Poor Repairs are Putting Plant & Lives at Risk

John Kett, MD Kings Control Services Lt

Having been in the Valve Repair business for almost 20 years, I have come across, and worked with, a very large number of valve repairers. Some were good, some were bad, and some I would not let repair my outside tap! In many cases the repairer’s knowledge and quality of workmanship fell well short of what I would consider to be an acceptable standard.

People in this industry are all too quick to blame repair Technicians for any failures that may occur. My view is that argument can only go so far, as technicians should perform all repairs to an acceptable standard that they have been trained to achieve.

This leads onto a series of questions we as an industry must ask ourselves.

What standard of training is available?

What rules are there to ensure that a Technician has a good quality of training?

What standards are the trainers & providers of training governed by?

What is the correct equipment needed to carry out repairs correctly?

Who inspects and polices these so called repairers?

For far too long now, inexperienced and unqualified technicians have been allowed to repair valves simply because they have worked alongside someone else - who is equally unqualified – but who has been doing it for longer.

Any mechanically-minded person can lap two sealing faces together and create a good enough surface that will not leak providing enough spring tension is applied and the valve will pass a ‘Pop’ test on a test rig.

Question is, has the valve been checked to ensure that it still conforms dimensionally to the original manufacturers tolerances, to ensure that should that valve ever be called upon to actually lift in anger it will do so, and safely relieve the required capacity to ensure that vessel it was designed to protect is in fact protected, along with the people it is designed to save from harm?

In the USA they have The National Board. Anyone wanting to repair certain types of valves has to pass very strict requirements to achieve a Valve Repair Accreditation known as the "VR" Stamp. This assures the customer that the repairer has quality systems, training and equipment that is of a very high standard and is regulated and periodically inspected by an independent body that knows what it is talking about.

The "VR" Stamp ensures that repaired valves meets applicable ASME code requirements for performance and relieving capacity.

As a Repair Company owner, I have invested thousands of pounds on training and equipment, to ensure we perform all our repairs to the highest standards.

We need to ensure that the UK has a nationally recognised accreditation scheme that all repairers must achieve before they are allowed to repair any Safety Relief valve.

I would welcome any moves to implement such a scheme, as I feel that there are far too many disasters out there waiting to happen because of incorrectly repaired valves just sitting there, waiting to fail.


Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 7

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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