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Identifying Pressure Regulator Failure Modes in Alberta Plants

by Thomas Webster, on Thu, May 12, 2022 @ 15:05 PM

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Pressure regulators play an integral role in industrial fluid systems—they control the amount of pressure going through systems. With equipment relying on precise fluid temperature, flow, and pressure settings to operate as intended, a failure mode of a pressure regulator can ultimately result in damage to systems and a complete shut-down of operations in Alberta plants. Further, replacing or maintaining equipment damaged by pressure occurring above or below the operating range can result in significant costs.

Preventing pressure regulator failure modes is in the best interest of Alberta plants. But what are the different causes of pressure regulator failure modes? And, how can we prevent pressure regulator failure? This article will answer these questions and discuss the importance of working with a well-respected and local distributor of high-quality pressure regulators such as Edmonton Valve & Fitting to meet your plant maintenance and development needs.

The Different Pressure Regulator Failure Modes

Pressure regulator equipment, including pressure regulator valves (or pressure-reducing valves), are critical in maintaining necessary process conditions. Pressure regulators are designed to control system pressure even when inlet pressure fluctuates. 

Here are a few common causes of pressure regulator failure:

Over-pressure

The release of excess fluid or gas into a system may result in a high level of pressure above the intended equipment operating level. This, in turn, may result in damage to the pressure regulator and may subsequently damage other equipment due to the heightened level of pressure.

Corrosion

Depending on the fluid or gas involved in the system, the material of the pressure regulator may become corroded. Therefore, it is important to know the potential chemical reactions between the materials of the pressure regulator and substances of related processes.

Wear and Tear

Over time, even good components in a well-designed system will become worn. Pressure regulators are no exception to this and, before failure, should be replaced within their service lifespan.

Design and Fabrication Defects

The design of the pressure regulator should provide a precise fit throughout the system. Ill-fitting equipment will result in leaks and a loss of pressure below operating standards. As such, it is imperative to have equipment with the required specifications that are well manufactured with significant quality control.

Contamination

Contaminants may also enter the system and cause havoc on the pressure regulator and their ability to control pressures within the system. These contaminants may include solid particles such as dirt but may also include gasses and liquids from external sources. Once inside the system, these contaminants may increase the risks of blockage and build-up of pressure. Some of the issues leading to system failure increase the likelihood of contaminants entering the system. For instance, wear and tear may provide locations for contaminants to enter the system. Further, fabrication or design defects may allow for pollutants to get into the system through seals that are not airtight. However, contaminants may also enter the system through new fluid or gas being added to the system that was already polluted.

Improper Material Specification

The material of pressure regulators have specific standards for pressure, temperature, and volume of gas or liquid flow. Choosing a material that does not meet design specifications risks pressure levels being outside of acceptable ranges. Improper material based on the substances used in the processes may also be at increased risk for corrosion and wear tear.

Embrittlement

Embrittlement involves the loss of ductility of a substance and is problematic as microfractures may begin to occur. These microfractures may result in the loss of fluids or gas, leading to issues with controlling pressure. There are several reasons why embrittlement may occur, including exposure to cold temperatures, aging, and absorption of hydrogen into the materials matrix. Embrittlement is particularly problematic when embrittled equipment undergoes significant stress, which could cause it to fracture.

Component Malfunction

Component malfunctions occur with damaged or poorly constructed equipment. These malfunctions may cause issues with measuring pressure and the subsequent pressure control.

The above pressure regulator failure modes can cause widespread damage within systems. However, there are several solutions to pressure regulator failure, including consulting an expert Field Advisor at Edmonton Valve & Fitting to help mitigate failure. Let’s look at a few solutions and general best practices to follow for your Alberta operations.

Solutions to Pressure Regulator Failure

There are several solutions to pressure regulator failure. Perhaps the best solution is to have a strong design for implementing a well-constructed pressure regulator initially. The design and installation of equipment need to follow standards for pressure, temperature, and flow rate. The equipment material needs to work with the substances being used to prevent reactions that could be corrosive, increase wear and tear, or chances of embrittlement. For both the design and the choice of equipment it is imperative to have an expert Field Advisor who can suggest the best options for long-term use.

Routine maintenance and system checks will also help combat pressure regulator failure. Checking for a drop or increase in pressure at any point in the process would potentially indicate the initial steps of a pressure regulator failure. By consulting with experts, the source of these pressure changes can easily be identified.

Finally, by rectifying potential issues early, bigger problems from suboptimal pressure issues will likely be diverted. In the long run, this proactive approach will result in significant savings and limit damage to components of the system.

Partner with Edmonton Valve & Fitting to Prevent Regulator Failure

Edmonton Valve & Fitting has the expert Field Advisors to help design, implement, maintain, and fix issues that arise from pressure regulator failure modes. Edmonton Valve & Fitting has been a long-standing local provider of pressure regulators to the Alberta area, which means that equipment can quickly be replaced in case of failure and problems quickly identified by their Field Advisors. Contact Edmonton Valve & Fitting today to help with all your pressure regulator needs.

To find out more about how Edmonton Valve & Fitting can help identify pressure regulator failure modes, contact us through our website or by calling 780-437-0640.
Topics:RegulatorsField Advisory Services

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