A blocked air line, a loose fastener, or a degraded seal could lead to a catastrophic valve failure. Often, though, a faulty component has a less dramatic impact: A gradual decrease in efficiency, or a slow contamination of your processing system. Regular maintenance can help you operate at peak efficiency and avoid unplanned downtime and costly repairs.
Determining Your Maintenance Schedule
Maintenance requirements vary, depending on several factors such as:
- Hours of operation – A production facility that operates 24 hours a day will need to inspect valves more frequently than a shop with a 40-hour workweek.
- Processes – In chemical processing or oil and gas refining, valves can wear out quickly if not cleaned and maintained (whereas steam-based processes don’t create a lot of sticky byproducts).
- Valve age – Older valves (especially valves that have previously been repaired) may need more frequent inspection than newly installed valves.
Even when a valve seems to be functioning normally, schedule visual inspections for every six months (you can check seals, O-rings, and pressure settings once per year).
Look for common problems, such as:
- Blocked drain holes and debris pipes
- Condensate build-up
- Frayed or loose electrical connections
- Damaged connectors
- Low oil/dirty oil
- Improper opening/closing/sealing
Always consult your owner’s manual for guidance on maintenance, and check the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards and National Board Inspection Code (NBIC) for applicable testing requirements.
Keeping Good Records
Managing multiple valves on staggered maintenance schedules can be overwhelming, but a cloud-based valve management system can help you stay organized. Your VMS can store your service records (and back them up to cloud-based storage), alert you about upcoming maintenance needs, and help you identify when it’s time to replace a component.
Industrial Valve’s proprietary VMS features a user-friendly interface that you can access remotely. Ask us how our VMS can help you.