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How to control complex operating problems and costs

The right aftermarket programmes and services can prepare you to tackle any repair job, whether it be an individual valve or complete end-to-end flow control systems, while also minimising downtime and unnecessary costs. Lauren Miller and Ed Hallenbeck report

Opening a box of chocolates and opening a valve for repair have one thing in common – you never know what you are going to get. Complex operating problems and costs can easily spiral out of control when you lack the required parts or the expertise to get the job done. 

The right aftermarket programmes and services can prepare you to tackle any repair job, whether it be an individual valve or complete end-to-end flow control systems, while also minimising downtime and unnecessary costs.

Nearly everyone has experienced the frustration of being unprepared for a job, resulting in increased downtime. Whether technicians lack the correct tools, the right expertise, or the required clearances, a delay in repair is still a delay in repair.

Investing in complete aftermarket programmes and services can help insure your company against unnecessary downtime and service costs by ensuring the right expertise and the right tools are at a qualified technician’s disposal.

Before technicians arrive on scene, it is helpful to meticulously co-ordinate plans between your facility and the technician. Because time technicians spend on your site is time that your facility is off-line, the goal is timely inspection and repair. 

Communicating with technicians before the job helps ensure that they arrive to the site on time, are fully vetted, and have a plan to execute the full scope of required maintenance or repair.

However, sometimes unforeseen issues arise from even the most meticulously planned events. Having a robust, reliable aftermarket network can help technicians address these unexpected problems. On-call design and mechanical engineers can readily assist on-site technicians, increasing the amount of experience available to ensure hurdles can be overcomed and repairs can be completed on time and on budget.

Having a relationship with a reliable and accessible channel partner ensures that a provider is always ready to respond to your needs, no matter where your facility is located nationwide.

Maintaining strong partnerships in productivity helps you control complex operating problems wherever and whenever they arise.

A model of this type of network is CIRCOR, leaders in industrial valve production and maintenance. CIRCOR maintains a robust and active communication channel with its home base in Tampa, Florida, leveraging the expertise of their engineers in order to mitigate and remediate emergent problems.

By requiring rigorous training for the most difficult environments, CIRCOR ensures their technicians are well-equipped for challenges.

The strong CIRCOR Strategic Service Partner network gives customers the best long-term maintenance strategy and service possible by ensuring customers nationwide have access to qualified channel partners.

When facing a leaky valve, most plant maintenance personnel focus on getting the system up and running again as soon as possible. Often, they simply cut the entire valve out and weld a new replacement back into place. Installing a new piece can be costly, especially when a new replacement is not needed.

However, long-lasting pressure components like CIRCOR valve bodies and bonnets do not always need to be replaced. But without replacing a faulty system with new parts, how can downtime be minimised at all?

Enter an efficient rotable programme. ‘Rotable’ is a term usually associated with the aerospace industry where key parts are rotated through a reuse, recondition, and recycle exchange method. If a part needed refurbishment, typically the valve would be out of use until the part was restored and reinstalled.

However, the rotable programme lowers the downtime and costs associated with complete valve extraction and replacement. Think of it like a revolving door: People can continuously cycle through without stopping, whereas a traditional door involves a stop-and-go process that can hinder smooth operation and increase time spent.

In addition to reducing downtime, a rotable programme can reduce the hidden costs incurred by cranes, welders, and NDT inspectors. Having a trained technician complete both inspection and installation can help extend the life of a unit over multiple exchange cycles.

CIRCOR offers a robust rotable programme that helps customers avoid delays and costly valve cutout and reinstallation charges. As part of its programme,

CIRCOR sends a trained technician to inspect the valve. If needed, the old trim is sent back to the factory for evaluation and possible reconditioning.

Once the trim is reconditioned, CIRCOR returns the piece to the customer so they can store it for future use on the valve once the current piece in place is in need of replacement.

Factory seals: Ready to open? Think again

Protecting your valves is paramount for safeguarding your warranty. One way to guard your warranty is with factory seals – usually, a visible cable tie that offers several reminders to personnel.

These factory seals serve as a physical barrier, as accessing the inner working of the valve – and possibly invalidating a warranty – requires physically removing the seal. This ensures that warranties are not invalidated involuntarily. As such, the factory seal also serves as a reminder to think before opening.

Often, warranty provisions are tied to you using factory authorised service providers; once the factory seal is removed, the warranty may be invalidated.

CIRCOR utilises factory seals to remind customers that CIRCOR will take care of a defective valve during the warranty period. Hiring a third party and spending money to work on a valve, then, is unnecessary. If it is under warranty, the valve will be replaced correctly by CIRCOR with genuine parts and authorised service technicians.

While buying parts from a third party is always an option, it runs the risk of not only invalidating a warranty but also incurring unnecessary costs from an incomplete or poor job.

If this third party repair house does not have access to the correct parts and drawings needed to repair your specific applications and lacks the correct training, the system could be repaired incorrectly. Thus, having factory seals as a physical barrier to warranty invalidation is a smart investment for the long run.

After installation, the care and maintenance of your system has only just begun. When buying a valve, it is important to take into account all cost factors beyond the initial purchase price.

Ensuring your supplier has the technicians and parts necessary to properly maintain your valve helps insure the value of your valve. Inexperienced technicians and missing parts could cause your valve to decrease in value due to poor performance, and the profitability of your operation can suffer from the resulting downtime.

Proper aftermarket maintenance helps your valve live its longest life and continuously perform in the harshest and most challenging environments.

Keeping all the key people in your organisation part of the buying decision brings different expectations and requirements to the table. CIRCOR works with your team to help you take into consideration all the possible costs required to optimise your cost of ownership and keep your valve functional for decades.

The CIRCOR advantage is options – the option to repair, the option to recondition, and the option to replace. With warranties and valves renowned for their durability and performance, CIRCOR helps you optimise your return on investment, make informed decisions about the aftermarket programmes and services you need, and keep your facility functioning efficiently.

Lauren Miller and Ed Hallenbeck, Aftermarket – CIRCOR Industrial Valves Americas.

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