The special topic of the first ever July issue of Valve World is severe service valves. As this is a new special topic for us editors we have been reading up on the term severe service. To my surprise I couldn’t find a definition for this term. Some companies explain on their website what it entails and some have even written on the topic, but nowhere can I find a clear-cut definition of severe service valves.
During my search to figure things out I stumbled upon the ISA Calgary website, which took place in April this year, and it turns out I am not alone in my search! One of the speakers at the event, Harman Gill, a control valve application specialist at CG Industrial Specialties, has been having the same problem as I have. His session was actually called Defining Severe Service Valves and in the description it states: “No clear or universal industry definition or mechanism exists to describe and accurately define severe service valves from general purpose valves.” Right, so that’s that. I can continue with my more focused research. Yeah, no, that’s not me. Once I get stuck onto something like this I tend to keep thinking about it and want to know more. At this point I started wondering if there is even a need for a clear-cut definition of a severe service valve. The customer must surely know what he or she is looking for and will have a certain level of knowledge on the topic. If not, then the valve company he or she contacts can surely give enough information on what type of valve would be best for the application at hand. Nevertheless, Mr. Gill believes there is most definitely the need for a definition: “such a definition would allow clients to benefit from improved process performance, increased profitability, elevated safety, and environmental protection.” Ah, yes he has a point. We are of course people and assumption is the mother of all screw ups, so if we assume the customer knows exactly what he or she is looking for then no doubt there will be customers who end up with the wrong valve for their application.
In the meantime, the July issue has gone to print, the articles have been written and my search for a definition has come to an end, for now. I have settled for the fact that there is no clear-cut definition. That I am sure people know what they are doing and that valve manufacturers as always will help the customer find the right valves for their application. There are many companies that specialize in severe service valves and I am sure it will only be a matter of time that Mr. Gill and other likeminded people in the industry will pick up on this and a definition will appear. Because that defines the people in the valve industry: forward-looking, innovative, and wanting to produce only the best product for the application at hand.