Archive: Mar 2021

Effective Check Valve Selection and Placement for Industrial Piping Systems

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When planning a check valve installation, the primary goal is to achieve a valve and piping system that offers the longest service life at the lowest cost. Accomplishing this goal while also ensuring that the system operates effectively and efficiently requires several considerations.

As a world-class manufacturer of high-quality check and control valves, DFT® understands the challenges of choosing the optimal valve for a piping system. To facilitate the selection process for our customers, we put together the following guide outlining how to choose and implement the right valve.

Valves in Industrial Piping Sytem

Principles of Piping Design

In general, optimal piping system designs follow three basic principles:

  1. There must be a 5-10x nominal pipe size (NPS) of straight pipe on either side of the valve, i.e., both the upstream and the downstream sides of the valve.
  2. The minimum pressure to open a check valve is referred to as the cracking pressure. However, to fully operate a valve, the system requires twice the differential pressure.
  3. While many styles of check valves will work in horizontal piping, only axial flow (“silent”) check valves are suitable for use in vertical piping. Whenever possible, a horizontal line is preferred since it rules out gravity, but vertical piping must be considered for flows that require up or down transport.

Common Piping Design Mistakes

Following the above principles facilitates the proper configuration of check valves in a piping system with minimal need for maintenance and maximum reliability. However, many industry professionals may find it challenging to navigate the nuances of pipeline design. Some of the most common mistakes made when designing a pipeline involve:

Valve Location

As mentioned in Principle #1, valves should have enough clearance—i.e., straight pipe—on either side from other pipeline components, such as pumps, elbows, expansion joints, and other valves, to function properly. When positioned upstream, these components can cause turbulence, which affects the performance of the check valve and can cause increased wear and, consequently, failure. The same can be said of other types of valves, such as ball valves and control valves; they perform best when the media flow is laminar, not turbulent.

Axial flow check valves can be installed close to the inlet of an isolating value if it is full port and fully open.

Flow Conditions

As outlined in Principle #2, there must be enough pressure to keep the valve fully open under minimum, normal, and maximum flow conditions. It is not enough to match the valve size to the pipe; it is necessary to do the sizing calculations to pick the right sized valve for the given flow conditions.

Vertical Pipe Runs

Avoid using swing check valves in vertical pipes. The downward flow keeps the valve open, and the upward flow leads to water hammer from the disc slamming against the seating. As specified by Principle #3, use only axial flow check valves in vertical pipes. The strong spring of the axial flow check valve avoids water hammer by ensuring that the valve closes before the reverse flow happens.

Choosing the Best Check Valve for Your Application

There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing a valve for a piping system. These selection considerations include:

Valve Location

As required by Principles 1 & 3 above, the location of a valve is important; horizontal piping is preferred for all valves except axial flow check valves, and there must be sufficient straight piping on either side of the valve.

Valve Size

Check valves remain open only when there is sufficient pressure in the line. Therefore, the pressure available with minimum flow must be considered along with maximum and normal flow conditions while selecting the valve. This is the requirement per Principle #2 above.

Valve Material

When choosing a valve material, the main focus is on choosing one that is compatible with the characteristics of the piping and requirements of the application (i.e., temperature, pressure, corrosion resistance, etc.). This generally results in the body material of the valve matching the flange material of the pipe. For example, a carbon steel line typically features a carbon steel valve body. Carbon steel is the most commonly employed valve material, with cast iron and stainless steel following close behind.

Types of Valves Used in Industrial Piping

Valves find use in a variety of industrial piping system applications. Typical applications include:

  • Preventing reverse flow (check valves)
  • Managing the flow of process fluids, including concentrated acids and bases
  • Redirecting flow from one line to another
  • Restricting flow for system balancing purposes
  • Controlling cooling rates to regulate temperature
  • Stopping flow during a system failure

Industry professionals employ a wide range of valves to fulfill the above functions, depending on the requirements and restrictions of their unique application. Some of the most common valve types used are:

  • Check valves have a disc, stem, or a similar moving part that closes if the flow reverses or stops.
  • Ball valves are the most common type of valve and feature a ball with a round hole in the center. When aligned with the pipe, the valve is ON. When turned 90°, it is OFF.
  • Diaphragm valves are used for precise flow control, especially when the media contains solids.
  • Flanged valves use bolts to secure the connection and a gasket to seal the joint.
  • Gate valves turn flow ON and OFF with a vertical disc that moves up and down.
  • Globe valves regulate flow with a disk that moves relative to a stationary ring seat.
  • Needle valves are similar to a globe valve, but they use a tapered plug for finer flow control.
  • Relief valves are safety valves that prevent excessive pressure buildup in the system.
  • Wafer valves in general have a smaller footprint in the system.

In addition to the valves listed above, there are many other types available, each of which is suitable for varying industrial applications.

If you need a valve for your pipeline, DFT®, Inc. delivers. With over 75 years of experience manufacturing high-quality check valves and control valves, we can provide you with a valve solution that meets your needs. Check out our product page to find out about our valve offerings or contact us today with your questions or project specifications.

How to Select the Right Control Valve

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Control valves play a vital role in ensuring the efficiency of a fluid system. It is important to choose the one you use carefully. Otherwise, it may not operate or perform as expected, resulting in decreased process efficiency and/or system damage.

There are many factors to consider when selecting a control valve for a fluid system, such as versatility, flow control stability, connectivity, and maintenance requirements. Below, we highlight how these control elements work and what selection considerations to keep in mind.

How Does a Control Valve Work?

Control valves regulate the flow of fluid through a system by restricting or expanding the fluid passageway. This function alters the volume of fluid that passes through the system within a given time frame (i.e., the flow rate) and the pressure of the fluid.

A rising stem valve is one type of control valve. In this valve design, the valve stem raises and lowers the valve trim package to increase or decrease the size of the passageway, resulting in steady flow, increased flow, or decreased flow. This adjustment is made whenever the targeted process parameter is not at the right value.

Key Control Valve Selection Considerations

There are many types of control valves available, each of which can come in numerous designs, configurations, and sizes. This broad selection can make it difficult to choose which one is right for a given fluid system, but knowing what parameters are important can help facilitate the selection process. Some of the key control valve selection considerations include:

  • Is the fluid a liquid, gas, or steam? Is it inert or reactive?
  • Pressure rating. What are the standard and maximum pressure levels to which the valve will be exposed?
  • Temperature rating. What are the standard and maximum temperature levels to which the valve will be exposed?
  • Flow rate. What flow rate range should the valve be able to handle?
  • What is the flow coefficient (Cv)—the flow rate (GPM) for a pressure drop of 1 PSI across the flow passage—for the system? This value affects the size of the control valve needed.
  • Installation requirements. How should the system be configured? What are the piping size, upstream vs. downstream, and valve mounting requirements and restrictions?
  • Design. What type of valve is required? A straight through venturi, or globe valve? A standard service, medium service, or a severe service valve?
  • Industry/country standards. What industry and country standards are applicable? Key standards include American Petroleum Institute (API), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Canadian Registration Number (CRN), and Pressure Equipment Directive (PED).

Quality Control Valves From DFT®

For control valves you can trust in your most critical fluid system applications, turn to the experts at DFT®! We are a premier manufacturer of check and control valves. Our control valve selection includes:

DFT LSV-100-2021 silo-sm

  • HI-100®. HI-100® valves are severe service control valves with an in-line straight-thru venturi design. They are designed for use in harsh operating conditions, demonstrating smooth operation in high or low temperatures and/or with process fluids carrying suspended particles (e.g., slurries). They also have quick-change trim that allows for in-line replacement, interchangeable upstream and downstream seats, and wear bushings to extend service life and reduce operating costs.
  • Ultra-Trol®. Ultra-Trol® valves are abrasive service control valves that are designed for use in lined pipe systems requiring flanged end connections. Similar to the HI-100® line, they have an in-line through ported venturi flow shape and a contained spherical ball, which help ensure smooth and efficient operation in high or low temperatures and with slurries.
  • MSV-100®. MSV-100® valves are medium service control valves that are designed for use in flanged applications where bench repairs are common. They have a similar seat and internal design to HI-100® valves. They are suitable for on/off service or modulating control applications involving gas, liquid, or steam systems.
  • LSV-100®. LSV-100® valves are economical control valves designed for flanged applications. They have trims that can be replaced in the field through the bonnet. Suitable applications include on/off service and modulating control of gas, liquid, or steam systems.

For information about how to select the right control valve, contact us today. To learn more about our valve products, check out our catalog or request a quote.