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A Beginner’s Guide to Maintaining a Pressure Reducing Valve
In the complex web of industrial operations, pressure reducing valves (PRVs) play a critical role in regulating fluid flow and maintaining system integrity. These valves are tasked with reducing high inlet pressures to a lower, manageable outlet pressure, ensuring smooth and efficient operation of various processes and equipment. However, like any mechanical component, PRVs require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance, reliability, and safety. In this guide, we delve into the top things to check when maintaining a pressure reducing valve.

1. Checking the Pilot System 

The pilot system of a PRV is responsible for sensing outlet pressure and modulating the valve to maintain the desired setpoint. During maintenance, inspect the pilot system for any cracks and leaks which can reduce the effectiveness of the valve. It is also critical to ensure that no air has been collected in the pilot system, as this may result in instability and erroneous readings. If air is present inside the system, you will need to release the bleed valve or the plug.

2. Checking for Build-Up and Plugging

Over time, PRVs can accumulate sediment, scale, or debris from the fluid being processed, leading to build-up and potential plugging of internal passages and components. If unaddressed, excessive build-up often leads to valve failure. During maintenance, disassemble the valve and inspect all internal parts, including the main valve body, seat, and orifices, for signs of build-up or plugging. Clean any deposits using appropriate solvents, brushes, or tools, ensuring unobstructed flow paths and smooth operation of the valve.

3. Checking Main and Pilot Diaphragms 

The diaphragms in both the main valve and pilot assembly are critical components that translate pressure signals into mechanical movement, regulating flow through the valve. Inspect these diaphragms for signs of wear, tearing, or degradation, which can compromise their sealing integrity and responsiveness. Replace any damaged diaphragms with compatible replacements, ensuring proper sizing and alignment to maintain accurate pressure control.

4. Performing Pilot Checks 

For the most part, pilots can typically work optimally for years. However, certain things may cause false readings and delayed behavior that ends up affecting the system. Conduct comprehensive checks of the pilot assembly to verify its functionality and performance. Test the response of the pilot system to changes in outlet pressure by adjusting the pressure settings and observing the valve’s reaction. Ensure that the valve modulates smoothly and accurately, maintaining stable outlet pressure within the desired range. Perform calibration adjustments as necessary to fine-tune the pilot control parameters and optimize valve performance.

5. Inspecting Ball Valves 

Many pressure reducing valves incorporate ball valves to isolate the main valve from the system during maintenance or shutdowns. Inspect these ball valves for signs of leakage, corrosion, or mechanical wear, paying attention to the seals, stems, and actuation mechanisms. Lubricate moving parts and replace any worn or damaged components to prevent leaks and ensure reliable operation of the isolation valves.

Conclusion

Effective maintenance of pressure reducing valves is essential for ensuring the efficiency, reliability, and safety of industrial processes. By systematically checking key components such as the pilot system, build-up and plugging, diaphragms, pilot assembly, and ball valves, operators can identify and address potential issues before they escalate into costly failures or operational disruptions. Regular maintenance not only prolongs the lifespan of PRVs but also enhances system performance and productivity, contributing to the overall success of industrial operations. Remember, proactive maintenance is the key to unlocking the full potential of pressure reducing valves and maintaining peak operational efficiency. A leading industrial product supplier with over three decades of experience, Techmatic offers a broad range of items, including steam trap systems, filter strainers, pressure reducing valves, and pressure regulator valves in Singapore. Contact us for more information.