08222017Tue
Last updateTue, 22 Aug 2017 2pm

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Technical

Low Cracking Pressure in Chemical Processing Condensate Lines

Steam condensate is the liquid by-product formed when steam goes from the vapor state to the liquid state; this process occurs in a wide range of applications, across virtually all industries. The chemical processing industry especially relies heavily on steam and steam-related systems. This necessitates vast, complex networks of boilers, evaporators, steam lines, and condensate return lines throughout many of the steps in the chemical production process.

By its nature, steam will condense back to liquid water at some point. This is unavoidable. In most of the modern industrial processes that use steam, the condensate is collected and recycled back into the system. This is a fiscally and environmentally beneficial practice, but its proper implementation is often overlooked, and poorly managed steam condensate in a system can lead to many serious issues.


Diagnostics for Commissioning and Startup

Many facilities have found value in performing diagnostics on valves before a turnaround or shutdown. This can help determine what valves will need work, what parts need to be ordered, and whether a valve can make it to the next turnaround. However, diagnostics are not as frequently used during commissioning and start up.

In a presentation during the 2016 Emerson Exchange, Gahan Mullen of BP and Sean Raymond of Emerson suggested, however, that diagnostics can actually make start-ups smoother and identify potential issues that may not be identified with traditional methods.

The Actuation Selection Process

A common misconception in our industry is that actuating a valve is as simple as putting the most cost-efficient actuator on top of your valve of choice, but the process is much more complicated than that. Selecting the correct actuator for the size and purpose of the valve is key, but it’s only the first step. If the actuator isn’t sized by a knowledgeable and technically trained expert, the results can be disastrous and/or expensive.

When sizing an automated valve, the actuator must operate properly when on demand, especially on Emergency Shutdown Valves (ESDVs). With constantly increasing safety demands, more actuator buyers are taking the extra step of requesting actuator sizing documentation.

How to Choose the Best Rapid Prototyping Method

As new products are designed, including valve bodies and the parts that comprise the finished valve, prototypes must be created. How that is achieved is what makes the difference in how long it takes to get development done and the product to market.

Prototyping is exceptionally challenging in the valve industry due to the complex, multi-component parts. In the past, all these components would require a full set of custom tooling to prototype. According to Jeff Kane at DFT Valves, tooling is hugely time-consuming and expensive for valve prototyping.

It takes time to create the tools, then build the parts and see if the design works properly the first time. If not, revisions could take many more weeks—anywhere from several weeks to as much as six months, and the cost could be upwards of $500,000 to get a valid prototype. Then the prototype would have to go through testing, validation and verification.

Valves in Oxygen Service

In his presentation at VMA’s 2017 Technical Seminar, Kurt Larson, a process control engineer for Air Products, spoke about the inherent danger of the oxygen production business and how it is particularly important for end users and valve manufacturers to work closely together. Additionally, it’s necessary to have organizations that work to standardize and ensure the safety of plants and people.

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