Blog: Go with the flow
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Blog: Non-lubricating mediums for valves? Not a problem!

The world is moving toward cleaner fuels and environment-friendly energy sources. In recent years, this shift to a more conscientious attitude toward the environment has become a trend in industry, creating more challenges for all of us.

In the energy industry – although it will put more demands on devices – the recipe for success seems simple: Produce higher yields from the renewable feedstock as efficiently as possible.

Sounds like a plan! But it does present a difficult set of challenges for the devices supporting such energy-efficient operations – like process valves. Especially when the mediums used in the process are sticky, dry or unfavorable for components and instrumentation.

Many challenges in pursuit of excellence

In the petrochemical industry, for example, this medium might be toluene, a colorless chemical compound, or the superheated steam typically used in power plant processes. Both are known as dry, non-lubricating fluids. Or sometimes even more aggressive mediums are employed, capable of causing erosion and rapid system degradation.

Producing a higher yield of fuels cleaner, faster and at higher volumes means that valves involved in such high-efficiency processes will also have to handle higher temperatures, higher pressures, higher cycling as well as meet strict tightness requirements in control valve duty. They will need more accurate controllability, along with ultra-reliable operation and maximum uptime. All of this, with the additional challenges set by troublesome fluids.

Therefore, the right valve selection with a focus on its material is a must.

Chromium Carbide coating saves the day

For some time, solutions have been developed for processes using non-lubricating mediums. One of these is a Chromium Carbide (CrC) hardfacing applied to the trim and seat of a valve. For example, Metso’s R Series valves have this hardfacing as an option for their standard stainless-steel parts.

The CrC coating has demonstrated unrivaled capabilities when operating with non-lubricating process mediums. It has excellent resistance to high temperatures, helps prevent flashing or cavitation, and has sufficient hardness to resist erosion. With these proven characteristics, valves with CrC hardfacing ensure faster valve stroking.

Toluene tested, customer approved

At Metso, together with an experienced customer, the R Series valve with CrC coating on a segment and its seat was tested with toluene.

The test ran through a total of 100,000 mechanical cycles, where one valve cycle equals 0% closed to 100% opened to 0% closed. Several fast stroking steps in the cycle, requiring accurate controllability, were also run as part of the test.

After the testing phase was completed, disassembly and inspection were carried out. Results were amazing. The valve’s segment parts all remained in excellent condition.

Segment  Seat

Picture 1. Segment and seat in great condition after the test

Trouble-free valve solution for non-lubricating mediums

Some time ago, dry, non-lubricating mediums had been associated with an inevitable short lifecycle for a plant’s flow control equipment. If producing better fuels required dry mediums, reliable and stable valve performance would have been impossible.

Until now, when valves with an advanced coating have finally eliminated the risky reputation of non-lubricating mediums. Sticky, dry or other mediums with operational issues such as corrosion or clogging – now there is a way for everything to flow – smooth and trouble-free.

Having a tested and customer-approved design, these valves were also made to be easily upgradable onsite. This provides a unified solution, with an eye on the details that matter, for many different demanding conditions – and ensures convenience if any changes to the process are needed.


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Mikko Tikka

Technical Sales Engineer, Metso Flow Control

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