Sourcing pipes and valves together makes sense

James Roper, industrial brand manager for Durapipe UK, discusses the benefits of companies specifying a complete package of valves, pipework and flow-control solutions

A reliable and efficient set of valves plays a big part in the successful running of a water treatment plant. If the performance of a valve deteriorates or – in the worst case scenario – it fails, it could cost thousands in downtime. Despite this, valves are all too often specified separately from other elements of the system, and at different stages of the process.

The best-performing systems are those that comprise elements that are designed to work together. The type of valve specified needs to be right for the system and needs to be given as much consideration as the other components. There is an array of options available on the market, so it is important to ensure the most appropriate valve for a particular application is selected. It is advised that valves are specified at the outset, along with pipework and flow-control requirements, to ensure a matched system.

Common mistake

The most common mistake when selecting valves is choosing a product that is too complex for the job it needs to do. In many water treatment applications a manual ball valve is the ideal solution. This is the most effective product for standard isolation, when plants need to shut off certain sections for maintenance or repairs. Further options are required for more complex processes, such as chemical dosing or batch control. Butterfly and diaphragm valves have been introduced by manufacturers to take care of these needs, and may be more suitable because they feature variable settings that control the amount the valve is opened.

The material choice is as important as picking the right valve. It should match the pipework to ensure the most efficient performance is achieved. ABS and PVC-U are the most widely used materials in the water treatment sector. PVC-U provides chemical resistance to most acids and alkalis, aliphatic hydrocarbons and saline solutions.

This makes it the ideal material for transporting food-grade fluids, treated and untreated drinking water and demineralised water. ABS is a robust and reliable material, which offers exceptional impact resistance – even at low temperatures – making it suitable for transporting slurries and ultrapure water.

If the valve material matches the pipework, then it will not disrupt the flow as it passes between the two. But, if these are specified separately, and the pipework is in a different material to the valves, the rate of flow may change slightly. This could, in turn, affect the performance of the system.

Processes which require the valve to control the level of flow passing through will also use flow-control measurement devices within the system. The benefits of selecting these devices together with the valves and pipework brings benefits for both the contractor and end user in terms of cost and time savings.

Jointing technique

Installing a system in which all of the elements have been designed to work together means cost and time savings – no additional connectors or adapters are needed to join different manufactured parts, which saves money and cuts down on labour time. The jointing technique will also be the same for all parts of the system, making this a simpler and quicker process.

Further benefits are clear once the system has been installed. For instance, there is one point of reference for queries, technical support and replacement parts, which means minimum disruption for maintenance.

Contractors and end users within the water treatment industry need to consider the benefits of selecting a complete package of valves, pipework and flow-control monitors from one manufacturer.

A fully matched system – from the outset – not only offers increased performance benefits, but also delivers a significant reduction in time and costs associated with the system over its lifetime.

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