New technology increases valve life

31st July 2020 By: Theresa Bhowan - journalist

New technology increases valve life

MOEKETSI MPOTU The DISTRAN Ultra Pro imaging device is being used by the largest air-separation plant globally

With more than 28% of valves used and supplied to the metals and mining sector in South Africa, industrial valves supplier Brimis Engineering is collaborating with Swiss engineering company VENTRADEX AG and incorporating DISTRAN leak detection technology to service several mining projects.

“The DISTRAN Ultra Pro imaging device is being used by the largest air-separation plant globally, which is located at a petrochemical producer at its Secunda plant,” states Brimis Engineering technical director Moeketsi Mpotu.

The DISTRAN Ultra Pro ultrasound-imaging device can detect any kind of gas leaks (gas, steam, compressed air, N2, H2 and even vacuum) and electrical discharges in real time, which allows for identifying and addressing problems before any safety issues occur.

The UltraPro core comprises multiple ultrasonic sensors in its ‘head’. When a sound wave reaches the surface of the device, it also reaches the sensors at time-differences of less than a millisecond, Mpotu explains.

“These millisecond time differences are sufficient for targeting the location of the source very precisely using these sound waves.”

Therefore, leaks and electrical discharges can be detected from as far as 20 m from the source, making the ultrasonic camera an extremely useful instrument in ensuring employee and equipment safety, he adds.

The Brimis Engineering team has been trained by Swiss specialists in the use of DISTRAN Ultra Pro device, upskilling it to implement this technology, which is new to the South African market.

With Brimis Engineering assisting various mining businesses with refurbishing valves, this new technology also assists in expanding the life span of valves by early detection of leaks and the surrounding components in the corrosive mining environment. Expensive losses will be avoided.

While some valves, such as slurry knife gate valves, are subjected to severe corrosion because of the extremely wet conditions, dome valves are used in significantly dry conditions. Condition monitoring is, therefore, vital for any valves that are critical for production, and safety-related processes at a mine.

“Brimis Engineering seeks to find innovative solutions for the most severe conditions to extend the life of products and systems. It is extremely important that the correct valve is selected for a specific application and that valves are operated correctly. This not only prolongs the life of the valve but also ensures plant and human safety,” Mpotu concludes.