The weld-end ball valves found in many process-control applications can be a problem. For many years engineering firms have searched for valves with extended pipe ends. The issue: Rapid heat transfer from the welding process can damage valve seat and seal materials, if not properly handled.
In the past, the solution has been to take the valve apart; remove the seat and seal materials prior to welding; and reassemble the valve after the ends have been welded in line. When automated valves are installed, the entire valve assembly has to be removed. Integrity of the pretested automated package is voided. Worse, often, when reassembled, the components don’t work properly. It costs money to fix the problem, which leads to finger pointing, gnashing of teeth and a litany of accusations flung amongst the valves users, distributor and manufacturer.
So says Lumberton, N.C.-based Flo-Tite Valves & Controls, which further says the weld-in-place end connections for socket- and butt-weld 3-piece ball valves it has developed solve this problem, ending wasted time and money associated with taking valves and automation components apart to allow welding. The valves have extended end caps with heat sink rings with a series of radiator type grooves cast into the outside diameter of the valves. The increased surface area allows heat to dissipate during welding, protecting the valve seat materials from damage.
This allows soft-seated 3-piece ball valves to be welded into any piping system without disassembly or special welding procedures. Super-TEK high temperature body seals and Super-TEK TFM seats are standard, further minimizing any potential damage. In short, considering the number of ball valves that are welded-in-place in process control applications in the U.S. and around the world in any given year, and bearing in mind the potential cost savings associated with Flo-Tite’s solution, the company has been recognized with a 2012 Breakthrough Products award.