Total valve replacement can be expensive and time-consuming. In-field industrial valve repair and modification resumes operations in the shortest time and at the lowest expense. The following seven criteria are essential to choosing an industrial valve repair company that will reduce downtime and resume operations quickly.
1. Vertically Integrated
To expedite repair and modification, an industrial valve company should eliminate outsourcing to third parties. Unnecessary vendors introduce higher expenses and lead-time. By keeping all aspects of industrial valve repair in-house, the company can dispatch and coordinate activities much quicker. This should include an engineering department for custom-designed modifications. A vertically integrated business model cuts out impediments to fast valve repair.
2. Replacement Parts
The most important criterion for modern valve inventory is establishing solid relationships with manufacturers. Because many manufacturers have moved overseas, shipping times on specialty parts can create unnecessary downtime. However, companies that receive authorization from the manufacturer are qualified to modify valves with OEM approval. That means the rigorous demands of the manufacturer have been met. With firm OEM relationships in place, local companies can maintain an inventory of parts common to the needs of their clients. This significantly reduces downtime and provides ready-to-go replacement materials that solve common problems. Likewise, OEM alliances provide a feedback mechanism for manufacturers to continue supplying needed components.
3. Expedited Shop-to-Field Reproduction
When specialty parts are not on hand, the contingency falls on the shop to reproduce the needed parts and deliver them to in-field service technicians as quickly as possible. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines automate the creation of parts designed on AutoCAD and other CAD-CAM software. Modern in-shop testing should also ensure the highest confidence in valve quality. This includes fugitive emissions testing (FET), valve fire testing, cryogenic testing and forensic analysis.
4. Well-trained Technicians
Another factor that can slow down industrial valve modification and repair is the experience of the technician performing the work. Experienced valve service technicians perform work right the first time without avoidable delays. They can repair valves of all types and sizes, including:
• Gate Valves
• Globe Valves
• Check Valves
• Ball Valves
Likewise, qualified technicians should have basic and advanced safety training to avoid damage or injury.
5. Proper In-Field Equipment
Sometimes, valves need to be torched out of a tank. Other times, electrical testing equipment needs to detect fine tolerances within the valve. From major fieldwork to fine-tuning, it is necessary to keep the right equipment to keep downtime to a minimum. As any Industrial Engineer will tell you, travel is the most time-consuming aspect of 80 percent of jobs. That is why having the right equipment handy the first time eliminates significant downtime.
6. Computer Tracking
Every valve tells a story. By tracking the movement and performance of every single valve that leaves the facility, a company can detect patterns, create reports, fine-tune performance and predict future needs. With the introduction of modern computer technology, top performing industrial valve repair companies must keep pace. Computer tracking and reporting can reduce costs by matching better parts to the customer’s needs. Also, downtime is further reduced because exact parts and materials can be anticipated based on previous records.
7. Knowledge of Valve Standards
Standards eliminate opinion and guesswork. Many organizations have worked hard to help establish commonly accepted expectations and standards in the valve and fittings industry. These include:
• American Petroleum Institute – API
• American Standards Association – ANSI
• American Society of Mechanical Engineers – ASME
• British Standards Institution – BSI
• Fluid Controls Institute – FCI
• International Organization for Standardization – ISO
• Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society of America) – ISA
• Manufacturers Standardization Society of the Valve and Fittings Industry – MSS
Total valve replacement should be the last resort. By selecting a company with the right expertise with in-the-field valve repair, expenses and downtime can be kept to a minimum without sacrificing quality.