Valves maintenance still a challenge

15th May 2020 By: Mamaili Mamaila - Journalist

Valves maintenance  still a challenge

IRREPLACEABLE SOLUTIONS The initial coating of new valves as well as their efficient repair results in fewer valve replacements

Although demand for valves has increased over the past five years, maintenance costs, efficiency and valve service life are some of the challenges that companies face yearly, says coating technology specialist Thermaspray’s laser cladding manager Jordaan Lourens.

“Thermaspray addresses the aforementioned challenges through innovative surface engineering solutions that can restore a worn valve to original-equipment manufacturer specifications.”

The company can also extend the service life of the valve by applying materials that increase wear resistance and efficiency, which, in turn, reduce maintenance costs over time, he adds.

Thermaspray’s spray shop manager Paul Young tells Engineering News that as the valves sector is critical to many industries in these trying financial times, simply replacing a valve is not always the best option, owing to price and delivery.

Hence, the company’s refurbishing of many types of valves using thermal spray coatings, plasma-transferred arc welding and laser cladding is crucial.

“It is also possible to treat a new valve’s working components with a coating and/or cladding suited to the specific environment the valve operates in, to extend its life. This could be for abrasion, erosion or corrosion, for example,” he highlights.

Notably, the initial coating of new valves as well as their efficient repair results in fewer valve replacements. Therefore,Thermaspray engineering support manager Phillip van Wyk advances that making use of modern, specially developed materials applied on the substrate materials to increase the wear/corrosion resistance of the valves consequently results in the life of a valve being extended.

“A large amount of the work that we do involves power stations and mines, where we conduct complete refurbishments. This includes the application of special materials to worn-out valves as well as stripping, inspection and the removal of damaged/old coatings, besides others,” he points out.

Notably, the Covid-19 pandemic has made maintenance and repair of pumps and valves particularly difficult, says Thermaspray MD Dr Jan Lourens.

As such, delayed repairs and/or maintenance, has increased. This, he stresses, has resulted in plant uptime decreasing and general plant output being impacted on negatively.

“With special dispensations being made for the maintenance of equipment, this will, hopefully, get back to normal soon.”

Consequently, Thermaspray and joint venture company Surcotec are trying to move closer to their customers to understand their maintenance schedules and requirements better.

This, he concludes, will ensure that the company can readjust its strategies so that the pandemic does not adversely affect its operations on a large scale.