More Questions and Answers
Q: How do I decide which valve is right for my application?
The characteristics of dry solids are endless…bulk density, flowability, abrasiveness, corrosiveness, particle size, shape, temperature sensitivity, stickiness, hygroscopic traits, degradation, and saltation points are just a few. The parameters of an application are also numerous, which include but are not limited to temperature, internal system pressure or vacuum, availability of compressed air or electricity, explosion risk, cleaning requirements, and so on. Matching the right valve to material characteristics and application parameters is essential for successful processing.
It’s good practice to outline your performance expectations for a valve, especially as they apply to maintenance frequency, parts requirements, efficiency gains, and long-term cost savings. If a valve is directly responsible for production downtime or other process inefficiencies, there’s a high likelihood the factors relating to material characteristics, application parameters, and expectations weren’t fully considered during the procurement process.
The vast majority of the global valve market is made up of valves for handling liquids, gases, or steam. Many valve problems manifest when these valves are installed in place of a properly designed solids handling valve. By design, gas, liquid, and steam valves can seal high pressures by using soft seals and seats. This essential design requirement is the source of problems when applied in solids handling. Unlike gases and liquids, dry solids don’t dissipate when closed against a soft seat and can easily erode the valve’s sealing mechanism. Blast abrasion from dry particles can also wreak havoc on any exposed parts in the material stream. Powders easily migrate into packing or seal glands causing eventual leakage and the moving parts to seize. It’s often attractive for procurement managers to look at butterfly, ball, pinch, and bull-nose knife gate valves from a pricing point of view, but that’s where the savings end and the long-term inefficiencies begin.
Choosing the right solids handling valve supplier is a vital part of the valve specification process. A manufacturer with a broad range of material handling knowledge and experience in valve design is the key to application success. An experienced supplier will have worked with similar applications and can help a company match the right valve to meet or exceed its expectations.