Industrial Valve Service: Magnetic Particle Inspection

Valves that need industrial valve service
Magnetic particle inspection is an industrial valve service that tests valve integrity.

Keeping valves in good condition is essential for reducing costs, downtime, and safety hazards. One industrial valve service that can prove incredibly beneficial for processing operations is testing. Valve testing allows experts to ascertain whether valves are in peak condition or whether they need repairs, replacement, or reconditioning for continued service. Magnetic particle inspection is an industrial valve testing method that works well for many applications. In this article, we’ll discuss things you need to know about magnetic particle inspection for valve testing. 

If you need valve testing, repair, or modification, contact our experts now to get a quote.

Industrial Valve Service: Why Get Valves Tested

There are several reasons you may need valve testing. This type of industrial valve service allows you to determine whether a valve is fit for continued service. Regular testing is a critical part of a thorough and well-designed valve maintenance program. Ongoing testing at regular intervals allows you to identify potential issues so that you can schedule repairs as necessary or plan for replacements ahead of time. This helps avoid the necessity of unplanned shutdowns and emergency repairs for malfunctioning valves. 

Another reason you may need valve testing is if you need industrial automated valve repair. If there’s noticeable malfunctions, decreases in performance, or failures, then testing can help identify the affected component as well as the issue causing the problem with your valves. Through thorough testing, our valve experts can find the issue and create an action plan for quick, long-lasting repairs or recommend another solution such as replacement. 

Industrial Valve Service for Magnetic Particle Inspection

Now you know why valve testing industrial valve services are essential, let’s talk about one really popular testing method: magnetic particle inspection (MPI). Also known as magnetic particle testing and magnetic particle examination, this is a method for inspecting the surface and subsurface of various valve components. There are several things to know about this valve testing method and when it may be beneficial to get MPI for industrial valves. 

What is Magnetic Particle Inspection Industrial Valve Service?

Magnetic particle inspection is an industrial valve service that tests the surface and subsurface of several different materials which may make up the parts of an industrial valve. It is a type of non-destructive testing, meaning the method allows you to test for faults, damages, and failures without causing damage to the original part in the process. Basically, magnetic particle testing allows us to examine various valve components without causing or worsening damage. 

Magnetic particle inspection doesn’t work on every valve component. In fact, it’s limited to certain types of materials, which is important to understand as it relates to your valves. MPI works only on ferromagnetic materials. Ferromagnetic means materials that are susceptible to being magnetized. Ferromagnetic materials include iron, cobalt, nickel, and some of their alloys. For example, steel is a popular iron alloy that is also ferromagnetic. As such, this valve testing method does not work on every valve or even every valve component. 

How Does Magnetic Particle Inspection Work?

Magnetic particle inspection industrial valve service starts with a good cleaning, sometimes including removing thick paint or coatings that hinder testing accuracy. The next step is to then magnetize the testing material and cover the surface in a magnetic powder or ink. Then, the MPI equipment runs a magnetic field one way through the surface. If the magnetic powder or ink moves in an unexpected way during the test, this means there is a discontinuity in the surface or just under the surface. The testing must then be repeated in a second direction perpendicularly to the first for proper testing. Once finished, the component is cleaned thoroughly and demagnetized. 

What Can Magnetic Particle Inspection Detect for Industrial Valves?

MPI allows the tester to identify faults, defects, and damages in the surface or just below the surface of testable materials. This industrial valve service allows us to look for discontinuities in the material. Essentially, this means that this testing method can look for breaks in the surface or it can look for things like cracks, pores, and cold lap (a type of welding defect) underneath the surface of the component. As such, it allows us to identify issues that can’t be seen during a visual surface inspection. 

Pros and Cons of Magnetic Particle Inspection Industrial Valve Service

Like with any industrial valve service, magnetic particle inspection comes with pros and cons to consider. It may be the perfect solution for some processes while it may be pointless or impractical for others. It’s critical to assess the pros and cons to make a decision about whether to include MPI services for your valve maintenance program. Here are some of the pros and cons of magnetic particle inspection for industrial valves:

Pros of MPI

Magnetic particle inspection is popular for industrial valves for many reasons, including:

  • It’s a non-destructive testing method
  • It’s low cost
  • It works on a variety of materials commonly found in valve components
  • It’s fast
  • It does not require a strict pre- and post-cleaning protocol
  • It can look at issues in the surface and subsurface
  • MPI can work through thin coatings and paint layers

Cons of MPI

Of course, magnetic particle testing also comes with some disadvantages to note. Some include:

  • It only works on certain materials and won’t work for aluminum or stainless steel components 
  • Testers must complete two readings in different directions for accuracy
  • It only works through coatings that are 0.005” thick or less
  • Sometimes removing thicker paint or coatings is necessary for accurate readings
  • The process requires post-test demagnetization which can sometimes prove problematic

Industrial Automated Valve Repair, Testing, and Modification from Southern Valve Service

Choose Southern Valve Service for unmatched service for all your industrial valve needs. We offer comprehensive solutions for your industrial valves, including repairs, maintenance, and modification. Our team is dedicated to finding practical, cost-effective valve solutions to reduce total cost of ownership and reduce the risk of valve failure. In our nearly five decades in business, we have serviced nearly half a million valves for dozens of companies. Trust our advanced processes and technologies to provide you with reliable valve solutions, whether you need valve testing or valve actuator repair. Contact us now for a quote from our valve experts.