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Valve Seats Replacement: Everything You Need to Know

Knowing all about valve seats replacement is crucial as valve seats play important roles in reciprocating compressors. Read more.

Valve Seats Replacement: Everything You Need to Know - KB Delta

Reciprocating compressor valves are crucial components that regulate or adequately control the flow of fluids. These valves operate by rhythmically opening, closing, or creating obstructions of particles as they flow through various passageways.

Valves are so critical to the success of several industrial processes. This is why it is employed in the following industries:



Most valves come with seals that different machines employ in order to control oil consumption and valve lubrication. However, reciprocating compressor valves will only operate as efficiently and effectively as expected, thanks to the valve seat.


What is a Valve Seat?

A reciprocating compressor valve seat is that surface within the body of a valve that is in direct contact with another component called the ‘disk.’ This moveable component of a reciprocating compressor restricts and permits fluid flow through the valve.

Valve seats are generally induction-hardened, which is essential as it makes them resistant to wear and tear. It is also highly crucial for valve seats to be highly compatible with the numerous types of valves within a reciprocating compressor. This makes it easier for the valves to function with zero hindrances, making the compressor operate seamlessly as desired.


The Role of Valve Seats in Reciprocating Compressors

Reciprocating compressor valve seats have 2 primary roles they play at all times, even though they also perform several other functions:


  1. Heat conduction
  2. Prevention of combustion gas leakage


Let’s take a brief look at these major functions of reciprocating compressor valves:

1. Heat Conduction

When a reciprocating compressor is in full operation, the valves release heat from heating and high-temperature combustion gas. However, there is a need to simultaneously minimize valve friction and cylinder head. This is another vital function that valve seats undertake.

2. Prevention of Combustion Gas Leakage

When the valve is seated properly, the valve seat holds tightly. This efficiently prevents combustion gas leakage. It may also compress gas right into the manifold set between the compressor valve and the valve seat itself.

But as hinted briefly, these are not the only functions of compressor valve seats. They are also designed to perform these other functions:


  • Minimize wear resistance. This is because valve seats must be designed to withstand the significant pressure of high heat and loads.
  • Maintain the seal’s strength as soon as the valve is mounted. The quality, as well as the integrity of valve seat rings, also contribute significantly to the efficiency of the component in this area.


Reciprocating compressor valve seats come with several suitable features, the most vital of which is the seamless function between the partner valve and the valve seat itself.

This vital component also helps prolong multiple work processes. This ensures the smooth operation of the reciprocating compressor at a moderate cost.


Why Do Valves Fail?

When compressor valves fail, they can have adverse impacts on the entire system. This could result in costly delays and downtime that brings productivity to a halt and eats into employee resources.

But why do valves fail? Valve failure could be attributed to several factors, which include the presence of debris in the pipeline. Worn elastomers and seat seals, as well as the perpetual operation of the reciprocating compressor in extremely high temperatures, are all factors that can cause valve failure.


Valve Seats Replacement | The Signs

When a valve is about to fail, there are a few warning signs or symptoms it emits:


  • Vibration

The first – and most – common symptom of a failing valve is vibration. The valve starts vibrating, causing some internal components to get lost as the problem worsens.


  • Water hammer

Water hammer is another tell-tale sign that you are about to experience valve failure. It is a situation where the valve starts making noises unrelated to the operation of the compressor. This situation comes about when the disc slams unceremoniously into the valve seat.

Water hammers give rise to severe damage when pipelines rupture. A faster-closing valve is the most efficient way of combatting this problem.


  • Sticking

When a valve starts leaking and sticking, it is a sign that it is breaking down. Stick is a situation that arises when debris somehow finds its way into the body bore and disc. This causes the valve to stick in a particular position, hindering the smooth operation of the reciprocating compressor.


  • Faulty valve seat design

When the valve seat design is faulty, it prevents the valve from functioning effectively. This can cause catastrophic failure and shortens the life span of the compressor.

The material used for a reciprocating compressor must be durable and suitable for the media and environment within which it operates.

Whenever these symptoms, it becomes essential to replace the valve seat as soon as possible.


The Importance of Quality Parts/Maintenance

The importance of quality and maintenance can never be overstated. The valve will never work if the wrong material is used in creating/designing a valve seat.

This is why care must be taken when selecting the type of material used in making the valve seat. Studying the physical properties of the materials as well as the media and environment within which the reciprocating compressor operates goes a long way in determining the longevity of the equipment.

Maintenance is a preventive measure that helps minimize costly repairs and considerable downtimes. It must be done from time to time in order to discover any symptoms that may not be too obvious during operation.



The valve seat is one of the most vital components of a reciprocating compressor. Therefore, the valve will never work if the valve seat becomes faulty.

This results in shortening the lifespan of the reciprocating compressor or total catastrophic failure. It could also have explosive and, therefore, life-threatening effects, depending mostly on the media as well as the environment.

This is why valve seats must never be constructed with sub-standard materials. Every valve seat is designed for a specific purpose. Therefore, studying the physical properties of the materials and the media will determine the precise material suitable for a specific operation.

As soon as a valve seat fails, replacing it becomes crucial and must be done as soon as possible. Regular maintenance helps minimize valve seat failure/damage, especially when those early warning signs are observed. This prevents costly repairs and downtimes down the road.



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