Selecting the correct type of valve for a given application is not only critical to plant uptime, but it will also assist in maintaining the lowest total cost of ownership on a plant or other industrial installation where valves are used, says minerals solutions provider Weir Minerals Africa senior application engineer Motshumi Joseph Diphare.
When compared with other equipment in a plant, valves may be considered by some as inexpensive, but the reality is that should the incorrect valve have been selected, the consequences could be costly.
He explains that, where a valve is not suited to application requirements, this can impact on the component’s reliability and performance, leading to continual breakdowns and finally, the need to replace the valve. Not only is this an unnecessary and unplanned expense, the consequential cost of unplanned plant stoppages and loss of production can be substantial. Adding to this is the potential environmental damage through leakage.
Diphare stresses the need to deal with a reputable original equipment manufacturer that has the technical expertise to assess the application requirements and provide an appropriate product solution.
“This is especially important as there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to valves,” he explains, noting there are several considerations when selecting a valve.
The first thing to consider is the functionality of the valve itself – whether it is to isolate or modulate, and once this is determined other factors include the pressure of the customer’s system, the product and the physical nature of the product being processed, the actuation mechanisms and the maintenance requirements as well as the available skills and tools on site.
“As an example, in many of our markets access to electricity could be an issue which means that selecting an electric valve would not be a viable option. There are other methods of actuation which include manual, pneumatic and hydraulic, and the decision should be based on the availability of resources on site,” Diphare explains.
It is vital that the valve selection is based on accurate process information, and it is important to establish whether there are any chemicals in the slurry so that the most appropriate body material can be selected for the valve.
Processes involving high wear would include those with highly corrosive fluid and often high temperatures. In applications such as this, the Weir Minerals Delta Industrial valves provide superior wear and isolation capabilities ensuring optimum reliability and performance.
Weir Minerals offers standard ranges of valves including Isogate knife gate valves for moderate applications, Delta Industrial knife gate valves for severe service applications and Isogate pinch valves as well engineered-to- order products.
Further, it is well positioned to assist companies across industry sectors in Africa and the Middle East.