High performance seals: innovative solutions for oil & gas challenges
This case study shows how collaboration between a leading producer of sealing materials and a high-end valve manufacturer has led to extremely efficient valve isolation solutions for refineries.
Article by Geoff Lewis, Application Development Manager O&G DuPont Kalrez® and Vespel® Specialty Parts.
The oil and gas industry must meet the highest levels of reliability, efficiency and safety throughout every stage of the production process. To meet such stringent standards, oil and gas producers rely on first class collaboration with partners in the valve and seals sector to prevent leakages and ensure optimal output. They need valves and seals that have exceptional durability and resistance against extreme temperatures in harsh chemical environments in order to reduce emissions and to improve process control. DuPont™ Kalrez® solutions support our customers throughout the oil and gas industry to improve efficiency and deliver against the highest health and environmental standards. DuPont collaborates with partners in the valve sector to create solutions that offer the highest resistance valve and seal combinations in the oil and gas sector.
DuPont has recently partnered with Oliver Valves, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of double block and bleed valves (through their Twinsafe valves), to help a downstream refinery customer solve a long term performance problem with an isolation valve. The customer, a major European operator of refineries, had tried various designs over several years, without finding a long lasting solution. This resulted in time, efficiency and financial costs.
The technical difficulty in finding a solution to the problem arose from the fact that the customer needed large valves (10” to 16” in bore diameter) that could prevent leakage at extreme temperature (315°C) in an aggressive environment. Furthermore there were constraints on the overall size of the valve due to the existing framework on the platform. As a result the customer had been unable to find an effective solution for these conditions. The large size of the valves also meant significant costs could be saved by using an elastomer with good extrusion resistance, thereby eliminating the need and expense of back up rings.
Long lasting performance
Oliver Valves proposed its double block and bleed (DBB) valve which is designed in such a way that it allows for customisation of overall size and weight to work within the spacing constraints, whilst maintaining the highest level of valve performance. However the critical point was to ensure internal seals within the valve could survive these extreme high temperature and chemical conditions, while providing isolated reliable service with no visible leaks.
To find such a seal, Oliver Valves collaborated with DuPont who was able to propose a solution from its Kalrez® line. DuPont’s perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) high pressure, high temperature Kalrez® seals provide long-lasting performance, are resistant to 1800 chemicals and solvents, and retain high levels of elasticity and recovery, even after long-term exposure to elevated temperatures. The DuPont and Oliver Valves’ solution was prototyped and tested by the valve maker. After being successfully qualified for use all of the valves were delivered on time.
Efficiency and cost gains
The valves and the Kalrez® seals were a great success, providing the refinery operator with isolated leak free reliable service for the first time. They removed any potential need for additional fabrication and resulted in efficiency and cost gains in addition to environmental and safety benefits. The performance of the valve and seal resulted in repeat orders from the customer. The vastly improved leak prevention and improved control led to longer service life for valve stem and bore parts.
Through the collaboration, DuPont and Oliver demonstrated their leadership in the valves and seals sector by achieving new levels of high temperature high pressure performance with large bore valves. The wide range of Kalrez® seal solutions that DuPont can offer provide great opportunities for the whole oil and gas industry. Whether the issue is temperature, chemicals or pressure DuPont™ Kalrez® solutions can ensure excellent resistance and long lasting performance.
A full range of DuPont™ Kalrez® products for Oil & Gas valve applications can be found at http://www.dupont.com/products-and-services/
and customers can see which Kalrez® grades are compatible with their specific environment.