Blog: How the valve technology laboratories ensure the highest performance
Part 1. In this series of posts we will take a look at the extensive testing that is carried out to verify and validate our products and their performance at our five valve technology centers in Finland, USA, Germany, China and Korea. In this first instalment, we will take a closer look at some of the fundamental test needed to ensure valve performance and safety. All the testing we carry out in our laboratories not only aims towards meeting strict regulations, but also towards enabling our customers to enjoy safe, productive and profitable operations.
Flow testing is one of the most fundamental requirements in valve technologies. The correct flow coefficients are essential to be able to select the correct valves for our customer’s process applications. Accurate flow coefficients yield better process efficiency, longer life expectancy, as well as lower investment and usage costs for our customers. The main control valve sizing coefficients measured in our flow laboratories are the valve flow characteristics, flow coefficient (Cv), valve pressure recovery factor (FL), differential pressure ratio of incipient cavitation noise (xFz), and pressure differential ratio factor at choked flow (xT). Also, valve hydrodynamic and aerodynamic noise levels are measured for determining noise coefficients.
Fire testing is always done according to industry or customer standards. A fire test simulates a fire in a plant or a factory and verifies that the valve stays tight enough to prevent internal or external leakage from expanding the size of the fire. The basic test is to expose the valve to high temperature flames for 30 minutes and then rapidly cool it with cold water. Cooling with cold water simulates attempts to extinguish a fire and exposes the valve to severe thermal shock.
Fugitive emissions testing seeks out and prevents potential leaks and spills in industrial processes. Fugitive emissions from valves are generally gaseous substances, which can be hazardous or lethal to people, or are damaging to the environment. They are also highly regulated and monitored by governments around the globe. High-quality testing plays a vital role in developing new and better sealing technologies, minimizing fugitive emissions. A valve is tested by pressurizing it, normally with helium or methane gas, up to its maximum design pressure. Any leaking test gas is then detected from outside the valve with a highly sensitive mass spectrometer, gathering every atom of gas. The test temperature cycles between the minimum to maximum rating and can vary from -196 to over 400 degrees Celsius. We use internationally recognized testing standards to verify and classify the fugitive emissions performance of all our valves.
In the second post we will take a look at endurance and pressure testing, as well as at the testing carried out on our valve actuators.
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