EPIC Modular Process Systems designs, fabricates and installs complete modular process systems. Many times, these modular process systems involve the use of valves. EPIC Modular Process hosted a lunch and learn on valves to refresh and expand our process engineers knowledge of this key piece of process equipment.
Jim and Tim Long, of Long Equipment, and Patrick Carlton of PBM Valve presented the valve lunch-and-learn to EPIC’s process engineer’s. EPIC works with a variety of valve manufacturers and suppliers, not just PBM Valve.
Specifying the correct valves for a process application is very important, especially because valves are not always rebuild-able or replaceable. Industrial valves have very different requirements than sanitary valves, and there are many types of valves to choose between: ball valves, multi-way valves, butterfly valves, plug valves, knife-gate valves, cryogenic valves, nuclear valves and more. Never assume that just because one valve is the correct fit in a particular situation that it will always work in similar situations with the same sizing or flow or any other parameter.
The circumstances the valve is exposed to changes with every process and every line, and should be the most important factor when determining the type and size of valve for a system. Normal concerns are pressure, temperature, flow rate and type of material passing through the system. What challenges have you faced before with this system or product? The entire system must considered during the valve evaluation process. For instance, is your system going to be pig-able? Is the system sanitary or industrial? Are you needing to automate part of the flow and therefore some of the valves? How much abrasion is the valve expected to endure? Abrasion is a big factor in determining a valves reliability.
Balancing the right components in the valve with how the valve is going to be used, the cost of the valve, and the quality are important as well. PBM has seen a rise in demand for valves able to withstand high pressures and high temperatures, alongside a rise in demand for something else: American made valves. Many major companies have started requiring US made products because the American made valves offer higher quality and longer life over many of their foreign counter-parts. Domestic made valves may be more expensive up-front, but along with high quality they offer a faster delivery time, guarantees for performance, MTR’s, traceability, and access to spare parts. Many foreign made valves do not offer any of these benefits and have shorter life-spans.
Many custom valves for specialized sets of circumstances have been requested as well. These requests for custom made valves have been helping PBM push forward with valve innovation. One product that has developed out of custom demand is PBM’s sanitary flush-able ball valve. Traditionally made ball-valves are not sanitary because as the ball turns to open and close, it carries product into the body cavity of the valve, which cannot be flushed out. PBM has taken the traditional ball valve design and made it so that the valve, including the body cavity is flushable with CIP solution.