5 factors that impression the lifespan of ball valves

The inherent design of ball valves makes them perfect for on/off control of a broad variety of media, however what exactly do you have got to anticipate in relation to service life? A quick Google search for “ball valve lifespan” turns up a blanket response of one hundred,000 cycles. If solely the actual answer was that straightforward.
The reality is that the lifespan of your ball valves is dependent upon a handful of things. Ball valves in high-cycle or high-pressure settings will want servicing or replacing more often than these with infrequent operations — and that’s earlier than factoring in any media-specific nuances.
You will see that nearly all of ball valve suppliers do set ensures for the life expectancy of their merchandise as a result of there are so much of factors to think about first. Here’s a more in-depth look at 5 that can impact the longevity of your ball valves.
1. Media

Ball valves are traditionally used for the on/off management of gases and liquids, together with water, oil, air and chemicals.
Media with suspended particulates that are abrasive in nature could cause the valve seals to fail prematurely. This can come in the form of a leak or, relying on the severity of the media characteristics, the ball valve operating torque may rise dramatically in the end causing actuation failure.

Use ball valves just for the on/off management of liquids or gases. Avoid abrasive media.
A three-piece ball valve features a main physique and two pipe connectors, which are threaded or welded to a pipe. The main body can be easily eliminated for cleaning or repairs with out eradicating the pipe connectors.
2. Materials

The right materials on your ball valve will rely upon the kind of liquid or fuel flowing by way of the valve. Some of the most common supplies used to fabricate ball valves include stainless steel, PVC, brass and bronze.
The materials of each the valve body and the seals have to be compatible with temperature and strain rankings, as nicely as the chemical make-up of the gasoline or liquid that may circulate via the valve.
Here’s a better have a glance at material choices:
Metals: Stainless metal, bronze and brass are highly durable and corrosion-resistant. Metal supplies are your finest option for high-temperature purposes.
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is a kind of plastic that gives extra flexibility than metallic valves. However, PVC just isn’t as sturdy as metallic options and isn’t designed for high temperatures (over 140°F) or high-pressure purposes. PVC ball valves tend to have shorter lifespans than other choices.
PTFE: Polytetrafluorethylene is used for many ball valve seals and is suitable with nearly all forms of media. This materials has a excessive melting point, but applications with very high temperatures ought to use steel or ceramic seals.
Elastomers: Elastomers corresponding to Viton and EPDM are additionally utilized in certain ball valve designs. When utilizing valves that embrace an elastomer, it could be very important ensure that the fabric used is compatible along with your application media.
One resource that is commonly used for figuring out chemical compatibility is the Cole-Parmer Chemical Compatibility Database. This is an efficient device for determining basic chemical compatibility between the valve components and the appliance media.
Where the supplies come from is simply as essential. Some resellers might source ball valves from producers around the world, so there may be all the time the possibility of design inconsistencies or functionality issues. Valves from home manufacturers usually provide extra dependable and long-lasting merchandise.

Plastic ball valves are economical however should not be utilized in high-temperature settings and tend to have shorter lifespans compared to steel choices. Pressurized gases should be used with metal valves for maximum security. It is necessary to ensure that both the valve physique and seal supplies are protected to be used with the media that will be flowing by way of the valve.
Ball valve manufacturing elements

three. Temperature & strain ratings

When figuring out suitability, it is necessary to contemplate both the valve media strain and temperature, generally referred to as pressure/temperature score. In general, because the media stress increases, the media temperature must decrease, and vise versa.
The pressure/temperature score will affect the correct materials, valve design and valve seal supplies that ought to be used. This, mixed with cycle frequency, are all elements which have a big affect on the lifespan of a ball valve. A ball valve used in an software that’s near the pressure/temperature ranking may final years if the valve is cycled (turned on or off) infrequently. The same valve in the same software may have frequent substitute if the valve is cycled typically.

The closer your specific valve media is to the higher limits of the valve pressure/temperature rating, the less cycles (on/off) the ball valve will yield. If you still have questions, attain out to the ball valve manufacturer for advice.
four. Actuation

There is more than one method to power a ball valve. Manual ball valves are managed by turning a lever or handle on prime of the valve. Since these valves should be powered by an operator, they don’t appear to be the proper selection for high-cycle purposes or for valves positioned in hard-to-reach places.
Actuated ball valves may be automated and controlled remotely by way of the addition of an influence source. You will likely see the following options:
Pneumatic actuated ball valves are used in environments with entry to compressed air. They present quick cycle instances and excessive sturdiness.
Electric actuated ball valves ought to be utilized in functions that require low cycle speeds or these with no entry to compressed air. The slower index instances can help forestall water hammer in high-pressure purposes. You may additionally see these known as “motorized ball valves.”

Hydraulic actuated ball valves operate on comparable ideas as pneumatics but supply extra torque output. These are sometimes dearer than different actuator choices and may require extra components for proper functioning.

Although pneumatic actuators are essentially the most sturdy options, in most purposes all actuator varieties (pneumatic, electric, hydraulic) will long outlast the ball valve they operate. Regardless of the actuator that is chosen, it will probably last the lifespan of multiple valves.
Electric actuated ball valves, also called motorized ball valves or rotary ball valves, are the most well-liked alternative for ball valve automation. These products use an electrical motor to operate the ball valve and management the flow of media.
5. Maintenance

With an actuated ball valve, the valve seals are almost at all times the first part to fail, often within the form of a leak either from the stem seal or seats noted by downstream leakage when the valve is in the off position. For this reason, it is common to attempt to restore the valve by changing the soft seals.
If you may be planning to maintain the valve in your application, you will need to choose a valve that is designed for serviceability, similar to a three-piece ball valve. These valves are designed so that the center section and seals of the valve may be easily and safely replaced. One-piece and two-piece ball valves aren’t designed to be taken aside and must be changed quite than repaired. The excellent news is that the replacement ball valve cost is a small share of the overall cost of the actuated ball valve assembly. Depending on the model and quality of the actuator, one actuator will host several ball valves before needing alternative.

An actuator will usually last the lifespan of multiple ball valves, so you must anticipate to exchange the ball valve more regularly than the actuator. In functions the place the valve might be subjected to extreme wear and tear, a three-piece ball valve should be thought-about to permit for serviceability of the valve.
Ultimately, wear and pressure gauge octa are anticipated irrespective of the media or application. But with correct set up and the proper materials development, you possibly can maximize the time your ball valves spend in service and, in flip, get the most bang on your buck.
George Packard is VP of marketing at Gemini Valve. Hemanages the creation of digital marketing mediums to facilitate the most effective consumer experience with the company’s services and products. With earlier experience in gross sales, Packard mentors company customer assist representatives and is concerned in product gross sales, assist and post-sales follow up.
Gemini Valve



Scroll to Top