What’s New in the Old “Valve” Business

Valves Continue to Evolve to Keep Up with the Times

Since ancient time man figured out how to regulate water, initially using stones and branches to stem the flow. Over time, as irrigation systems grew the use of valves evolved. The Egyptians, the Greeks and in particular the Romans set up, operated and maintained extensive irrigation systems. The Romans made use of a “plug” or “stopcock” valve type made of bronze. This scheme was in use for many decades.

In the renaissance more sophisticated valves were invented and put into use. The modern valve industry gets its start in the run up to the industrial revolution. In 1705, Thomas Newcomen invented the first steam engine. The steam engine needed valves to keep and regulate steam at high pressure. Innovation that followed in energy and manufacturing would continue to demand more efficient and effective valves.

On August 28, 1859 George Bissell and Edwin Drake struck oil at “Oil Creek” nearby Tituville, Pennsylvania with an oil drill that launched the modern day oil industry. Oil pipelines were part of the solution from the beginning. Generally these were very short in distance carrying oil from the drill hole to nearby tanks or refineries. As the oil industry took off in the 1860’s more and more wells were being tapped and the need to transport that oil skyrocketed. Early transportation methods like wooden barrels on wagons, wooden pipes and rail gave way to more efficient steel pipes with greater and greater distances.

The mass movement of oil and later natural gas via pipelines offered a new challenge for valve manufacturers. Pressure plays a big role in the flow of oil and gas through pipelines and valves needed to be developed to regulate this pressure safely. To address these needs the number and type of valves invented exploded over the last 100+ years. Here is the list of some of the valves currently in use in the oil and gas industry:

  • Automatic Re-Circulation Valves: Ball Valves
  • Bellow Sealed Valves: Breather Valves
  • Butterfly Valves: Gate Valves
  • Globe Valves: Orbit Valves
  • Plug Valves: Pressure Seal Valves
  • Instrument Valves & Manifolds: Needle Valves
  • Double Block & Bleed Valves: Ball Valves

At AS-Schneider, we have been designing and manufacturing high quality valves for the oil and gas industry of over 100 years. We have not only observed the changes in the valve industry but have participated in these changes and continue to look to the future.

What does the future hold for the valve industry? There is now more attention to the monitoring and diagnostics of the valve network in a pipeline system. The collection and analysis of this data can offer efficiency and safety benefits.

A typical valve condition monitoring system set-up.

Valvewatch

Image Source

By collecting real time information on the performance of valves in a pipeline network offer the opportunity to more effectively address safety issues as well as improve maintenance. We expect there to be continued focus on monitoring valves in pipeline networks and work to ensure AS-Schneider valves are ready for the future.

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