Many of today’s leading companies are involved with fluid handling. Be it in the oil & gas sector, petrochemical, refineries, pulp & paper or many more, the industrial plant that they use circulates fluids throughout their processes. It is vital that these fluids are kept under tight control. Obviously, they must be kept inside the process and their movement, pressure, temperature, etc all have to be kept within prescribed specifications. Achieving these ends is known as fluid handling and control.
Typical Fluid Handling Equipment In A Process Plant
Pumps control the transportation of the fluid(s) through pipes from one part of the plant to another. The flow rates and directions will be further controlled by valves inserted into the pipelines. These can either restrict fluid flow or turn it off altogether. Flow meters and safety cut off devices will also be incorporated into the total system.
These can be uni-directional or bi-directional and they can be used to either quickly shut off or open up a pipe line or throttle the flow to a required rate. Think of the faucet in your bathroom – this is a simple form of valve. Depending upon the function of the valve, there are several different basic designs available. One of these is referred to as a butterfly valve. This type can both isolate and throttle the flow and it gets its name from the central disc in its center. The disc can be rotated so that it either fully blocks the pipe (closed) or is sideways on to the flow (fully open). Sealing the disc when it is in the closed position is a critical part of the design for a valve of this type.
At one time, there used to be a plethora of valve manufacturers but mergers and acquisitions have now greatly reduced the players in this field. Today, Bray International, Inc. has emerged as one of the world leaders in butterfly valve production.