Industrial Valve Repair: Common Issues in Standard Valves

technicians conducting industrial valve repair
Recognize the most typical industrial valve repairs required for gate, globe, ball, and plug valves.

Like any mechanical component, industrial valves are subject to wear and tear, especially if they are used in a severe service capacity. Without timely industrial valve repair and maintenance, valves can fail and can lead to costly downtime, production losses, and even safety hazards.

Understanding the most common types of repairs for standard industrial valves is essential for proactive maintenance so you can minimize interruptions or unexpected downtime. For fast, experienced industrial valve repairs and maintenance, contact Southern Valve Service. Our team has the expertise to diagnose and fix valve problems efficiently.

Repair for Industrial Gate Valves

Gate valves are one of the most widely used types of industrial valves. Their primary function is to provide on/off flow control, meaning they are either fully open or fully closed. They work best for applications where minimal pressure drop is required. They are common in power generation, water treatment, oil and gas production, and other large-scale piping systems.

  • Seat Leakage: Over time, the seats within a gate valve can become worn or damaged. This leads to leakage even when the valve is in the closed position. Repairing or replacing the seat is one of the most common repairs to gate valves.
  • Stem Wear and Tear: The stem is the rod that connects the handwheel or actuator to the internal gate mechanism. Repetitive use can cause wear and tear on the stem. Repacking the stuffing box with fresh packing material or replacing the stem might be necessary.
  • Packing Leaks: The packing provides a seal around the stem to prevent leakage. As the packing wears down, leaks can develop. Tightening it or replacing the material typically resolves this issue.

Common Globe Valve Repairs

Globe valves are designed for precise flow regulation and throttling. They are widely used in industries like chemical processing and power plants where controlled flow rates are essential. Their internal design features a Z-shaped flow path which helps regulate flow more effectively. Repair for these valves can be more complex, as full disassembly of the valve is often necessary for internal repairs. 

  • Seat and Disk Wear: The disk and seat are the primary sealing elements within a globe valve. Constant contact with flowing media can lead to wear, erosion, or pitting on these components. Repair often involves resurfacing the seat and disk to restore a tight seal. In cases of severe damage, replacement may be needed.
  • Stem Damage: The stem of a globe valve can suffer from bending, scoring, or corrosion. Depending on the severity, the stem may need to be repaired or replaced entirely.
  • Packing Leaks: Like gate valves, globe valves use packing material to seal around the stem, and leaks can develop over time. Tightening the packing or replacing it can address this issue.
  • Bonnet Leaks: The bonnet of a globe valve houses the stem and other internal components. Gasket or seal failures between the bonnet and valve body can cause leaks. Repair may involve replacing the gasket or, in more severe cases, addressing damage to the sealing surfaces of the bonnet and body.

Essential Repair Work for Industrial Ball Valves

Ball valves are versatile and have quick shutoff capabilities. They feature a spherical ball with a bored center that rotates to open or close the valve. This design offers minimal pressure drop, so they are frequently used in oil and gas production and chemical processing. 

The design of ball valves can make internal repairs more complicated, so specialized tools and technical knowledge are usually needed for disassembly and repairs.

  • Seat Wear and Leakage: The seats in a ball valve provide the sealing surface against the ball. Over time, they can wear down, leading to internal leakage. In many cases, replacing the seats will restore proper sealing. In severe cases, the ball itself might need replacement if deeply scratched or damaged.
  • Stem Seal Leaks: The stem seal prevents leakage around the stem where it exits the valve body. Wear or degradation of the seal material can result in leakage. Adjusting the stem packing or replacing the seals typically resolves this.
  • Body Seal Leakage: Ball valves have body seals to prevent leaks between the body components. These seals can fail due to age, improper assembly, or corrosion. Replacement of the body seals is usually required.

Plug Valve Repair Needs

Plug valves are excellent for applications with slurries, viscous fluids, or where frequent flow changes are needed. They use a cylindrical or tapered plug with a flow passage that rotates a quarter-turn to open or close the valve. This design offers tight shutoff and minimizes dead space where fluids can become trapped.

  • Plug and Seat Wear: The plug and seat are the primary sealing surfaces in a plug valve and are subject to wear, especially in abrasive services. Resurfacing or repairing these components may be possible, but severe wear could necessitate replacement.
  • Lubrication Depletion: Lubricated plug valves rely on specialized lubricants to reduce friction and wear. Depleted lubricant can lead to difficult operation and increased wear on components. Regular inspection and re-lubrication might be needed on a regular basis.
  • Stem and Packing Adjustments: Like other valve types, plug valves utilize packing to seal around the stem. Adjustments or replacement of the packing material may be needed to address leaks.
  • Damaged Sleeves: Some plug valves have replaceable sleeves that line the valve body. These sleeves can become damaged by erosion or corrosion. Replacement of the sleeves may be the solution in this case.

Additional Factors Leading to Industrial Valve Repair

Regardless of the valve type, there are several broader factors that can impact how frequently your industrial valves need repairs. These include media type, operating conditions, and preventative maintenance. 

The fluid or gas passing through the valve plays a significant role. Corrosive chemicals, abrasive slurries, or high-temperature steam will accelerate wear and tear on valve components. In addition, high pressures, extreme temperatures, and rapid cycling can all put extra stress on valves. 

One of the best ways to prevent unexpected costly repairs is through proactive maintenance. Regular inspections, lubrication, and adjustments can catch problems early. Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule can significantly extend the valve’s service life.

Experienced, Efficient Repairs from Southern Valve Service

Understanding common valve problems and repair needs is essential for keeping your systems running smoothly. Regular maintenance and timely industrial valve repair is far more cost-effective than dealing with unexpected breakdowns. Southern Valve Service offers specialized industrial valve repair and modification services. Our team has the experience and resources to get your valves back in top condition. Contact us today to schedule industrial valve service.