Ideas for Extending the Life of Compression Valves
Time is money. That is one saying that rings true in every business and every walk of life. For manufacturing businesses, when something stops working, or stops working well, that means you are losing money.
According to Emerson Process Management, its customers report that they have “lost more than $300,000 in parts, labor and lost production due to unplanned maintenance on their reciprocating compressors.” That’s why monitoring the performance of the compressor and its parts is so important.
A compressor is the pivotal component in moving air through a machine and its crucial piece is the valve. With repetitive motions at high speeds or high-impact forces, valves and valve components can fail. When that happens, your machine sits idle while you work to repair or replace the valve.
Increased monitoring can help to detect potential problems, and provide solutions, early. Here are some additional options from an independent researcher to consider for extending the life of your compression valves.
Work to maintain the internal tolerances of each valve according to manufacturer specifications. Keeping a sharp eye on this will help your compressor perform at the level for which it was designed.
Don’t overlook inlet filter maintenance. These filters help block dirt and other particles that can damage the valve and reduce its life. Newer compressors likely already have a monitor for the filters. If not, ask for guidelines from your filter vendor.
It is important to monitor the temperature in water-cooled cylinders. Condensation can form in the compression chamber if the cylinders are too cold and the liquid can cause damage to valve parts. If this happens in lubricated cylinder, the liquid can wash away the oil.
The manufacturer should have recommended a water outlet temperature, so check your owner’s manual for that information. Keep in mind that the changing seasons can affect the temperature and you may need to make adjustments.
Installing Compression Valves
It is important that compression valves be installed correctly and seated correctly in the valve pockets. Refer to your owner’s manual for the proper torque to apply in securing the valve.
Strip, feather and channel valves have straight ports and must be installed so that the ports are parallel to the piston rod. The valve can then be opened evenly. This also eliminates wear that is caused by the rolling action of the internal sealing part.
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