What is valve analysis?

Valve analysis, or valve condition monitoring, is a way of tracking the condition of valves to detect the earliest signs of failure or degradation. Valve analysis uses smart sensors to gather data about valve condition, so that operators can analyze the data to measure the health of the valves and spot those which need to be repaired or overhauled. 

Valve analysis is a component of effective maintenance strategies. Valves play a crucial role in every process plant. Although they may be only a small part of the system, if a valve fails it can bring the whole plant to a halt.

Why does valve analysis matter to process manufacturing plants?

Degraded valves can affect plant performance, as well as potentially creating unsafe working conditions for employees. By using valve analysis, process plants can detect degradation in valves before it reaches a level that could threaten employee safety or plant efficiency. 

Valve analysis also enables plant engineers to schedule maintenance or replacement activities for the most convenient times, helping reduce stress on maintenance teams and avoid unplanned downtime. With valve analysis, plants can cut costs by keeping performance at peak levels and extending valve lifecycles. 

How can process plants apply valve analysis?

 

Ensure the leadership is on board

Valve analysis is a new approach to valve maintenance, requiring a change of mindset from the old “run to fail” methods. Since it’s human nature to resist change, you need top-down leadership to bring all your employees on board.

Identify the most critical valves

Begin with the valves that play the most important role in the plant. This way, you’ll see results quickly, which will help convince reluctant employees, and you’ll be able to start small and test the solution before expanding it. 

Establish data storage capabilities

Valve analysis relies on data, so you need to create the systems to collect, store, and preprocess valve performance data before you move ahead with a valve analysis solution. 

Set clear benchmarks

You need to be able to show measurable improvements from your valve condition monitoring system, but that’s impossible without benchmarks. Record values like the number of reactive work orders before the new solution, so you have a standard for comparison.

Be open about the changes for your employees

Your employees will probably be naturally wary of any changes to their work routine. Help gain their support by being clear and honest about what impact the new solution will have on their work schedules. 

How could process plants benefit from valve analysis?

Introducing valve analysis to process plants can help increase revenues and profitability by cutting unplanned downtime, improving performance levels, and reducing repair costs. Additionally, increasing employee safety helps boost employee engagement and raise retention rates.