Neglect servicing at your peril

Valve users are mandated few international standards and certificates as prerequisites to apply for vendor code to valve manufacturers. One should have minimum certificates to supply valves to international oil companies.

Most of the valve manufacturers and suppliers are not having own “servicing” teams. Point of improvement to the valve community is that either valve manufacturer must have an exclusive service team or having a tie up with API certified service provider.
Valve users must start insisting on this point. As on date “valve servicing” is completely ignored and often left to mostly unskilled and non-certified people which is leading to killing the life of the valves and its trims. It is a serious lapse in our valve world community. It needs to be discussed and “servicing “must be brought under professional people.

Based on extensive experience, I recommend that the valve repair and service vendor selection team ensure that:
* Vendor is having API certification
* Vendor is bringing mobile workshop
* Vendor is using special purpose machines to do lapping by measurement of material removal from seats
* Standard operating procedures of each and every processes.
* Submitting the JOB CARDS
* Approved QAPs
* Approved welding drawings for repair
* Stress reliving equipment calibration certificates
* Identification of special processes as a “Key Result Area”
* Gauges must be at hand for all special processes.

A poorly trained, prepared or equipped repair team results in damaging the internal parts which is not visible or perceivable from outside. Mostly customers are demanding twelve months’ warrantee and feel satisfied because there is no incident during that twelve month period, but fail to realise that valve life has been reduced by half or even more.

Real-life experiences
During my career, I have witnessed many instances of poor workmanship during valve servicing. Such as welding of valve internals to facilitate lifting. This happened due to lack of knowledge on valve parts handling and techniques. The valve function may not have been immediately impaired but the valve would in all probability not work properly for long and the seats may even break while in service.
Similarly, Joints are not always tightened using a torque wrench with defined torque setting, techniques and sequences. Most of the service people are not aware of “torque” wrenches and how they can support the valve joints. Old spare parts are also sometimes used, which is simply not acceptable. Once a valve has been dismantled, the old gaskets should be immediately discarded and certainly not reused. Gasket seating areas must be machined, taking care to ensure profiles are as per the OEM drawings.
Most of the valves users are limiting themselves to “no-leakage” performance in twelve months. However, with proper maintenance, valves can work for fifty years or more, without any sudden catastrophe.

“Human life and ascosporic safety is paramount.”

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