Reducing Descale System Maintenance and Energy Costs with Integral Header Prefill

System performance and efficiency are vital to every steel plant manager and system designer. That’s why it’s essential to reduce descale system maintenance and cut energy costs wherever possible.

Steel producers typically use one of the following three options to perform header prefill on their descale systems.

  1. Continuous prefill via a small diameter bypass line
  2. Continuous prefill via a multi-stage pressure reducing orifice
  3. On/off prefill using a prefill control valve in conjunction with a multi- stage pressure reducing orifice

While all three of these options will perform the prefill, each has its own unique set of drawbacks:

Option 1 is a very low initial cost option, which is why it appears as an attractive choice at first glance.  However, it wears quickly and requires frequent replacement.  Additionally, since there is no control valve to stop flow when it's not required between the bars, the continuous flow can lead to unnecessary energy costs and unwanted cooling.

Option 2 has an increased initial cost, delivering a significantly longer service life with little or no maintenance requirements compared to option 1. Unfortunately, this option is subject to the same unnecessary energy costs and unwanted cooling potential since there is no control valve to stop the flow.

Option 3 is the best of the three options, leading to greater energy savings and control of the prefill flow. However, this option is susceptible to reliability problems and periodic maintenance requirements. This is because pilot valve sticking can easily occur as a result of dirty contaminated descale water and pneumatic systems.

The problem here is that no matter which option you choose, you’re still dealing with dirty descale water. Internal dirt and moisture can lead to failure of pneumatic pilot valves – which can kill a system. If you choose one of the above options, you can expect:

  • Costly downtime
  • Increased maintenance costs
  • Burst pipes or equipment damage
  • Long term ROI losses

A Better Option

In order to help steel producers everywhere, Hunt Valve has developed new valve technologies to address the industry pain points of low durability, frequent maintenance and valve sticking problems. Our new descale valve designs, including our Proportional Poppet Valve and Mega-Flo C Plunger Valve, feature integral header prefill, ceramic internal trim and electromechanical actuation.

This new valve technology was developed to address the common reliability issues that are associated with the other descale systems on the market, delivering significant improvements in reliability, durability and product quality for steel producers worldwide. The valves:

  • Reduce the maintenance and reliability concerns of operating an external high-pressure solenoid-operated prefill control valve
  • Provide the necessary header prefill to eliminate water hammer and any resulting header damage
  • Mitigate the safety, maintenance, and reliability issues of operating a low-pressure prefill system

By offering this new descale technology in both poppet and hollow plunger technologies, our solutions can be custom-fit to address header prefill and any other descale issues that are associated with your specific system. Both new valve technologies feature standard integral header prefill technology, eliminating the need for an external prefill control valve and pressure reducing orifice.

With Hunt Valve’s new technology, you can essentially eliminate two valves from your system for each descale station along with the spare parts and valves required to support the installation. In a typical descale syMega-Flo-C-Imagestem this would eliminate approximately 18 valves from the system (6 descale pilot valves and filters, + 6 header prefill pilot valves and filters + 6 pressure reducing orifices). It would also eliminate the supporting spares. Altogether, this offers a substantial cost savings for steel producers by making the switch to Hunt’s descale valve technology.
Reliability and maintenance issues that commonly plague traditional media piloted descale control valves are also eliminated with Hunt’s integral electromechanical actuators. Hunt’s new plunger and poppet style descale valve utilize electromechanical actuation in lieu of the high-maintenance media pilot valves. This provides precision stroke control and eliminates the sticking associated with the high-maintenance pilot control valves for both the header prefill valve and the main descale valve.

Hunt’s novel valve technology with integral header prefill delivers header prefill when needed, with proportional stroke control for reduced water hammer and positive shut-off at the end of the descale cycle.

With these advantages, Hunt’s valves offer durable designs that are made for the harsh temperatures and extreme operating conditions of the steel industry. By delivering maintenance-free operation and a product life that can outlast the competition, these valves are sure to improve the processes of your steel plant, all while minimizing costs so that you can maintain your bottom line.

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