Environmental testing is absolutely vital, because our valves are used in such a wide variety of environments and process conditions. We must be able to duplicate these demanding conditions in order to test and verify product performance. Our labs let us test various temperatures and degrees of humidity. Our standard equipment simulates temperatures as low as -75˚C to over +800˚C. Salt spray chambers are used for accelerated corrosion testing to verify the performance of paints and other coatings, while vibration tables simulate severe process conditions and verify valve control performance when exposed to a wide range of frequencies.
Materials and coatings also need to be tested carefully. Our material testing capabilities include metallographic testing for chemical composition and heat treatment, tribology (wear) testing, and corrosion testing. We also perform extensive and complex analysis of polymers such as PTFE.
We use metallographic testing to inspect the quality of materials and coatings from our suppliers. We view the microstructure of the metal under a high-power microscope to verify effective heat treatment and check the morphology of coatings. We are also investigating new materials and coatings in conjunction with technology projects. Metallographic testing also plays an important part in the failure analysis of broken components. Replica testing is done without destroying the test parts, which is very useful when the test parts are large and expensive.
Tribology testing on the other hand, evaluates materials and coatings used for valve trim, seats and bearings. Coated surfaces of two separate samples are pressed together and cycled under a specified force for a defined number of cycles, depending on how and where the coatings will be used. After testing new coating materials, the best candidates are then tested in valves for tightness and endurance.
To summarize this post series on Metso’s testing facilities and practices, it is only appropriate to say that we take the testing and performance verification of our valve solutions extremely seriously. With accurate and reliable testing carried out with the latest technologies available, we are able to give our customers first-hand information about the actual performance level, quality and safety of our products and technologies. This way, our customers can rely on safe valve products while maximizing the productivity of their operations.
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Manager, Materials Technology