Preventive maintenance for hazardous areas

Online Editor

Kathrin Geisler explores the future of smart leak detection in valves.

The inspection of valves is an important part of any industrial maintenance programme since the effects of leaking valves are often underestimated (5-10% of all valves in industrial plants leak). Undetected leaks caused by irregular or improper maintenance can have serious consequences, such as personal injury, or added cost owing to unplanned production downtime caused by contamination or environmental pollution.

Hazardous areas in industrial production often have harsh environmental conditions with high temperatures, corrosive chemicals, and abrasive particles. This can lead to damaged valves and unplanned machine downtimes. Thanks to regular in-house valve maintenance, companies only need to replace valves when they are defective; working valves are not replaced during standard inspections. Valve inspection can easily be carried out during the production process without having to test functionality on an external test bench. This avoids production downtime and saves considerable time and money.

A new generation of valve inspection

As part of modern condition monitoring programmes, companies need easy-to-use, digital inspection tools to check their systems quickly and independently and to share data with the team or management. With Valve Sense for Ex-zones, Mobile and their partner Senseven have transferred today’s digital capabilities to an intelligent valve leak detection system. The user-friendly kit simply connects acoustic emission sensors to Mobile’s 5G industrial smartphone IS540.1 and transforms it into an intelligent, mobile valve inspection system via the Senseven software.

The software guides the user through the inspection process and records the sensor data. Algorithms and artificial intelligence help to analyse the data and provide immediate results on site. With a Wi-Fi or network connection via a SIM card, all measurements are automatically synchronised with the proprietary Senseven back office, eliminating the need for data transfer via USB or card storage. The inspection data can then be utilised for further analysis and reporting and integrated into existing asset management systems.

Valve Sense requires neither training nor in-depth expertise to detect leaking valves. This allows companies to inspect their systems regularly and without interruption of the process, as well as detect leaks early and react immediately (no need to wait for the next maintenance cycle by external inspectors). Managing engineers no longer need to depend on expert knowledge and can use the product to increase the efficiency of their processes, avoid additional costs and reduce the safety risk for employees.

Kathrin Geisler is with Mobile.

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