Valve failure is a serious problem for process control facilities. These pieces of equipment can be vulnerable to many issues that may lead to malfunction and failure, necessitating industrial valve repair services. Often, the signs of valve failure and valve actuator failure are very similar. Yet, these are two separate issues that require different types of troubleshooting and repairs. Unfortunately, many don’t know how to tell the difference between valve and valve actuator failure. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the differences and what you need to know about repairing industrial valves and their actuators.
If you need valve service for repairs, modifications, or maintenance, contact our experts now to request a quote.
Signs You Need Industrial Valve Repair
All facility personnel should know the early warning signs of malfunctioning valves and actuators. This way, you can get industrial valve repair as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of unexpected downtime and safety hazards from valve failure. Catching issues before they cause complete disruption is a good way to prevent serious issues for your facility.
In some cases, there are no early warning signs that you need industrial automated valve repair. However, often there are symptoms of impending failure for valves and actuators. For instance, signs to get your industrial valves serviced include:
- Chattering – Valve chattering is essentially noises coming from the valves. This is often due to excess vibrations. In most cases, it’s due to incorrect installation of the valve and actuator. However, the extra vibration can eventually cause catastrophic damage to the valve and its internal components.
- Internal Leaks – Internal valve leaks exceed the maximum allowable leakage tolerance for the valve. Often, it’s because the valve is worn out, the positioner isn’t calibrated correctly, or the actuator isn’t set up correctly.
- External Leaks – External leaks are leaks you can see coming from the valve and can cause a serious issue with lost product as well as safety hazards for hazardous processing media. This is often due to excessive vibration, material incompatibility, or improper maintenance.
- Stiction – Stiction is a mix of the words “stick” and “friction.” This is where the valve sticks in place, causing the actuator to use extra force to open and close it. This can then lead to overshooting the position. Usually, this means the moving parts of the valve are starting to seize due to scale, material buildup, rust, or corrosion.
Naturally, other signs that your valves require industrial valve repair include if the valve is stuck in an open or shut position and won’t move. Many of these issues can be due to either valve or actuator failure.
Industrial Valve Repair: Is it the Valve or the Actuator?
If you notice issues with your valves, you may question whether the problem is with the valve or actuator and how you will know. Obviously, contacting our team for industrial valve repair is a simple way to diagnose the issue, as our team can check for both valve and actuator issues. Our sister company assists with valve actuator repair, so reaching out to us is an easy way to make sure your valves are repaired quickly and effectively.
It’s often very difficult to tell where the issue stems from: the valve or the actuator. One way to check is to remove the actuator and turn the valve stem by hand. If the valve operates normally, then it’s likely an issue with the actuator that needs repair. If not, then you probably need industrial valve repair.
Common Reasons You Need Industrial Valve Repair for Valve Failure
Issues with valves are relatively rare, as most of the time calls for valve failure are due to a failed actuator. However, valve failure certainly does happen, particularly with older valves or valves in severe service applications. Here are some common industrial valve issues to watch out for:
- Worn stem
- Seized packing
- Too much torque
- Failed seals
One key aspect of preventing valve failure is selecting the correct valve for the application in the first place. For instance, many of these issues are avoidable with a correctly sized valve with the correct temperature and pressure ratings for the process. Material incompatibility between the valve and the processing media is another common cause of premature valve failure that requires industrial valve repair.
Common Reasons You Need Valve Actuator Repair for Failed Actuators
If you need industrial automated valve repair for actuator failure, then there are several potential causes as well. Often, different types of actuators are vulnerable to different causes of failure. Just as a reminder, the most common types of actuators for industrial valves include electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic.
There are a few common reasons why actuators of any type may fail and need valve actuator repair. For instance, loss of the powering method for the actuator. For electric actuators this is electrical power. Pneumatic actuators use compressed air. Hydraulic actuators use hydraulic fluid.
Another common issue that can happen with any actuator is an issue with the connection between the actuator and the valve. Usually this is a worn or failed drive nut.
With electric actuators, generally there are a few specific issues they may experience that may have you calling for industrial valve repair. For instance, a damaged contactor, which is the internal electrical component that uses electrical input to move the valve.
Loss of voltage or incorrect voltage may also cause electric actuators to fail. Usually this is due to incorrect selection for the valve actuator.
Also, with electric actuators it may actually be motor failure causing the issue. Motors can malfunction for a variety of reasons, including excessive vibration, improper maintenance, incorrect lubrication, and many other issues.
With pneumatic actuators, issues with air quality in the line may cause a problem that leads to failure. For instance, there can be an issue if any moisture gets into the line. Another potential issue is if there’s debris in the air, which can cause obstructions and plug up solenoid ports.
Another potential issue is air leaks or worn seals for pneumatic actuators. This decompresses the air and makes the actuator not able to get enough air pressure to move the valve.
Hydraulic actuators also have some specific causes of failures to watch out for. These actuators use hydraulic fluid to function, which is compressed and the pressure is used for actuation. One issue is if the hydraulic fluid is too low, which makes the actuator fail.
Similarly, hydraulic fluid leaks from pinholes in tubing or through worn out seals can also cause issues for these actuators. This will deplete the hydraulic fluid.
Good Installation and Maintenance Help You Avoid Unnecessary Industrial Valve Repair Services
There are two important things you can do to avoid unnecessary failure for both valves and actuators. The first is to make sure you follow best practices for installation. Improper valve installation can cause serious issues, including leaks, excessive vibration, and other issues.
Additionally, ongoing maintenance through regular inspections and planned service can go a long way in preventing premature failure and unnecessary industrial valve repair costs. Maintenance increases service life, decreases total cost of ownership, and can make valves and actuators more reliable for your operations.
Fast, Cost-Effective Industrial Valve Repair Solutions from Southern Valve Service
If you need industrial valve repair, contact our team at Southern Valve Service. We offer years of experience providing top quality valve services, including repairs, maintenance, and modification. Trust our experts and sophisticated technologies to provide the exact service you need for your valves. Contact us now to get a quote for your industrial valve service needs.