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Why you can't afford an unreliable valve

Choosing the right rotary valve can improve your productivity. Choosing the wrong one can do the opposite.


Hi and thanks for joining us for our webinar on why you can't afford a cheap rotary valve. At ACS Valves, we know that valves are not commodities and we're committed to spreading this message because it seems like our industry is still struggling with debunking this myth. The truth is that we and other rotary valve manufacturers invest a great deal of time researching and understanding our customers' businesses, their specific lines, and how to move bulk material in the most efficient and reliable way possible within their context.


In fact, we have a line of 23 rotary valves and counting because the valve you use does make a difference. Of course, price will always be one of those things that some companies have to prioritize above all, and we understand that. For those companies, we want to make a case for why buying cheaper isn't actually cheaper in the long run. Without further ado, here it is.


Number one, more downtime. Sure, you got a great deal, but you have to ask yourself why. How was it built and with what materials? How much was your particular process factored into designing the valve? These are important questions because they have measurable results once the valve is in production. If it's built poorly, it will likely break down, require more than average maintenance, and leak material. The downtime it takes to deal with any one of these situations accumulates, and you know better than anyone that at an average rate of $500.00 per hour, downtime is costly.


Number two, shorter life cycles. Let's talk about how long valves are supposed to last. If you're getting less than one year of production from your valve, you're paying much more in replacement costs over time, and even before the point of purchasing a new valve, you're often buying spare parts in the meantime just so your valve can function a little longer. Again, these costs accumulate.


Three, extra costs for safety. I don't think we're alone in thinking that safety in manufacturing is not just important, it's necessary. And yet there are so many substandard valve manufacturers that do not include NFPA or OSHA compliant features in their valves. Instead, compliance is sold as an afterthought feature and customers have to pay extra for it.


Four, increased risk of contamination. Cheaply made, bolted together valves have cracks and crevices where contaminants and bulk material are likely to build up. Depending on your industry, this kind of situation can be extremely dangerous. If bacteria are found or if cross contamination occurs after material changeover, it's grounds for a recall, a costly nightmare for any brand. To prevent this scenario, companies have to spend extra time cleaning these crevices in the valve housing, which again costs more in downtime.


Five, lack of scalability. The industry standard pressure rating is 7 PSI, and that's great... until your business wants to increase production rates. With a cheap valve, chances are there's no built-in scalability. This means if you need a 10 PSI rating, you'll have to purchase a brand new valve.


Number six, bad service. You can't put a price on good service, but with frequent phone calls, refusal to repair or troubleshoot faulty equipment, and delays in responding to complaints, you can definitely put a price on bad service.


Number seven, missed opportunities. Ideally, you want a rotary valve that does more than just work. Ideally, you want optimal performance that gains efficiencies for your line, such as reduced energy consumption, features for faster cleaning, design for effective material release and zero dead zones.
Metering consistency, coatings for reduced wear and longer life cycle, shaft seals that don't have to be adjusted. With a cheaper valve, chances are you are missing these opportunities. And it's not just that you're losing money, it's that you're failing to make more money when you could be.


Simply put, a cheaply made valve not only means paying more, it means getting less. Less efficiency, less performance, and much less ROI.


Now that we've given reasons why cheap, bolted together equipment is unreliable and ultimately more costly, we don't want to leave you hanging. So we've made a short list of questions that you can ask your supplier during the buying process to help you ensure you're getting the most efficient high performance valve for your line.


Number one: Where and how is the valve made? Make sure you're getting quality materials, preferably local, that are cast and not pieced together. You want a durable piece of equipment that will last as long as possible. Number two: Does it meet industry safety standards? We wish you didn't have to ask this, but from our experience, you should. Safety compliant features should come as standard, not extra. Number three: How will this valve optimize my specific process? The answer will vary according to your application, but whatever it is, the answer should demonstrate a knowledge of your priorities and your process. Whether it's quick-clean features or coatings for abrasion resistance, your supplier should be able to walk you through the equipment's features and benefits beyond just saying, "This is really good for feeding." Number four, what happens if it breaks down or fails? Get a sense of what kind of support waits for you if you need it. Your supplier should stand behind their products, eager to help when needed. Number five: How much? Hey, we never said that price wasn't important. Your suppliers should be able to offer a competitive price for the value they bring.


Before we wrap up, we want to add one more thing. A lot of people think they're stuck with their existing valve manufacturer because their valves were built to a certain size or to accommodate certain equipment. This is not the case, at least not with us. It is absolutely possible to build a custom valve to pre-existing size specifications. We do it all the time. So no, you are not stuck with your old valve. Thanks for joining us today for our webinar on why you can't afford a cheap valve. If you have any questions, please do call us or e-mail us. Thank you and take care.