Fluxo Soluções
 / September 2018

Exclusive zero leakage technology for pipelines

Per Kenny Gorman

US-based Valvtechnologies has been at the forefront of valve technology for severe applications in mining for more than 30 years, with supplies for all long-distance pipelines for transporting ore slurry worldwide, as well as for tailings transportation operations through pipelines. From the first valves supplied to a copper mining operation in Chile in the 1980s, to valves supplied more recently to an iron ore operation in Brazil, the company has always had the customer as its main focus. “We are extremely proud of our reputation and market position leading this segment,” says Valvtechnologies President Kevin Hunt. “Not only is our Abrasotech® valve the only product capable of offering true absolute zero leakage, we provide follow-up to each customer to ensure they receive the most suitable complete solution and lifetime technical assistance for their operation.” Through this focus on its clients' operations, Valvtechnologies has built a worldwide reputation for excellence and credibility.

Valvtechnologies' experience spans a wide range of ores, concentrates and tailings, including copper, iron, zinc, nickel and phosphates, in widely diverse environments, in extreme climates, high altitudes and remote locations. Kevin Hunt continues: “Each operation is unique and this needs to be reflected in the proposed valve designs so that the customer receives the most appropriate solution.” There are many operational factors considered by Valvtechnologies in each case – the properties and characteristics of each ore slurry, the effects arising from the change process (plasticity) in the ore body and the expectations of future production, to mention just a few.

The correct valve selection is a decisive factor for the success of a pipeline operation when transporting ore slurry. Wherever they are installed, every application has one thing in common – the demand for reliable 100% sealing, with zero leakage, whenever needed. To date, Valvtechnologies has supplied more than 7,500 Abrasotech® valves for pipelines worldwide. As Kenny Gorman, Global Industrial Director for Mining explains, “The unparalleled success of this valve is due to the unique design of its internal components, which are tailored specifically for each application to achieve maximum reliability and longer service life. In particular, our unique and patented integral seat design significantly improves valve effectiveness and wear resistance, eliminating the possibility of cracks or cracks, through which high pressure mineral slurry can pass through, causing corrosion."

Considering that choosing the correct valve is essential for the operation of the pipeline to be successful, choosing a valve of inferior quality can have a considerable negative impact, not only on valves and other pipeline equipment (pumps, piping, instruments, stations monitoring, etc.), but also in the operation of the pipeline system itself, with substantial risk of stoppages and corresponding losses in productivity. Valvtechnologies engineers participate in the design of the projects, from the beginning, and work in close collaboration with EPCists and mining companies, to ensure that all requirements are fully defined and clearly understood and that the package with the ideal solution can enter into production. In existing pipeline operations, they act as consultants, guiding and supporting improvement processes that increase efficiency, reduce costs and make it possible to achieve higher and higher targets.

Specifically, pump isolation is a critical application and valve reliability is more critical in this operation than in any other. The customer's operations and maintenance teams must have complete confidence that a secure seal, with zero leakage, has been obtained prior to the pump changeover routine, or any other intervention being carried out on the pumps. Likewise, the engineers in charge of maintenance must be guaranteed a safe environment for the execution of their activities.

Any leak in the pump isolation valves can jeopardize the integrity of the pumps and the safety of the personnel. Abrasotech®, from Valvtechnologies, with its integral seat design, is the only valve that can guarantee such a seal. In accordance with all current technical standards for testing metal/metal sealed ball valves (ANSI/FCI 70-2, ASME B16.34 & API 598), there are maximum allowable limits established for leaks during the acceptance test of factory.

Kenny Gorman points out that "if a valve leaks during the factory test, this situation can only worsen during its operation, since the valve will be submitted to the passage of pulp".

Valvtechnologies has criteria for acceptance in internal tests that exceed all existing technical standards and do not allow for "any visible leakage during the test." This equates to NBR ISO 5208 Rate (Rate) A, a criterion previously only met by soft seat valves. “The engineering and manufacturing time and precision required for the production of each of our valves ensure that we meet the strictest requirements of this standard” explains Gorman.

With a solid global network of technical and after-sales support, authorized service centers and local partners, Valvtechnologies is always ready for any assistance in the field.

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