator will be notified, and the field service technicians unit will undertake any required repairs in conjunction with the plant's production requirements. This might mean pulling and replacing the actuator, the valve, or both. It might mean something as simple as removing the packing and lantern rings to visually inspect the packing box and stem, and then repacking the valve. And in some cases, it might mean replacing, or hot swapping, the components so the plant can continue operations. All actions taken are documented and put into the equipment database.

Establish Priorities
The key to a competent, proactive field service program is prioritizing the critical service valves. Both the technicians and operator have to know and agree what components can and should be repaired in the field, and what components can be taken off line and repaired in the shop. It is not essential to send all valves to be repaired, and field service units should be capable of providing high quality inline welding and machining of valve body damage. This can also include reinstalling the motor operator and properly setting limit switches. Since the correct setting of motor actuator output torque is critical to the proper operation of motor-operated valves, state of the art equipment is utilized to test spring packs and torque switches to ensure proper adjustment and performance.

Another area in which an on-site field service team can make a positive impact is in fugitive emission control. Air quality standards have become increasingly stringent, making fugitive emissions a priority issue for plant operations. The industrial market sector spends millions annually on maintenance, downtime, and fines due to fugitive emissions.

Field service maintenance technicians can help solve this problem by implementing preventive processes that reduce emissions, implementing maintenance schedules based on process conditions, and bringing predictability to valve cycle life. Live-loaded gland packing technology and gland packing extraction can help eliminate emission concerns, while simultaneously being affordable and effective solutions for reducing costs and improving reliability.

Realize the Benefits
The benefits of utilizing the field service capabilities of a qualified repair shop with the capacity for organized and certified mobile field service for plant maintenance can be enormous. The extensive range of services offered by such vendors can provide plant operators with a wide range of options for reducing maintenance time without sacrificing production or safety especially for valve and actuator repair.

The future will only bring further advancements, and with them, an increasing shift in focus from sending parts away for repair toward self-diagnosis and field service. Inevitably, this will lead to enhanced efficiency for the industry as a whole, leaving more time for innovation, capitalization, and cost reduction strategies.

DAVID W.DOUGLAS is the president of Paradigm Services LP and CPL Control Products of Louisiana. Paradigm Service is a member of the Valve Manufacturers Association's Valve Repair Council. Reach him at 281.478.5200 or ddouglas@paradigmservices lp.com.

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