Our earlier articles introduced us to valves, their different types, and their operations. Here, we will go a step further and look at what can go wrong with a valve, and how to mitigate risks and address any situation that may arise.

Across all valve applications, and particularly in the oil & gas sector, gate valves are the most commonly used in pipelines and piping applications. Using a reputable gate-valve supplier will ensure delivery of the best available equipment, but even so, valves can fail or falter despite operating under optimal conditions for reasons that can be classified under three main headings:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Sediment accumulation or obstacle impediment
  • Corrosion from agents within or external to its operating environment

These can result in valve malfunctions including: 

  • Restricted or compromised function or sticking friction.
  • Irregular or choked flow
  • Leakage from erosion
  • Chemical corrosion

Of particular importance for valve suppliers in the UAE and the GCC region are circumstantial parameters from operations that encompass large-scale oil and gas, power and desalination, as well as civil and industrial works.

Operational Stress

The power, industrial, and municipal sectors demand some of the harshest requirements from the pipe system materials they deploy. In addition, these have to operate under the Middle East’s often harsh temperatures, salinity, and humidity conditions. In the UAE, operational stresses from normal wear and tear necessitate taking precautions and accommodating situational requirements unique to the combination of factors involved. Working with experienced pipes and fittings suppliers can help you mitigate risks based on extensive on-the-ground experience gained over many years in the field.

In addition to standard wear and tear, the normal operation of valves may be compromised by the accumulation of sediments or their obstruction with foreign objects. Finally, and by the very nature of their functions, these valves are subject to the corrosive pressures of the conduits that they carry, or that they are placed in. Corrosion can gradually turn into leaks and require even further intervention to restore normal productivity.

Valve Degradation

Valve Support along the Value Chain

A reliable supplier provides their client with critical value-added support all along the value chain of their pipe system solutions. When it comes to valves, involvement starts from the very early stages of design to ensure that valve selection meets strict fit-for-purpose considerations, relevant international standards, as well as considerations that may be unique to the situation at hand.

After a sale, a reliable supplier can be trusted to ensure oversight of the proper installation and inspection of the valves or to use its own experienced and qualified staff to conduct difficult installations or delicate calibrations.

The next phase, also influenced by experience, can allow a supplier to contribute field experience regarding the need for protection, coating, or insulation of the valves and key components and junctions within the piping system.

Guidelines and training for safe operation and optimized usage are also key elements in the collaboration between a distributor and its client, and the relevant suppliers and inspectors throughout the supply chain.

Finally, regular service and qualified repairs or repairs are conducted as needed, and analysis and reporting among parties is completed.

Collaboration at the Core

Stakeholder collaboration is needed across the board to combine the resources required to build and power our world. Supplying pipes, valves, and critical pipe system components is an integral function within a complex value chain. 

Overseeing this collaboration is a framework of guidelines and standards governing every aspect of product design through to final installation, testing, and subsequent maintenance.

Among the most common standards used for valves are: ISO, CSA, ASME, ANSI, ASTM International, TAT, UL/FM, and API. However, collaboration remains key among manufacturers, designers, consultants, contractors, clients, and logistics providers to leverage modern technologies to create safer operations, better efficiencies, and more robust supply chains for critical functions.

Contact Gerab to speak to an expert and learn more about our pipes and fitting products and services.