The Cost Savings of Upgrading to Ceramic Seated Poppet Valves

With the competitive nature of the steel industry, steel producers are always looking to improve upon the efficiency of their processes in order to stay above the competition. Plant managers must work hard to achieve higher levels of performance while mitigating the challenges that plague the industry.

For steel production, there are few problems as consistent and seemingly inevitable as the damage that headers, pumps, nozzles and piping face from water hammer. Without addressing the inherent issue of water hammer from a systematic level, steel producers will incur ever-increasing maintenance and replacement costs that can be a constant headache for their business.

The Cost of Water Hammer

Also known as hydraulic shock, water hammer is one of the biggest problems that actuators face in steel mill descale applications. Water hammer occurs when water inside a system is forced to stop and change directions suddenly, leading to a shock wave of force. That banging sound that you hear is from the shock wave forcing pipes to move about and strike against one another or against members of the system’s framing.
Persistent water hammer – which is frequent in the high-pressure piping systems of steel production – can lead to a number of issues, including:

  • Burst pipes
  • Pump and Valve damage
  • Header damage
  • Cracked welds

Along with the scrapped product that can result from header and nozzle damage, the frequent maintenance and part replacements required drives up cost for the end-user. Over the course of a couple of years, it’s not uncommon for the cost of spare parts of a standard metal seated poppet valve to literally be double or more that of the valve’s original price tag. That’s a total cost of ownership over three times that of your initial investment.

While reliability and maintenance issues can typically be caught and dealt with outside of operating hours, pilot valve sticking can happen at any time. If your pilot valves stick, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour of unscheduled downtime to change them out, not to mention the cost of any scrapped product. In the highly competitive market of the steel industry, this is something that simply can’t happen. Period.

Reliability – A Problem with Materials

Typical pilot valves are made from hardened stainless steel. These materials are more prone to damage and valve sticking, leading them to have a reduced product life of only a year or so. In the toughest high-pressure steel mill descale applications, these valves may only last around six months before you have to go in and replace them.

Ceramic Trim valves, on the other hand, are better suited for steel high-pressure water hydraulic applications, lasting an average of three or more times longer than their metal counterparts. Ceramic seating surfaces are naturally more durable and withstand higher fluid velocities and throttling, helping to prevent system wear from dirty descale water fluid flow. This optimizes the valve’s useful service life, adding significant value to the end-user.

The Power of Hunt’s Proportional Poppet Valve

In order to help steel producers stay competitive in their industry, the Hunt Valve team has designed the Ceramic Seated Proportional Poppet Valve for superior performance and reliability. Rated to operating pressures up to 400 bar, these advanced valves last three to five times longer than traditional poppet designs. We stand behind the reliability of these valves with a three-year product warranty.

It’s the Proportional Poppet Valve’s reliability and long product life that lead to significant cost savings for the end-user. Over the course of five years with a six-valve system, Hunt’s valves offer a total cost of ownership savings of up to 57%. By eliminating the harmful effects of water hammer and system shock, the Proportional Poppet Valve promotes safety in steel manufacturer’s plants and cuts their operating costs in half.

Click here to learn more about Hunt’s Proportional Poppet Valve and our descale system advantage.

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