Advantages of pneumatic portable valve actuators in the oil & gas industry

8 January 2018

Motor atex PVA Sector

With an increasing demand for energy in the long term but quite unstable in the short term, the oil and gas industry is facing many challenges in its complete value chain, from production to logistics and final distribution. With the severe drop in oil barrel prices that we have seen in the last few months and the unprecedented financial constraints associated, companies in the industry are subject to a permanent urge for optimization and improvement of their processes in order to increase efficiency while respecting strict safety standards that are linked to the dangers of the products handled.

No need for a major “technological revolution” or massive investment to improve safety, efficiency and competitiveness! Smart and small improvements in technology, organization and working methods can also lead to good results.

Let’s take the example of valve operating procedures.

Valves enable to control the flow of a liquid or a gas in a closed environment.  They are numerous in the Oil and Gas industry and should always be accessible and operational in the case of hazards requiring immediate action. 

To ensure this essential safety condition, the thousands of valves that are found in a petrochemical and gas complex are subject to programs of complete and precise preventive maintenance, which consist primarily of regular operation to avoid jams, and if need be, to carry out maintenance.

Those that are regularly operated for process management remain in good condition and, in the event of a malfunction, they pose such a huge and immediate threat that maintenance is immediately carried out.  But what about those (in much larger quantities) which are not regularly operated although they are dedicated to stopping or modifying the flow in case of a problem (isolating a section of the process, creating a by-pass, or simply stopping a part of the process).  These are usually the valves that one “forgets” to operate regularly.  The reasons for that are quite obvious: They do not cause problems (for good reason: We do not use them!), they are not motorized and require time and effort to be manually actuated, they are often inaccessible … As a consequence, they jam more than others, and become even more difficult to operate. This causes a vicious cycle that ends with them becoming completely inoperable.

This situation can become very dangerous!  Indeed, if a major problem occurs and requires the opening or closing of these valves, it will be impossible to do so and the consequences could be critical, to both people and material.

An effective and inexpensive solution is the use of portable actuators to maneuver these valves.

A portable actuator is used by the operator on all the manual valves or even on the motorized valves but whose motor has failed. In this way, it is not necessary to equip each valve with an expensive actuator which, moreover, will only be used once in a while for a few of them.

But be careful of the choice of motor for this portable actuator!

  1. We operate in a context where the ATEX standards are omnipresent. The risk of explosions and fires are very high. The use of an electric motor and the connections and networks that go with it can be dangerous because of the risk of overheating, sparks, short circuits, bad contact and connections…
  2. “Portable” means that weight and size are important. If the tool is too heavy, the operator will not use it, and we are back to the initial problem. 

The pneumatic portable valve actuator is the ideal solution !

    • The portable pneumatic actuator is fully ATEX certified. It does not heat, the more it runs, the cooler it gets thanks to air expansion.
    • Its use is simple, intuitive and safe. It can therefore be used by a large number of people without any cause for concern.
    • It is 4 to 6 times more compact and lighter than an electric actuator, which makes it easy to use even to “catch” hard to reach valves.Download the portable valve actuators catalogue

This article shows you the advantages of portable pneumatic actuators in the oil and gas industry !
By providing operators with a simple way to carry out preventive maintenance of the valves, maintenance costs are instantly and significantly reduced, but also the human costs (accidents linked to the manual handling of valves that are jammed, inaccessible or simply too hard) and operating costs (reduction of break downs).  But above all, the safety of the entire site is assured.

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Bruno Martin
Bruno Martin

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