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The rise of larger valves

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Are systems and valves getting bigger? Well, that depends on the industry. But in the refining, chemical/petrochemical, mining, and oil and gas sector, the answer is overwhelmingly yes.

Large valves mean more throughput. The drive for this is the ever-increasing demand for end products and industrial growth, especially with the push for battery-operated cars and plastics. Conversion of heavy oils is well suited for feedstocks that can be converted into plastics for seat belts, dashboards, etc. Meanwhile, there is not nearly enough lithium, nickel, cobalt or rare earths currently available for battery-operated vehicles.

In mining, long distance slurry pipelines for moving mineral concentrates over rugged terrain are often more economical than trucking or rail due to topography constraints and environmental concerns. To capitalise on these investments, pipe sizes are maximised. Many design considerations are needed for each valve component before simply enlarging a smaller size valve. Only a few manufacturers in the world are capable of these levels of equipment supply, both in terms of design capability and manufacturing facilities.

Definition of large valves

Many ball valve manufacturers in severe services consider 12 in. to be the point at which valves become designated as ‘large’. In 1999, a Houston-based valve manufacturer defined large valves as 10 in. and above. By 2007, 15% of the valves that the company manufactured were 14 in. and larger. Today, 24 to 36 in. valves are considered ‘large’. Future trends show a significant challenge of systems and valves becoming much larger and operating at the limits of pressure and temperature to increase plant productivity.

Definition of severe service

The Manufacturers Standardization Society (MSS) are currently addressing what makes an application a ‘severe service’. Industrial valve manufacturers often combine three or more of the following criteria...

Written by Michael Lemeshev, MOGAS Industries Inc.

This article was originally published in the December 2021 issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering magazine. To read the full article, sign in here or register for a free trial subscription.

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