Bill Patrick, global piping discipline technology leader for The Dow Chemical Company, addressed a group of nearly 100 valve manufacturers and end-users at VMA’s Technical Seminar in Charleston, SC, held March 5-6. Patrick led off his presentation by citing the industry's success in reducing fugitive emissions as "the most significant change in valve technology" during the past couple of decades.
Patrick then spoke about the difficulties in dealing with competing standards. He cautioned attendees not to rely exclusively on ISO 9001, API Q1 and PED because they "do not assure the product meets any standard, but only test the work process to a point that they should be able to make a product to meet a specification."
He also addressed the question of whether there really is any statistical difference between the quality of products produced by different countries. His answer: "No." Rather, he said, variation is larger between individual company's sustainable quality systems than specific regions. Geographic concerns are exploited by media and manufacturers, Patrick noted, and there are good and bad manufacturers in all regions.
"Many of the quality issues with valves have not been from the new manufacturers from China and other developing nations," he explained, "but from established manufacturers also sourcing from low-cost countries for their sub-suppliers and not providing a robust incoming inspection. Their processes remained the same for the new suppliers as had been in place for their long-time trusted suppliers."
VMA’s Technical Seminar focused on “Valve Design & Materials Considerations for a Global Environment.” All 11 PowerPoint presentations from the seminar — converted into a downloadable PDF document — are now available for sale. Visit VMA.org >The VMA Store for more information or to place an order.