6 ways to save time on rotary valve maintenance

Posted by ACS Valves on

Running a red light is a terrible way to save time on your commute, and skipping maintenance will only cause more problems in your material handling process.

Microwave dinners let you skip the cooking process, but they’re not as tasty as a home-cooked meal. Similarly, rushing maintenance can have a detrimental effect on your end product.

It’s clear that shortcuts won’t cut it, both in life and in the world of valves. These suggestions will help you perform rotary airlock valve inspections, cleaning, and maintenance in an efficient and cost-effective way.

1) Keep a regular maintenance schedule

This is our number one tip because it’s the most common source of unnecessary downtime we see. Regular maintenance means having a schedule to adjust what needs adjusting, grease what needs greasing, and replace what needs replacing. Your valve manual has a technical list of everything you should be checking.

One of the most important checks is measuring your rotor-to-housing tolerances. When these get too large, it can cause issues with material flow, which is another common cause of unplanned downtime.

2) Get a spare parts kit

If you’re doing regular inspections and maintenance, you can catch most issues before they happen, but let’s face it: you can’t always predict downtime. That’s where a kit of spare parts can save the day. Rather than taking your valve offline and waiting for an order of new parts to arrive, you can swap out the worn-out components on the spot and get that valve back to work.

That’s why it makes all the difference to have extra rotors, shaft seals, and bearings stocked on a shelf near your rotary valves. An NFPA kit has all of these, and it will help keep you in compliance with regulations.

3) Try a Quick-Clean option

Typically, the larger valves get, the more difficult and time-consuming they are to clean. Most standard valves need to be disassembled with tools before you can access the internals for cleaning. Certain types of valves can drastically cut down the time it takes to take things apart and wipe away material.

While it was originally designed for food-grade and sanitary applications, the Quick-Clean Series valve on RotorRails is popular across all industries we serve. That’s because it uses a rail system to allow one-step, tool-less access to the housing, making it simple to get inside the valve within a few minutes, rather than an hour or more for standard valves.

4) Get the right rotor

Did you know that rotor design can affect the time you spend cleaning and maintaining parts? For example, we often recommend a U-shaped rotor for sticky applications, because the smooth surfaces are easy to wipe and prevent material from building up. Another type of rotor scrapes off material buildup as it happens, while another model uses adjustable tips to reduce the amount of rotor replacements needed in a valve’s lifecycle. If you’re not sure what you need, we’re always happy to make suggestions.

5) Choose a direct drive

Valves typically come in two types of drive packages: chain drive and direct drive. While we manufacture both, we tend to recommend the direct drive for its ease of maintenance, safety, and overall efficiency.

Chains must be inspected regularly to check tension and lubrication. If chains break or stretch, you’ll face downtime in the form of unplanned repairs or maintenance. Because direct drives are mounted directly on the valve’s rotor shaft, they do away with the chain, sprocket, and mounts, making them a comparative breeze to maintain.

6) Ditch the packing glands

Packing glands are a more old-school style of shaft seal made from woven fibers and lubricant. They require you to manually push packing glands into a stuffing box, adjust pusher plates, and periodically clean material that leaks into the shaft seal assembly.

A more modern alternative is the ACST-4 shaft seal. Made up of quad rings with a self-lubricated Teflon sleeve, it requires no adjusting or maintenance. Simply replace the seals when they get too worn, and you’re good to go.

Need a specific recommendation?

By working with a valve expert who understands your application, you can get a tailored recommendation for valves, parts, and procedures that will help you reduce maintenance and keep downtime to a minimum. Call ACS Valves for one-on-one support.

Categories: NFPA , Reliability