Page 85: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (October 2003)

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Insulation, Pipes, Pumps & Valves

Employees' Invention Improves Valve Process

As Avondale Operations valve supervisor Bubba

Thornton mounted and checked the 68 valves on Polar

Endeavour, he set out to improve the process of installing and testing that many valves on such a huge ship. That's why Thornton joined 20 other Avondale employees to come up with a way to test the valves prior to installation aboard ship. There is a total of 68 valves, ranging in size from 8 to 36 in. in diameter, in the Polar tanker's cargo system. Of those valves, 31 control the flow of crude oil in and out of each tank during filling or discharging from land-based termi- nals. The other 37 valves control the movement of bal- last water, potable water, ship's fuel and most of the other fluids in the ship's systems. Ken Genter and zone manager John Whittington wanted to develop a basic concept of a valve-testing device that was compact, light, and could handle high-pressure loads. "I had an idea of a tool for testing valves at a different location other than aboard ship, as well as having the valves tested and the results witnessed by our customer prior to installation on the ship," said Genter. Engineers

Gopal Suthar and Aseem Kaikini took the lead and designed a device that would test a valve up to 36-inch- es in diameter with a minimum number of settings. "After discussing the concept with all involved, I start- ed putting together a preliminary concept that I thought was the best available method of performing the task," said Suthar. "I took that preliminary concept and com- pleted the detailed design of the testing tool," said

Kaikini. "But I took it one step further to design the tool and its components so that the tool would success- fully test each valve on the first trial." Pipefitter Alvin

Phillips took the detailed drawings and, with welder

John Guillory, manufactured all of the components and assembled the testing device. "The real proof in the tool's design is that it's flexible enough to test dif- ferent size valves, gain successful approval, and then sell those to the customer well in advance of installa- tion," added Suthar. The valve-testing device is 6 x 4 x 6 ft. (1.8 x 1.2 x 1.8 m), weighs 750 lbs., and is rela- tively inexpensive to build. The device uses water to pressure-test a valve from 5 PSI to 250 PSI. That's equivalent to a generating force of 255,000 lbs./ft. on the valve. Normally, the manufacturer only tests the valve using air pressure. All of the valves destined for

Polar Discovery, the third double-hulled tanker under construction at Avondale, have been pre-tested prior to installation, and no leaks were detected. "This device is one of the most significant pieces of equipment we have invented that will help us with this series of ships," said zone manager John Whittington. The valve-testing device's influence extends far beyond the

Polar tanker construction program. It can be integral to any of the Northrop Grumman facilities. Suthar and

Kaikini have even bigger plans for the device. They envision it being used at any facility along the Gulf

Coast that needs to pressure-test valves. "The efforts of all involved in this project are greatly appreciated," said Polar Tanker Project Integration Director Terry

Verret. "The ability to set up and test the valves prior to installation aboard the ship is a major cost reduction for the program." — By Jeff Now akow ski

Test and Trials George Wulff and Test and Trials Leaderman

Thomas Harrison. (Photo Credit: Ricky Kellum)

New High-Pressure Pumps

Versa-Matic has teamed up with Blagdon to offer a complete line of high-pressure pumps. The new series includes three models that address a full range of high- pressure applications. The VM E2HP 2-in. Standard

Flow pump is made from stainless steel and delivers up to 200 lb./sq. in. of pressure, with standard flow at a rate of up to 69 gal./min. The BL N25 1 -in. and BL

N50 2-in. Full Flow pumps both deliver pressure as high as 238 lb./sq. in., however the N25 has a standard flow rate of 30 gal./min, while the N50 can achieve a standard flow rate as high as 90 gal./min. Both BL models are available in choice of aluminum or stainless steel. All three models feature a non-stalling, non-icing air valve system with shoe valve technology, to elimi- nate blow-by and provide lube-free operation. Self- venting, self-charging surge suppressors help eliminate pulsation and lessen system vibration, while anti-shock valves protect pumps, pipes and diaphragms from damage during startup. Filter and regulators are also available to optimize pump performance and reduce maintenance costs by regulating air pressure and filter- ing particles and water out of the compressed air inlet.

For more information from Versa-Matic

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October 2003 83

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