Barrie Kirkman on the Audit road

Barrie Kirkman

An example of grinding
As many of you know I retired from BP in 2004 after 33 years of service where my responsibilities covered technical and procurement of valves. Since then I have remained active in the market offering consultancy to End Users such as Shell, Ineos, BASF and BP and too others in the valve supply chain.

One area that has been in demand is sourcing forgings, castings and valves from China. Many 1000’s of miles of weary road travel has been done. Since I first journeyed to China 10 years ago there has been a general trend of improvement in valve quality. We are now seeing Chinese brands being accepted and used by the End User community. The diversity in quality can still be seen and there is still the delicate balance between costs and what is technically acceptable. In the recent economic downturn I have noticed that some end users have lowered their acceptance criteria to gain cost savings. Though, in some ways I sympathise with this position, my experience has shown that longer term issues such as plant reliability and HSE issues are put at risk.

I have presented to various audiences on the subject of life cycle costs. Some have welcomed the market knowledge whilst others just seem determined to justify their position via paperwork. However one Field Engineer recently quoted on their experience “though the first test results for the valves were good the production valves look more like Swiss cheese than castings”.

In closing I will be expanding on the above at the up coming Valve World conference in Dusseldorf. So hopefully I will see you there. Also if you have time please visit me on booth 03 C47. You will be most warmly welcomed.

Barrie Kirkman BSc CEng MIMechE, Tel: 01932 886898

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 15


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