Happy New Year to our VALVE Magazine readers and contributors. Because our content is created exclusively for and by our own readers, it’s thanks to you that VALVE continues to provide valuable information on technical matters, standards updates and best business practices.
Hopefully, you’ve had time to peruse most of the features offered over the past year. In case you ran short of time, here is a great opportunity to catch up on the best of the best. Enjoy these, our Readers’ Choice 2018 articles from both the print edition and features created specifically for the web.
Jodi Johnson and Navè Orgad start off our list with Intelligent Servicing of Valves During Aging Plant Shutdowns by reminding us that more than half of the industrial plants in the world are older than 20 years; 40% are older than 30 years; and 30% are older than 40 years. Maintenance and service personnel in all these plants face numerous challenges, especially in aging facilities. These include reducing operational expenses, improving safety and reliability, adhering to stringent emissions regulations and addressing the decline in personnel experience and capabilities.
Johnson and Orgad gave end users suggestions on taking a best practices approach to intelligent servicing of valves that can help better achieve STO goals and secure a solid position as a top quartile performer. They say effective planning and thoroughly defining the scope of work between the user and a chosen supplier are keys to STO success.
In a web feature, Valve Selection for Bypass of Control Valves: A Case Study, Karan Sotoodeh shares the results of a study that can help to determine the best selection, sizing and operation of a bypass valve in a cooling water system. By considering various factors including cost, and determining possible combinations of components for the solution, the study determined which valve would be optimal.
Readers learned how the preferred solution was reached and how they may be able to use these techniques to choose the best bypass valve for their own systems.
Market Trends and Outlooks
Two of the top ten articles for 2018 helped our readers plan for the coming year. The first of these was Market Outlook for 2019, where the theme was Cautious Triumph.
On the domestic side, William Strauss, senior economist and economic advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Michael Halloran, senior research analyst at Robert W Baird, agreed that the economy is doing very well. However, slow growth is occurring in productivity and Halloran recommended that manufacturers increase their focus on higher-margin, recurring after-market revenues. “Best-in-class companies are adjusting internal incentive structures to maximize aftermarket sales opportunities. Sell solutions, not just products,” he advised.
The oil and gas, petrochemical, water and wastewater, power and construction industries were also covered in this annual forecast, which makes this article a “must read” for managers responsible for planning for 2019.
Another popular article in 2018 was Key Distribution Trends for 2018. Warehousing networks, procurement issues, retaining customers, transportation and more are all impacting business day in and day out, according to the article.
Six trends affecting industrial distributors over the next year were discussed, including The Amazon Effect, labor and customer expectations. In the near term, distributors that expand and improve technical services will rise above the competition. The article advised that it is essential to learn everything possible about customers, to build relationships and provide valued services.
Embracing Newer Technologies
In Metal Additive Manufacturing in the Valve Industry, Michael Kitchens shared his company’s research to determine if metal additive manufacturing (AM) has viable application in the valve realm or is simply a solution looking for a problem.
The study demonstrated that, while valve manufacturing is a traditionally conservative industry, the emergence of severe service valves, smart monitoring systems and highly engineered control products have pushed the industry into the future. Specific to the valve industry, metal AM creates a pathway toward innovative solutions to common performance desires such as higher flow capacities and decreased cavitation likelihood, as demonstrated through the case study covered. More generally, metal AM can dramatically reduce functional prototype lead times and speed up the product development process resulting in faster time-to-market for new products.
Straight pattern globe valves are widely used in the oil and gas industry to regulate and control the flow of fluids. During operation, these valves are exposed to problems such as cavitation. In the highly technical article, Cavitation in Globe Valves—and Proposed Solutions, we learned from Karan Sotoodeh that cavitation risk is not only dependent of the cavitation index but also affected by the opening percentage of the valve. We also heard about other parameters affecting cavitation and solutions to the problem.
Another problem solved in a top ten article is Lifecycle Management of Pressure Relief Valves. Kevin Simmons and Marcelo Dultra posited that accurately specified and appropriately maintained pressure relief valves (PRVs) are critical for protecting plant personnel and equipment against unexpected overpressure events.
The article said it’s essential for service providers and operators to know applicable codes and standards and seek expert assistance when sizing and selecting these valves. It’s also essential to take no shortcuts and follow manufacturer’s recommendations when repairing valves. By implementing an asset management program, operators can improve uptime, optimize planning, resourcing and spending, the article noted. Best results are achieved when operators, valve manufacturers and service providers work together for a common goal.
Another common dilemma affecting end users is covered in Valve Stem Material Selection for Offshore Actuated Valves. This web article related an ongoing study that it is more critical for actuated valves to have enough strength to withstand the loads from the operator, mostly because of high torque values from the actuator. Although upgrading the stem material is one solution to solve the issue, this could be very expensive, the article said. Therefore, alternative approaches such as reducing the air supply pressure in the control panel and/or reducing the actuator size can be considered and applied.
In his print article in the Spring issue of VALVE, Matt Wasielewski discussed the Past, Present and Future of Fire Testing. Because so many of the applications where valves are used are sensitive to the danger of fire and explosion, fire testing is a critical part of the process of designing the right valves. While much has occurred in the world of fire testing standards over the last 30–40 years, fire testing continues to evolve as standards are revised and updated. With the additional requirement of low fugitive emissions, these standards will reflect the increasing challenges equipment must face as well as the pressure to keep facilities and people safe when fire occurs, the article stated.
Air Valves in Piping Systems, a Spring 2018 Back to Basics article by John Ballun.Finally... drum roll please. We present the top Readers’ Choice for 2018:
Ballun showed us how liquid piping systems are prone to collecting air from incoming fluids, pumps and connections. When air is allowed to accumulate in pressurized pipelines, efficiency is sacrificed, and serious system damage can occur, the article explained. By having an understanding of the various types of air valves, system designers can better select and install air valves to protect liquid piping systems.
What’s Up for 2019?
In keeping with our reader-driven excellence, we encourage you to submit your own ideas for articles for the future. Is there something you’d like to learn? Do you have information, tips or tools that could be turned into an article to improve some aspect of our industry? Whether you have a topic suggestion or would like to write an article yourself, let us know. Maybe this time next year, your contribution will be on this list!