Assured Automation believes the key to mutual satisfaction – making or filling valve specifications – is the relationship between client and provider. If valve engineering is a science and purchasing an art, collaboration is the key. The specifier may answer to several pressures, but the provider adds value with client-specific service.
Differentiate service from product
There are issues of material, size, application, installation, and delivery. The inside or outside sales engineer juggles all this information while the specifier maneuvers budget, delivery, application, installation, training, and short and long-term support.
Specifiers want to draw a line in the sand, and providers want to max the sale. But, there is common value in developing a relationship where the provider can anticipate the client needs. It’s an educational issue where buyer teaches the engineer what s/he values and the supplier serves the articulated need.
No one is wrong – unless it proves costly in terms of maintenance, performance, and safety. A customer once asked for delivery on a certain date, and the manufacturer took it upon itself to deliver a week ahead of time – a costly failure to communicate.
Installation is not the beginning and end of the deal. Costs often occur after installation. For example, in addition to the procurement and commissioning costs, there are the operating costs of actuator and personnel. Add to that the maintenance costs of inspection, cleaning, and repair. There may be failure costs in down-time and product loss. And, finally, follow-up costs measure injuries and environmental damage.
Flow, pressure, application – all affect the product and should be engineered into the sale. Both parties to the sale share the best path when they accept that profit and benefits are really measured over the life of the valve. Value lies in how much money is saved over the valve’s lifespan. Quality, service, and support all improve return on investment.
Specifiers must understand key terms. Viscosity, corrosiveness, velocity, construction materials, and output torque are only a few differences in application and product engineering. Actuators, temperature, and atmosphere do not have their usual meanings. And, delivery and installation are not the time for the specifier to learn there is a problem.
With valve orders regaining their pre-recession mojo, specifiers and providers find value in strengthening their product knowledge and relationship building.
Below is a guideline of factors to consider when specifying automated valve packages:
• Type of Valve-ball, butterfly, plug, check, gate, control, globe
• Valve Size
• End connections-flanged, lugged, wafer, butt weld, threaded, socket weld, quick clamp
• Frequency of operation
• Corrosiveness of media
• Corrosiveness of atmosphere
• Flow-velocity, capacity, Cv, direction
• Operation- manual/automatic, throttling, on-off
• Installation Constraints
• Type-hydraulic, manual, electric, pneumatic actuators
• Mode of operation
• Spring Return- spring to closed, spring to open
• Power supply- air supply, voltage
• Corrosive resistance
• Speed, frequency of operation
• Accessories- limit switches, positioners, solenoid valve