Survitec launches containment device for valve actuator safety

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Survitec unveils new safety device

Survitec has introduced a new energy containment safety device designed to mitigate risks associated with catastrophic valve actuator failures.

High-pressure spring-loaded actuator failures can cause severe injury or death and significant damage to equipment and facilities.

Regular inspection and maintenance are often neglected, and the risks have not received much technological or regulatory attention.

Features of the Survitec Gauntlet

The Survitec Gauntlet is compatible with all valve actuator types.

It is a protective sleeve made from lightweight para-aramid armouring, which is ten times as strong as steel.

This design aims to contain the forces unleashed during a failure.

Lloyd’s Register has technically qualified the Survitec Gauntlet, providing immediate containment protection and enhancing safety measures.

It adds minimal weight to the actuator, avoiding additional stress, and protects the actuator’s components from corrosion and degradation.

Market adoption and expert opinions

Survitec has supplied the Gauntlet to many operators, including major companies in the North Sea.

The company has also received an order from a Spanish oil and gas operator.

David Montgomery, Head of Sales at Survitec, said: “The introduction of the Gauntlet is a testament to our proactive stance on safety enhancement.

“The absence of detailed regulatory control pertaining to valve actuator failures or maintenance of this critical component is a pressing issue that demands immediate attention.

“We urge regulators to initiate further discussions and ask operators to act promptly to safeguard their personnel and critical plants in the event of an uncontained failure of an actuator.”

Addressing corrosion and aging issues

Valve actuator failures offshore often result from corrosion and the age of the units, with hundreds in service on each offshore installation.

Paul Gwynne, Sales & Contracts Manager at Survitec, highlighted: “The valve return spring sits in a pre-loaded or loaded condition and is powerful enough to close down the valve even during full operation.

“However, far too many of these actuators have been left to degrade. We are now seeing hundreds in an unsafe or unknown condition – which may be intensified by pneumatic and/or hydraulic control pressures and, therefore, a huge issue and possible danger to equipment and personnel.”

Gwynne added: “Many actuators have suffered significant corrosion of the unit’s internal workings, not only the exterior weather shield, which is visible.

“The problem can be compounded when these actuators are tagged as non-operational or decommissioned, no longer serviced but in place, but still containing a pre-load force in the spring, which can be equivalent to several tonnes depending on the size of the actuator.

“The force and impact of an actuator failure can be violent and often potentially fatal, impacting people, critical plants and even pipelines.”

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