A Guide to Maintaining Ball Valves in Industrial Equipment

Due to the increasing demand for petroleum and related products, natural gas production in Australia has increased over the past 5-years. According to the Australian Petroleum Statistics, the production has risen from 120.25 billion cubic meters to 151 billion cubic meters from 2017 to 2020. Although Australia is increasingly shifting towards the production of renewable energy, the midstream section of oil and gas that covers the storage and transportation of crude oil is witnessing significant growth. It has also led to the increase in the demand for ball valve and process solutions that support these industries.

A valve (ball) is one of the most reliable designs that businesses use in OEM and industrial applications as it controls the flow of the fluid or gas with a quarter turn on/off. Ball valves have a simple design. Industries prefer them for their economic and compact designs, fast shut-off speeds, durability in high-volume, high-pressure, high-temperature applications, resistance to damage and corrosion, long life and versatility of use. Despite their high quality and durability, they undergo wear and tear upon use. Although most valves are maintenance-free and focused on replacement rather than repair, workers must take preventive measures to extend their lives and function optimally.

What Are the Benefits of Maintaining Ball Valves?

Safety and Security

The worst-case scenario on an oil and gas plant floor is an accident that causes damages and injuries that might have been preventable. Therefore, oil companies must hire maintenance experts who are properly trained in assessing issues with the storage containers and the ball valves to identify early signs of problems. It lowers the chances of accidents and the company facing a lawsuit. Well-maintained ball valves can prevent hazardous leakages in the pipes and oil containers, ensuring plant safety.

Reduces Downtime

Plant shutdowns for damage control or repair can be expensive as it does not produce any revenue during the entire period. An advantage of most ball valve maintenance is that experts can examine them as they are in operation without interrupting the plant production.

Increase Longevity

Workers could miss the problems in a ball valve without routine maintenance and quality assurances. It could lead to injuries, damaged parts or equipment failures, decreasing the longevity of other equipment. Proper maintenance of valves ensures their longevity and reduces the need for repair or replacement. It helps reduce expenditure, prevent downtime and keep the plant running on schedule. It also saves expenses on unexpected repairs and replacements.

Proper Installation Leading to Optimal Performance

Installing ball valves correctly reduces the chance of repairs, reinstallations or replacements. The maintenance engineer must be knowledgeable and experienced enough to install the appropriate ball valves for the oil and gas equipment to ensure smooth functioning and safety.

Safety Through Regular Cleaning

Cleaner ball valves last longer as they do not have built-up debris that could negatively impact the performance of the piping system. Maintenance experts can use towels to wipe dirt, dust or oil from the casing and brush out the build-up from the moving parts or the stem of the ball valve. There are specific cleaning agents they must use to ensure that they do not react with the materials inside the valve. They must perform thorough cleaning at least once a year or as required to ensure optimal functioning.

Routine Inspection for Smooth Operation

Lubricating the ball valves ensures smooth operation and prevent abrasion, which increases its effectiveness as a seal. Routine inspections identify issues with ball valves and related equipment in accordance with the Petroleum and Gas Safety Regulations.

 

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