Even a seemingly minor issue with a process control valve can lead to significant problems. Those problems, at best, might involve reduced output or inefficient performance. However, you always run the risk of costly downtime and repair costs. Faulty valve performance can also place the security and safety of your facility and staff at risk.
These are just some reasons why monitoring valve performance is critical to your operation.
Obtaining critical information regarding valve health and performance is vital to your success, but it can be challenging to determine the best way to accomplish that objective. One option is to outsource your valve diagnostics to a third party. But is this the best way to get the actionable information you need?
The Role of Diagnostics in Control Valve Performance
Valve controllers play a critical role in process performance – virtually no matter the specific process—unfortunately, the very nature of any ongoing process places valves and controllers under constant stress. Time and environment both result in wear and tear on equipment.
Without predictive diagnostics, process engineers cannot identify any potential issues that might arise. Even a minor unaddressed issue can lead to significant problems over time. And those problems inevitably lead to shutdowns and the need for costly repairs or replacements.
Automatic control loops make detecting issues very challenging, which can compound problems. The reason for this is that controllers are programmed to compensate for degradation. As the valve continues to fail, you cannot identify the phenomenon – unless you have a way to diagnose the valve in action. Ultimately, complete failure will come as a surprise once it occurs. By that point, you have complete process interruption.
In the time leading up to the valve’s failure, you have likely seen sub-par (and declining) performance, compromising process output and preventing you from achieving your established goals. The irony of this situation is that all of these results could easily be avoided, given a means of obtaining predictive data from valves and controllers. With the correct data, you can perform necessary maintenance on your terms, scheduling it so that processes are not interrupted unexpectedly.
Obtaining Data from Valve Controllers by Outsourcing
Assuming you are not content to wait for total failure to disrupt your processes – or to lose output when you don’t need to – you need a reliable means for obtaining valve performance data. In the past, you might have had to decommission a valve and send it out for testing. However, the drawbacks to this approach are virtually too numerous even to consider.
Another option is outsourcing your control valve diagnostics to a third-party testing company. Periodic valve inspection and testing can go a long way toward providing you with actionable information. However, the schedule upon which you bring in a third-party valve testing expert is critical to providing the data you need for planning.
Budgetary considerations are always at the forefront of your mind – as they should be. Third-party testing consultant fees can quickly increase if you frequently have them onsite. However, unless you schedule valve diagnostics testing frequently enough, you risk missing critical clues that can predict impending failure.
Consider, then, the option of purchasing your own valve diagnostics equipment.
Using Valve Profiler Equipment to Monitor In-House
The preferable alternative to outsourcing valve testing and diagnostics – at least for many organizations – is purchasing a valve Profiler system to obtain actionable information in-house.
SofTek Engineering produces industry-leading advanced control valve diagnostics equipment. We customize our systems and services specific to your needs, ensuring you get the capabilities you need – and that you have those capabilities whenever you need them.
Purchasing a Profiler or Profiler Mini system puts control squarely in your own hands. You can perform testing for troubleshooting anytime, obtaining actionable data in real-time and when needed. Our systems design is extremely rugged and versatile for the harshest environments.
Contact us now to learn more about our company and how we can help you obtain the critical control valve diagnostics you need.