LarsLap portable valve grinding machines – when time is of the essence

Valve regrinding in situ, without removal from the pipeline, minimises downtime.

With LarsLap portable valve grinding machines, in situ valve grinding is quick to set up. Once the operation is running, the technician can step back from the machine, checking in periodically to inspect the progress.

The early LarsLap systems were designed to meet the exacting requirements of the nuclear power industry. Here, the time that technicians can spend working on the plant is severely restricted, as exposure to radioactive radiation must be minimised. Excellent results have to be achieved in record time. At the same time, grinding dust needs to be prevented from entering the pipeline system.

While the nuclear industry has rigidly applied regulations for the amount of time that can be spent working on a valve, fast turnaround is something that benefits all industries. By addressing the safety concerns of the nuclear industry, the LarsLap system also helps boost productivity in maintenance work across a range of sectors.

Repairing leaking valves – essential for efficiency

Pipeline systems rely on valves for their efficiency. Leaking valves reduce system efficiency. A leaking valve can even be hazardous, for instance if the medium is pressurised, corrosive or very hot.

Leakage means lower efficiency and lost production. A failing valve may require emergency repair, causing unplanned downtime, even more lost production and severe impact on overall plant efficiency.

Timely maintenance extends the lifetime of valves. Valve seat damage that goes unchecked deteriorates over time. A scratch may develop into a crack or a deep eroded scar. Preventive maintenance is always better than emergency valve repair.

Most valves need to be checked annually. This means testing its operation as well as removing the bonnet to inspect the valve seat.

Valve wear depends on factors such as the frequency of operation, the flow in the pipeline, presence of particles in the flow, pipeline pressure and chemical composition of the medium.

When inspecting the valve seat, a portable valve lapping machine is frequently used to lightly grind the surface of the seat to remove sediment and oxidation, exposing the metal surface. If found to be needing maintenance, the grinding disc is switched to a different grade and the work continues from there.

Some companies have a structured programme where all valves in their system are logged. The condition is noted and followed up on an annual basis. This way, the work can be carried out more efficiently next time around.

Read more about valve maintenance here