Kathrin Geisler details a new development for valve maintenance in the explosive hazardous environments of the oil and gas sector.
In the manufacturing industry, and even in the offshore/onshore sector of the oil and gas industry, an estimated 5 to 10% of all industrial valves leak. In general, valves are vulnerable to high temperatures, abrasive particles and corrosive chemicals in the industrial production process. Resulting damage can therefore lead to an unplanned production standstill – often with expensive consequences. With irregular or improper maintenance, undetected leaks can even result in serious implications such as personal injury, loss of raw materials, increased production costs or pollution/environmental damage. For this reason, valve inspection is an important part of the oil and gas industry’s maintenance process.
i.safe Mobile, a leading manufacturer of explosion-proof mobile devices and solutions, together with its partner Sen seven, has introduced the new Valve Sense mobile inspection system for hazardous environments. With the introduction of this valve inspection solution for Ex-areas, i.safe Mobile and Senseven are pioneers in the market.
Powerful new solution
Companies can now use this software and AI-based system in conjunction with i.safe Mobile’s 5G smartphone IS540.1 to monitor critical plant valves in international ex-zones. Valve Sense uses advanced sensor technology, based on the proven acoustic emission method, which can be applied software guided by the maintenance staff and without any training at all. Algorithms and artificial intelligence help analyse data and provide immediate results on the spot. Valve Sense assists in detecting valve leaks of gas, steam, water or air at an early stage and reacting promptly. The collected data is automatically stored by the system in a back office (cloud-based platform for managing all inspection data). The data is then available for further analyses and reports. With the combined expertise of both companies, Valve Sense meets the demanding requirements of customers in the oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical and other demanding industries in the hazardous area.
Through regular in-house valve maintenance with Valve Sense, companies have the option of only having to replace valves when they are really defective, i.e. functioning valves can continue to be used. A major advantage of this method is testing during the ongoing production process without wasting time and resources. This avoids production downtimes and saves costs and time. With conventional methods, processes must be interrupted for inspection to test the valves on an external test bench.
Kathrin Geisler is with i.safe Mobile.