How Can We Reduce the Costs of Owning Pressure Relief Valves?

Process engineers must also take the total cost into account when evaluating the capital cost of spending on a new process or simply upgrading or replacing an item. How much the item will cost over its lifetime always requires balancing the initial purchase price with the intended performance and longevity of the product. This is no different from the everyday decisions we make when purchasing anything, from household goods to the family car.

In industrial processes that are frequently exposed to various pressures, pressure relief is often managed through the use of Pressure Relief Valves (PRV). The use of these devices is preferred to ensure the safe operation of processes, as they offer a re-closing function after incidental overpressure is applied.

However, the total cost of the Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) itself depends on performance, construction materials, size, ratings, etc. It is influenced by numerous factors including but not limited to initial purchase cost. There are other ongoing costs to take into account. Among these; There is leakage cost (all valves leak to some degree), maintenance cost, spare parts, downtime and testing. Costs are measured according to the value of the product actually lost due to leakage, the potential cost or hazard factor resulting from the leakage, the fines and penalties imposed by environmental agencies as a result, and finally the failure of the Pressure Relief Valves to meet the need and actually relieve pressure in a critical situation.

Increasingly, those operating processes and plants are becoming aware of a solution that can help reduce these costs and increase valve performance: isolating the Safety Valve from the process with a Rupture Disc. The PRV isolation concept was developed by industry-leading rupture disc manufacturer Zook.

It not only makes good engineering sense, but also makes economic sense.

In a demanding chemical application where a Stainless Steel Relief Valve or even one made of Monel or Hastelloy would often be required, significant cost savings can be achieved by the use of an exotic alloy in a burst disc used to isolate the Pressure Relief Valve. This means a Pressure Relief Valve can be selected from a less expensive material such as Carbon Steel, ultimately allowing for significant cost savings and faster lead times.

Additionally, rupture discs completely eliminate leakage; there is no leakage or valve vibration when operating pressures approach the set pressure. The added benefit of this is less valve maintenance. If the rupture disc is not required for operation during the year, the valve shall be in the same condition as when installed. Valve maintenance is also greatly reduced as regular maintenance intervals can be extended and the total cost of ownership is reduced.

An added benefit is that Pressure Relief Valves can be tested on site without having to be disassembled for laboratory testing. All costs associated with removing a large valve from the top of a column can be avoided. Not only can this result in significant savings, but downtime can also be reduced.

Therefore, when considering the total cost of ownership, there will be significant initial and ongoing cost savings by combining a Pressure Relief Valve with a Rupture Disc. All costs associated with removing a large valve from the top of a column can be avoided. A winning formula. This combined use case is getting closer to becoming an industry norm. It is now considered good practice and industry adoption is spreading.

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