The use of additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionise in-field control valve maintenance, potentially saving process and industrial plants millions of pounds a year in maintenance, repair, and operation (MRO) costs. The impact of high-velocity media within a valve trim is one of the leading causes of cavitation, erosion, and vibration; all of which can combine to cause poor process control, premature failure, and unplanned downtime for critical flow control applications.
Full valve replacements typically incur huge Opex and Capex commitments given the significant logistical requirements. However, a new high-performance valve trim replacement service that combines additive and traditional manufacturing methods is set to radically disrupt the valve MRO market.
Retrofit3D, pioneered by IMI Critical Engineering, focuses on the engineering of bespoke drop-in replacement internal components. These include disk stacks and valve trims (inclusive of seat and plugs), ensuring the body of the valve can remain in situ throughout the process.
The use of additive manufacturing technology represents a game-changing shift in valve replacement services, as it enables the design and production of parts that would not be possible using only traditional manufacturing processes. Each replacement part can be custom-made to the specific process conditions of the valve in question, in a fraction of the time, weight, and cost.
Unlike like-for-like legacy component replacements, Retrofit3D components integrate IMI Critical Engineering’s DRAG® technology, which divides the flow into a series of right-angled smaller passages. The multi-stage, multi-path DRAG® technology directs the medium through a tortuous path to incrementally reduce the differential pressure and increase control, preventing the root cause of the original problem from reoccurring.
The service is now capable of producing drop-in replacement trims for valves up to 20” in diameter and can be used in a broad range of critical pipeline applications including bypass valves and large anti-surge valves. Retrofit3D produces replacement trims for valves manufactured by IMI Critical Engineering, as well as those from other valve manufacturers.