We Can Stop the Damage

Simon Jeeves

Simon_JeevesMRC Global’s Simon Jeeves says that condition monitoring can help prevent damaged valves


To many people in the flow control industry, condition monitoring implies an expensive system fitted to shut-down valves to provide assurance they will work in the event of an emergency. Whilst this continues to be an important application, condition monitoring can in fact offer technical and financial benefits in many more valve-related areas. That at least is the number one message which MRC Global’s Simon Jeeves is busy promoting at events such as the recent Valve World Conference in Dusseldorf.


“Take a production platform, where the separator is an essential part of the process. If the separator is correctly set up it will make you money. This means the valve needs to be properly adjusted. And you can best do that if you have appropriate data at hand which can be interpreted to show what is happening inside the valves and the separator. So this is just one area where condition monitoring can have an important contribution to the plant’s profitability.”


Simon draws an effective parallel with motor racing. “It’s like a Formula one racing car. For sure the driver is doing the actual driving, but there a whole team back in the pits who are checking real-time data on the car’s performance and adjusting the vehicle’s settings during the race. That is exactly what can be achieved with condition monitoring inside a process facility.”


But before you pick up the phone and order a condition monitoring starter pack, Simon indicates the importance of considering the complete package. “Simply put, a screwdriver is intuitive; condition monitoring is far more complex. So you must ensure staff are properly trained to use the system and to interpret the data.” Simon has a compelling example of an incorrect assessment. “Operators on a production platform were required to regularly cycle a valve to demonstrate it would be available on demand. So at set times they opened and closed the valve and noted that it was operating within the required ten second window. However, what they failed to spot was that the valve was not opening correctly due to stiction. This ultimately resulted in a bent stem with part of the process being closed down for repairs. A properly established condition monitoring system would have identified that much earlier.”


Despite this case history Simon insists that the operators are the right people to be monitoring valves. “Consider the supply chain for valves and the targets for those involved. The seller wants to make a sale so his mind may not be on the technical aspects, the buyer needs to meet his budget so he may be less interested in the long-term reliability of the equipment. In effect, they are passing on future problems to the operators. And that’s why a proper condition monitoring system can help enormously to preventing valve issues. In fact, studies suggest that the oil and gas sector rates poorly compared to other industries so there are for certain plenty of opportunities for facilities to utilise condition monitoring to improve their performance and profitability.“


Simon Jeeves in Profile: Age: 43 • Training: mechanical engineer & business studies, valve diagnostics, functional safety management, reliability engineering, field service • Career: 16 years within the field of condition monitoring • Current role: Product Manager, ValveWatch - Europe & Middle East • Hobbies: spending time with his family (Simon has four children), soccer, skiing and being a soccer coach.


Originally published in the January / February edition of Valve World Magazine