How do you keep up with the performance of your valves given their importance to safe, efficient and reliable process operations? In a Pumps&Systems article, Digitalization to Predict Reliability of Mechanical Valves, Emerson’s Riyaz Ali shares ways continuous monitoring technology can help.
Riyaz opens noting these valves or final control elements (FCEs) connected to the basic process control system (BPCS):
…are at the heart of process control. Optimal process plant performance depends upon the proper function of the FCE.
He explains that unlike other instrumentation not directly touching the process fluids:
…the degradation of mechanical items occurs in definite form depending upon application, process fluid, physical properties of fluid, pressure drop, temperature, operational history, maintenance philosophy and environmental conditions.
There are challenges in both installation & configuration as well as ongoing maintenance.
Mechanical valve assemblies with pneumatic accessories inherently have limitations related to functionality. Their calibration, configuration and zero/span processes are manual—and often complex—requiring a high level of user expertise.
Operationally, issues that can affect performance include the operating environment, vibration, normal wear on the internal components, and changes in response times and calibration settings.
Traditional valves have no diagnostics, but innovations in the use of digital valve controllers has enable diagnostics to detect developing issues. Riyaz explains that these controllers:
…can aid predictive maintenance by providing a valve degradation analysis, which is important for critical valves in control and safety applications. This reduces the amount of scheduled maintenance.
…provide greater insight into the health of control valves, allowing potential failure conditions to be predicted before they occur.
Some of the capabilities include:
…auto-calibration, user-friendly configuration and a set-up wizard. It delivers accurate, precise control of the valve, with a range of instrument alerts available.
Read the article for more as Riyaz shares how to transform maintenance practices into a predictive maintenance practice and the types of issues these digital valve controllers can identify and foster more productive collaboration.
Visit the Digital Valve Controller section on Emerson.com for more on how these technologies can drive improvements in operations and maintenance and better performance overall. You can also connect and interact with other valve experts in the Valves, Actuators & Regulators group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.