Ball valve repair can improve your operation’s safety and profitability at the same time.
Ball valves have a simple design that makes them a reliable flow control component. They offer dependable isolation in low-cycling applications. The full-bore design of ball valves makes them ideal for systems where line-pigging or other through-tubing interventions are common. Ball valves show up in a variety of industrial processes including chemical plants, exploration, transmission, and refining.
The durability and utility of the basic design mean that you’ll find ball valves adapted to many specific applications in your industry. Ball valves can be set-up for manual operation or adapted to pneumatic, electronic, or hydraulic actuation for control valve applications.
Ball valves are subject to wear and failure like any component of a dynamic system. It’s important to spot signs early before the damage makes ball valve repair impractical.
Signs You Need Ball Valve Repair
It’s hard to follow a block and bleed protocol with ball valves that want to do both. Look for the following signs to spot a need for ball valve repair sooner. You’ll avoid the risks and expenses that a valve failure can bring.
#1 – Ball Valve Jamming
In most industrial processes, jamming can only occur if foreign matter enters the system at some point upstream. Of course, there are applications where slurry or solids passing through the lines are part of normal operations. In either case, if a ball valve becomes jammed, that event has the potential to cause long-term damage or deformation. Jams can cause scratches and dents to the ball or tear the valve’s seals making ball valve repair a necessity.
#2 – A Ball Valve That Fails to Cycle
If a valve refuses to cycle at all it could be due to a jam involving a full-drift object or clog. It is far more likely that a failure to cycle is caused by problems with the valve’s stem assembly, actuator, or manual lever. If failure to cycle occurs in a new system or one that has recently undergone a major redesign, it is likely that the actuator lacks the power to cycle the valve. Whenever a valve that has cycled reliably in the past fails to cycle, it can be a sign of a problem in the actuation system.
#3 – A Closed Ball Valve That Leaks
Ball valves are designed to offer complete isolation. When a valve is appropriate for the application that it’s being used in – it should do exactly that. If a ball valve in the closed position is allowing upstream pressure to flow through – even at a negligible rate – this is a sure sign of problems. Deformed seals are a common cause of leaking. Damage to the ball itself can also lead to leaking. In either case, immediate corrective action will keep ball valve repair costs low and prevent larger problems.
#4 – A Ball Valve That Leaks at the Stem
The only other integral point on a typical ball valve where leaking can occur is around the stem assembly. This can be caused by errors during a rebuild or by worn-out packing seals. In older valves, this can be due to wear and deformation to the valve body but that problem is usually only seen in instances where a leak in this area is allowed to persist over an extended period.
#5 – An Increase or Change in the Level of Noise or Vibration
When you work in an industrial setting, you get to know the look and feel of your system in ways that an outsider would be hard-pressed to understand. Noise and vibration come with the territory in professions where you spend all day around industrial processing equipment. But your familiarity with the system – how it should sound and act – makes you the best person to notice changes that can be clues about how the system is functioning. When you notice an increase or change in the noise or vibration at or near a valve, that’s a good sign that it is in need of immediate repair.
Catching problems with a ball valve can be the key to getting it repaired before it is too far gone. Repairing ball valves instead of replacing them can make a big difference to your company’s bottom line. More importantly, identifying the need for ball valve repair before a critical failure can be the key to making sure that everyone on your team goes home safe at the end of the shift.
When you need affordable and efficient ball valve repair, PSA, Inc. is here to help. We’ve been servicing the chemical, petrochemical refining, and gas distribution industries since 1974.