No one plans to fail. But we do often fail to plan.
So it goes, even in the world of industrial valve maintenance—and we’re talking specifically about high performance valves used in extreme or harsh conditions. Any failure of a single component in a hydraulic system can lead to a loss of productivity and threaten the safety of workers, the public and the environment.
A preventive maintenance program designed to keep all of those components in service can help mitigate those risks. What’s your organization’s approach?
Typically, a company that uses a hydraulic system to produce high-dollar goods will be more proactive in its philosophy than a company that produces low-value commodity goods. But, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that both would benefit from embracing a more proactive mindset.
Here are the three most common approaches to maintaining high-pressure water valves:
1. Run-to-Failure/Reactive Maintenance
This is the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. This is the most expensive method of maintaining a hydraulic valve.
Benefit: • You don’t spend any money on maintaining an industrial valve until it fails.
Disadvantages: • A great deal of money is spent when the valve fails, possibly at an inconvenient time. • Production is shut down until the valve can be repaired or replaced. • Repairs may require overtime costs. • Lost production is made up, which may also require overtime costs.
2. Preventive Maintenance
This method establishes time or condition intervals for performing a set list of tasks to prevent equipment from failing. For example, an OEM industrial valve manufacturer typically will establish guidelines for replacement or inspection of certain components such as seals, gaskets and packing. This established service interval might be every two years (time) or 5,000 cycles (condition), whichever comes first.
Benefits: • Industry data shows that performing maintenance on a scheduled basis is three to five times less expensive than the same repair being made on a reactive basis. • The end user dictates when the industrial valve will be taken out of service, as opposed to being caught by surprise when a valve fails. • Maintenance costs drop significantly. • Productivity increases. • Plant safety increases.
3. Predictive Maintenance
A relative newcomer to the plant-maintenance game, predictive maintenance uses a flow of information from a hydraulic system to help determine when maintenance procedures should happen. Sensors that monitor pressure, velocity, vibration, acoustics and temperature are incorporated into the hydraulic system to gain real-time data about how a high-pressure water valve’s components are functioning.
Benefit: • This program eliminates unnecessary scheduled maintenance and associated work interruptions.
Disadvantage: • This program is initially more costly than a preventive maintenance program.