Petrochemical Valves: An Overview

Published July 18, 2022

petrochemical valve at a petrochemical plant

With the market for industrial valves due to be worth $125.59 billion by 2028, petrochemical valves are a cornerstone of the oil and gas industry.

You can find valves everywhere, from the transportation of petroleum products to the storage and control of hazardous chemicals. They might be small in their own right, but the work they do keeps an enormous industry on its feet. Each type of petrochemical valve has a specific purpose. But what are they, and how can you make them work for your plant? Read on, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

What are Petrochemical Valves?

A valve is a mechanical device used to control the flow of fluids in pipes. As you can imagine, that makes them a critical part of any industry moving fluids from point A to point B.

In the oil and gas industry, petrochemical valves can carry out the following vital functions:

  • Start or stop the flow of fluid through a pipeline
  • Modulate and control flow
  • Change the direction of the flow
  • Regulate pressure in a pipeline
  • Protect a pipeline from excess pressure

Whether you’re extracting oil in extreme weather conditions or refining it for use in a plant, those functions are always necessary. Without valves, the entire industry would grind to a halt.

Finding the Right Petrochemical Valve

Of course, not every valve can perform every function! Most valves are designed to serve a particular purpose within a plant environment. Let us refresh your memory on some of the most common valves you’ll see in a petrochemical plant.

Gate Valves

A gate valve is either open or closed – there’s no middle ground. This makes it an ideal valve for opening or closing a pipe to start or stop the flow of a fluid. A gate valve opens and shuts in a linear motion, and it needs to be tough enough to cut off a thick fluid like petroleum or oil. That’s why you can’t use a gate valve to throttle or regulate flow: it’s impossible for a gate valve to be partially open or shut.

Ball Valves

A ball valve opens and closes the flow of a fluid using a built-in ball. It serves the same purpose as a gate valve, while also being able to partially stop or start the flow. Ball valves are lighter and more compact than gate valves. They’re also known to be resistant to polluted fluids – a big help in refining and filtration.

Globe Valves

A globe valve can throttle or regulate the flow in a pipe. They’re commonly found in water cooling systems. However, they aren’t the first choice for thicker or more stubborn fluids. Because a globe valve forces fluid to pass through a non-linear passage, it can create a pressure drop in the pipeline.

Check Valves

A check valve works automatically to prevent damage to the pipeline apparatus further downstream. It’s a one-way valve that needs more pressure on the input side than the output side to open. If the pressure on the output side gets too high, or the pressure on the input side gets too low, the valve will close on its own.

This prevents backflows that can damage your plant’s pumps and compressors. For maintenance engineers in particular, this valve is here to help!

Butterfly Valves

Butterfly valves are rapidly becoming a competitor for ball valves, as they perform the same function at a lower cost. They’re versatile and compact, available in multiple shapes depending on the needs of your plant.

Safety Valves

Safety valves are used to safeguard pipelines from overpressure. They open automatically in response to a predetermined amount of pressure. Their purpose is to remove the excess pressure from the system as quickly and safely as possible. Safety valves are often used as a last resort in case electric or pneumatic safety mechanisms fail. Because overpressure can cause fires and even explosions, they’re a small but vital component of any plant.

Rotating Disc Valves

Our proprietary design was first developed in 1906, and it’s been working like a dream ever since. Every time our valve’s disc rotates, it polishes and restores its own metal surfaces. This means that the harder our valve works, the more efficient it becomes.

The self-lapping design of the rotating disc valve is resilient enough for most high-stress industrial applications. It’s self-cleaning, and it’s designed to avoid the erosion issues that typically affect other valves. It can replace gate valves, ball valves, and globe valves all around your plant.

Why Valves Matter

Petrochemical plants are famously harsh environments, demanding high pressures and high temperatures throughout. A leak in your plant can have dangerous consequences for your workers and your infrastructure, not to mention the environment.

Valves are on the front line of many crucial processes within a petrochemical plant. It stands to reason that they need to be built to last. Any failure to withstand the heat and pressure of a plant could result in damage to your plant’s reputation and financial bottom line.

That’s why finding the perfect valve for the job is critical. You need petrochemical valves that won’t break down, won’t leak when you least expect it, and won’t keep you awake at night worrying about the worst that could happen.

You need your valves to work. It’s as simple as that.

Valves That Wear In, Not Out

Our petrochemical valves are built to withstand anything. They’ve been tried and tested for decades by some of the biggest names in the petrochemical industry, and they get more efficient with every use, wearing in where other valves wear out. Some of our valves have been in continuous operation for 50 years!

If you want to introduce our reputation for durability and longevity to your plant, we’re ready and willing to work with you. Contact us today, and we’ll help you to make your plant the best it can be.

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