Improve Valve Performance and Uptime in PSA Applications

Chemical plants, oil refineries and other facilities often use pressure swing adsorption (PSA) to separate and purify a wide range of industrial gases. This process uses "beds" of solid adsorbents to filter impurities from a feed gas. 

Valves used for PSA applications must perform with maximum availability and reliability--they are expected to cycle every few minutes while providing tight shut-off. Unexpected valve outages or unplanned maintenance could compromise PSA efficiency and production.
Keep these tips in mind to improve valve performance and uptime in PSA operations. 

Know your incoming gas quality.

The quality of your feed gas plays a significant role in the lifespan of your valves. Sour gas can cause hydrogen embrittlement, which hardens metal valve components causing them to crack. PSA operations that use sour gas need to carefully consider the materials used in valve construction and opt for softer materials that are less likely to crack.


Keep in mind that while softer materials are less prone to breakage from hydrogen embrittlement, they are weaker than metal valve components and could be more susceptible to other problems. Also, using softer valve components may require larger diameter shafts, which could add costs to your operation, but will minimize the likelihood of a valve failure.

Use valves and components rated for the right pressure.

Most PSA operations use equipment rated for pressure class 300, but some operations have increased pressures to get higher flow rates and higher hydrogen purity. If you're running higher pressures that exceed the range for class 300, make sure your valve components are rated to accommodate the additional force. Using valves rated for the right pressure class will reduce the chances of unplanned downtime and production disruptions.

Follow manufacturer's preventive maintenance schedules.

By following the valve manufacturer's preventive maintenance schedule, you can keep your valves running efficiently, maximize uptime, and keep production moving. Maintenance schedules should be outlined in the valve manual or on the manufacturer's website. If you are unable to stay on top of these schedules, consider a service agreement from the valve manufacturer, so that they can take care of preventive maintenance for you.

Use only OEM replacement parts.

When replacing valve components, always use OEM parts. Valve OEMs employ rigorous product testing and product development requirements, and OEM replacement components perform to these same high standards. While non-OEM components may be more cost-effective, they may not meet the valve manufacturer's design specifications. These components could cause leaks, prevent valves from working correctly, lead to unplanned downtime and increase maintenance costs.

Add IoT condition monitoring to your valves.

IoT condition monitoring systems use wireless sensors installed on valves that collect vibration, temperature and pressure data. By analyzing this data, or sending it to a third party to analyze it for you, you can identify changes in valve performance that could indicate a looming problem. You can even receive alerts the moment a valve experiences an upset condition. By responding quickly, you can increase valve uptime and address minor issues before they evolve into larger ones that compromise production.


For PSA operations, the health of their valves is crucial to keep production moving. By improving valve reliability, PSA operations can improve performance and uptime, increase gas purity and capacities, and generate more revenue.


Learn more about Flowserve valves in PSA applications here