9 Guidelines for Installing Valve Clusters
Valve manifolds add unparalleled efficiency to sanitary processors without giving up valuable floor space. Valve cluster solutions are not one-size-fits-all. A full understanding of the surrounding process and extensive planning are required to successfully execute a valve cluster installation.
These nine steps will help you understand the basics do’s and don’ts of installing valve clusters.
1. Ensure Installation Free from Stress on the Pipe System
- Secure the free end from expansion.
- Stress can come from load, misalignment or thermal expansion and can be induced both vertically and horizontally.
2. Do Not Apply a Load Directly on the Valve Body
- In installations with more levels the upper pipe must rest in an open support on the upper bridge allowing thermal expansion to move upwards.
- The lower pipe must be supported as to avoid the load tension from the vertical pipe causing stress.
3. Avoid Misalignment
- Apart from being properly supported, the area on which the valves rest must be straight and even to allow for thermal movement.
- The load from the cluster may not cause deflection of the frame. Pipe supports must be placed in intervals avoiding deflection.
4. Compensate for Thermal Expansion
- Avoid valve malfunction by compensating for thermal expansion.
- Keep pipes as short as possible. Long pipes present a potential risk of problems with thermal expansion.
- The cluster should be designed as compact as possible. The wide temperature range in the parallel lines in a valve group causes an uneven heat expansion from line to line.
- Distance pipes should be avoided in the cluster lines as this increases the pipe length and with the combination of hot and cold pipes the heat expansions can cause great forces on the individual valve body.
- If long pipes cannot be avoided, compensation must be introduced. U-bends are the simplest and most cost effective way to break the pipes into short lengths. They will absorb the thermal expansion.
- If space does not allow for u-bends, there are other options to compensate for thermal expansion. Talk to an integration expert to learn about other options.
5. Choose Supports that Allow for Thermal Expansion
- Use mostly loose pipe supports and place them in the direction of the longest pipe only (thermal direction). If supports are needed in the other direction (in order to eliminate loads from surrounding equipment), make these as supports which can slide on the frame.
- Ensure that the surrounding plant is prepared to absorb the thermal expansion from the cluster.
6. Allow for Welding Shrinkage
- Be aware of welding shrinkage.
7. All Legs of Frames Must Touch the Floor
- All legs must touch the floor at all times and the lock nuts must be tightened. This is to avoid possible deformation of valve cluster due to deflection caused by the frame not being properly supported.
8. Be Aware of Service Access
- In large valve groups service access after maximum every 4th row is recommended. The service access ways should be max 500 mm wide.
9. Avoid Block Filled Pipes
- When constructing a pipe system keep in mind that liquid cannot be compressed.
- Therefore, blocking the pipes should be avoided as constriction of liquid can cause malfunction of the valves. Likewise, increasing hydraulic pressure as a result of rise in temperature combined with block filled pipe can cause problems when not allowed for in the design. (above shows A=water/product)
Valve Skids are a great option for maximizing efficiency and minimizing downtime for your process. Each stage of the design, build and installation process is an important component to fully realizing the benefits in your process.
Rodem’s expertise can help ensure you the most efficient flow management, using as few components as possible and dealing effectively with key issues that include thermal cycling, cleanability, drainability and flow control.
The flexibility of the building process means you can bring even complex installations online quickly, saving time and avoiding lost revenue associated with production downtime. Read about one customer that obtained greater production in less time with a valve skid.
Contact your Rodem representative to learn more about valve skid design and installation.
**Special thanks to our manufacturing partner Alfa Laval for providing us with the above content!**