Power generation relies heavily on valves. The types of valves used in power plants are typically widely varied, as each one takes on a different role. In a conventional thermal power plant set-up, the valves used in power plants can include:
- Safety Valves and Safety Shut Off Valves
These valves used in power plants work to prevent over-pressuring, to keep people, the plant, and the environment safe.
- Shut Off Valves
Also known as isolation valves, these are usually ball valves, gate valves, and butterfly valves. They stop process media from moving to a location and help control its path.
- Control Valves
These valves control conditions within a power plant, like flow, pressure, temperature, and liquid. Many are ball or globe valves, allowing for throttling as well as shut-off.
All of these valves are frequently used. Many are frequently switched on and off, adding more stress to the system. To be thermally efficient, power plants are putting their valves through more pressure, heat, and usage.
When valves cannot stand up to the harsh conditions of power plants, they fail in numerous ways. Leaks, seat erosion, valve seizure, and shut-off failures are common issues that can present big problems.
To operate at peak capacity, a power plant relies on never-ending quality performance from every piece of equipment, all the way down to valves. Even the valves that are not used as frequently need to be working perfectly when the time calls for an emergency shut-off or similar action. While valves are small, their impact is huge. Any issues with a valve can lead to downtime, troubleshooting, the need for repair and replacement, and a whole lot of stress.
Valve replacement also adds up with other costs. Equipment has to be disassembled, then reassembled. There are costs for the staff and resources needed to manage your valve inventory control. And there may be a cost for the environmental impact of disposing of discarded valves. That is all on top of the added costs you face from personnel overtime and the revenue loss from the plant having to shut down even temporarily.