SVRP update 2: Unambiguous specifications will help drive actuator reliability

David Sear - 14 July 2016

Actuator expert Mr Ferruccio Pellinghelli joins the discussion on Safety Valve Reliability Prediction.

About the author

Mr David Sear
David Sear is Online Editor. He is contributing to articles, interviews and reports to KCI’s magazines and websites. David also works on videos for KCI Television.
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As you may have read in previous blogs, I’ve jumped into the deep end of a (to me!) very complex topic – safety valve reliability prediction. This was kick-started by a meeting with Henk Hinssen, who had been asked to review the reliability of emergency shutdown (ESD) valves in upstream applications.

Speaking to Henk and others I must admit I was often way out of my depth, as the subject under discussion can quickly shift from the theoretical to the practical and back again, and take in complex engineering topics.

However, that the subject at hand is an important one is all too clear. After all, in the event of a calamity, you as a plant owner would want to have 100% certainty that the ESD valves protecting your facilities will work perfectly.

So I am always pleased when other experts are willing to share their insights into this topic and help me to better understand what’s what.

Recently for example I spoke to Mr Ferruccio Pellinghelli, who is Engineering Senior Supervisor at Limitorque Fluid Power Systems in Italy.

He discussed actuator failures that he was aware of, identified some of the main causes of SVRP issues and touched on actuator designs that were possibly less suitable for certain applications.

At the end of the interview, he also gave some very practical advice to people looking to buy actuators for safety instrumented systems.

This seemed so sensible to me that I’d like to make sure as many people are aware of it via this blog.

For example, he stressed the importance of writing very clear and unambiguous technical specifications, which makes it much easier to properly review and compare quotations from multiple suppliers.

Also, he said it was necessary to plan meetings with both the actuator and the valve supplier, in order to be certain that all the points are clarified and clear to all parties.

Buyers should also be clear about the final testing of the complete assembly, he noted.

And last but by no means least, his final words concerned planning periodical visits to the suppliers to check their procedures and QA, etc, are necessary in order to maintain valid supplier qualifications.

This may sound self evident, but personally I think his advice makes good sense.

If you want to learn more about Mr Pellinghelli’s insights, then his complete article can be found in the July issue of Valve World. If you don’t have a copy, just drop me an e-mail and I will gladly forward a PDF version.


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