Best Practices: Audit Your Pneumatic Equipment to Determine Any Gaps Between the Equipment’s Maximum Allowable Working Pressure Versus that of Your Instrument Air System.
Overpressure protection in a process is something that everyone pays attention to for obvious safety reasons; however, while the pressure vessels and associated piping are protected, the pneumatic actuators automating the process may not be protected from your instrument air pressure. This can lead to leakage, device failure, or more serious safety incidents.
Relief valves are a very good solution to protect any type of pneumatic equipment—such as control valves, isolation valves, level valves, and actuators. First, you need to know the maximum allowable working pressure for each actuator. While this information can likely be found in the manufacturer’s spec sheets, it may not be common knowledge. Furthermore, it may be quite difficult to match a serial number against construction documents or the manufacturer’s literature.
Here’s where Proconex comes in. We have the expertise and knowledge to quickly and thoroughly audit all your pneumatic equipment in your instrument air system and compare that with our database of maximum allowable working pressures. When compared with your compressor’s set pressure, we can determine the gap between your equipment’s maximum pressure and therefore where a relief valve might be needed, for redundancy and safety.
Our Pros recommend placing a small relief valve on each of the valves where a pressure gap exists to protect them in an overpressure event. If there’s already a relief device present, we will validate the set point.
Proconex is completing a two-stage audit for one of its larger clients, determining if and where there are gaps, and then correcting those gaps with an overpressure protection device. In some cases, an overpressure device may not be needed—the solution may be as easy as turning down their compressor air pressure, with no negative effect on the process.
Some Key Points to Consider as Part of Your Reliability Plan:
- Typically control and pneumatically actuated isolation valves do not have relief devices on instrument air systems because they have a regulator regulating the instrument air. But what happens if the air regulator fails?
- When ordering an actuator or valve assembly, clients need to make note of the maximum allowable working pressure and then add that information to their database.
- Manpower is a limited resource and many customers do not have the time to conduct an audit, nor match construction drawings to equipment models.
- Proconex has unique and deep knowledge in this area. We also keep spare parts available and accessible via our Emerson relationships.
At Proconex, we have the know-how, experience, and dedication to customers to address any outage requirement. To speak to one of our ‘Pros’, click here.
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