A common problem faced by companies whose operations involve extensive pipe networks is the amount of time and money wasted due to faulty valves.
If a valve is not regularly opened as part of normal processes, there is a risk that it will become increasingly difficult to turn over time, or even blocked or jammed. In order to avert this risk, operations managers should put in place a regular maintenance programme to ensure that all the valves can rotate and open easily, in particular any safety valves. However, the less used valves are often difficult to open – in particular manual valves in older pipe systems – and the preventative maintenance work is long and cumbersome, with the result that it gets regularly postponed. However if valves are poorly maintained, operators have to exert extra force to open them, increasing the risk of damaging or breaking the valve. Alternatively, they may simply be too tightly shut to ever open. In either case, the valve will need to be replaced.
Furthermore, workers are more at risk of developing an occupational illness from repeatedly straining to open manual valves. Or worse, an accident may occur if workers ignore standard approved procedure in efforts to force open a blocked valve. And as any business knows, compensation pay-outs or long-term sick pay can be a costly affair.
In more modern pipe networks, many of the valves are power actuated but they are still fitted with a hand-wheel for manual activation in the case of a power failure or a need to shut off the power for repairs. Again these hand-wheels can be hard to open if rarely used.
And now for the good news! There is a way to overcome the problem, saving time and money on both a day-to-day and long-term basis.
The portable pneumatic valve actuator is a basic power tool that is deceptively efficient and easy-to-use. It can be adapted to clasp on to any valve and rotate, stopping once the valve has been opened or closed, avoiding any damage to the valve through the use of excess force, and in turn any damage to the pipes due to a blocked valve of jammed safety valve.
The pneumatic valve actuator can be used by all operators and in difficult to access areas. Its portability and adaptability means that companies don’t need to pay out for huge numbers of fixed power actuators to add to individual valves. In many industries, where conditions are highly flammable or damp, the pneumatic actuator is safer than an electrically powered actuator as there is no risk of overheating or generating sparks.
But perhaps the real beauty of the portable pneumatic valve actuator is that it does the job so quickly – on average 10 times faster than an operator turning a valve manually – which means regular maintenance work is no longer so time-consuming. As a result, the valves in the system are well-maintained, easier to open and last longer, and operators can work more efficiently and with less risk of injury or accident.
Inevitably, this all-round improved performance translates into significant financial savings at the end of the day. As the saying goes, it’s a win-win situation.