Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Importance of Valves and Actuators in the Industry's Asset Management

The management of a plant's physical assets has a significant effect on its operational performance. These assets - components that are relevant to a plant's industrial processes, such as piping, vessels, process control technology instruments, actuators, and other equipment clearly need to be well maintained to maximize the plant's output.

Asset management is growing in importance. It has achieved the status of a science, enabling plants to achieve whole-life optimization. As a result, large numbers of people in the industry are currently developing guidelines for implementing systems.

Primarily, an asset management system comes under the jurisdiction of plant engineering, since it provides on-line information about the technical assessment of plant components. On-line plant asset management plays a vital role in determining maintenance intervals. In this context, the use of the term "online" refers to a system that is connected to a network. The objective is to preserve or enhance the plant's value through its maintenance.

The key benefit of effective asset management for the actuated valve end user is an economic one. The implementation of preventative maintenance as the main activity in the asset management program quickly translates into cost savings for the plant operator. This and many other benefits are facilitated and enhanced by the increased functionality inherent in modern intelligent electric valve actuation technologies.

The asset management program should be focused on two primary tasks.

1. The signaling of conditions that cause a failure in order to ensure that measures can be taken to prevent these situations in the future.

2. The supply of complex information relating to the maintenance requirement of a device to eliminate the static (predefined) maintenance intervals.

There are times that plants are switched off to maintain components which is called a maintenance period. The procedure is carried out regardless of whether there is a need for it - this is because the technician does not have reliable information available about the degree of wear of devices: actuators that open and close valves only twice a day are monitored in the same manner as products that operate valves dozens of times daily.

Automation is at the heart of a power plant's asset management and actuators play a key role in operating valves which are vital to the station's final control processes. Actuators are items that convert energy (like air or liquid) into motion (like ejecting, clamping or blocking) and used in a range of applications that are critical in optimizing the plant's efficiency.

The valve and actuator industry has embraced the needs of asset management as it is possible to monitor device-specific service conditions. Valves and actuators hold an important role in a plant's asset management which is much more than a buzz term for business. It offers real advantages to end users and, as such, the industry needs to embrace the science with practical solutions to aid plant processes.

Further evidence of the valve industry supporting asset management is the availability of mass customization where each product is commissioned and tested against an individual specification. Unique reference numbers are a further aid to asset management and tracking. The industry is embracing asset management to take data management beyond mere capture to analysis to achieve full plant control to pre-empt plant critical problems. A co-ordinated approach to the subject is emerging and disciplines, including compliance to defined schemes, are being implemented.

Since 1965, the team behind the ValveMan valve store has supplied valves, actuators and other instrumentation needs across several industries including Food and Beverage, Boilers, and Industrial Plumbing. For more information visit http://www.valveman.com or call 1-888-825-8800.

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