Blog: Cryogenic testing – ensuring safety and flawless performance
When thinking about how my studies so far have prepared me for working life, I come to the realization that mostly, it has given me small hints of what I could really expect. Studying sustainability as my minor has led me to think about the business in a wider scale, and especially its environmental and human impacts. Both of these aspects are constantly present also at Metso and its several locations globally, in about 50 different countries. This time, I got to learn more about LNG and our Cryogenic testing laboratory in Metso Valve Technology Center, Finland.
Natural gas is often transformed into liquefied natural gas (LNG). This allows its volume to squeeze 600 times smaller, and become more economical and safer to transport between continents. The actual process behind the liquification however requires temperatures less than -162ºC (323.6 ºF) and this is where safety should always come first.
Safety is also the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about Metso. At the location of my work, where the valves for oil and gas applications are produced, we have further specialized in cryogenic testing. This means that we have a special laboratory for ensuring valve reliability in the most extreme conditions, such as the liquification process of natural gas. The process itself is demanding due to the huge temperature and pressure differences.
Metso’s task as an original equipment provider is to guarantee full prevention for environmental hazards happening during the natural gas lifecycle. It is also the demand from the customer’s side, as they are finally responsible for safe operations at the plant. In the cryogenic state-of-the-art laboratory in Hakkila, Finland, we can test valves sized from 4” up to 100” in test temperatures as low as -196 ºC (384.8 ºF) with liquefied nitrogen. The test pressures can also vary up to 200 bar upon request.
According to Jarkko Ilonen, Production Supervisor, Metso Flow Control, the testing follows a procedure agreed upon with the customer. Today, it is possible for the client to follow the full process via Skype from the beginning when submerging the valve into the liquefied nitrogen, all the way to the final inspection. This way both parties can be assured that the safety standards and customer requirements are fulfilled.
Cryogenic testing process
As a test laboratory, Metso’s cryogenic testing center is unique in Finland and one of the largest and most advanced valve test facilities in Europe. Due to the nature of the test, the process is supervised through shockproof windows in an air controlled control room – safety and security on top of mind. Approximately one hundred vales per year are tested here to make sure that our customers’ processes are up and running reliably, even in the most challenging circumstances.
After the testing and inspection, the valves are then delivered to our customer’s locations all over the world. Even after that, Metso is ensuring safety with its extended service network in almost each corner of the globe. For me, that shows that Metso cares about the aftermath of its operations; the environment and the people.
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