V-MAP® is a non-intrusive, in-situ valve and actuator assembly condition monitoring system that allows owners to accurately identify and observe the performance of critical valves on their assets. This is important to manage safety risks and ensure valve performance and reliability is correctly maintained at all times. Critical valve assemblies include examples such as Emergency Shutdown Valves, Blowdown Valves and Process Shutdown valves. Condition and performance monitoring of these valve assemblies is achieved through the use of dedicated sensors situated on the valve, actuator and pipework.
V-MAP® was originally designed as a permanently installed solution, to provide constant and continuous monitoring of these valve assemblies throughout their entire life cycle, however, in line with customer specific requirements and Score’s continuous improvement philosophy, Score Diagnostics Limited have also developed a temporarily connectable version of the V-MAP® system, known as V-MAP® Portable. This portable system allows operators to gain an insight into the condition and performance of a valve and actuator assembly at any given time and date on which it is deployed.
The V-MAP® Portable solution is highly valuable for monitoring valve assemblies on, for example, aging plants where permanently retrofitting valve condition monitoring systems is either not feasible or cost prohibitive.
V-MAP® Portable is a compact and customisable in-situ condition monitoring tool for determining the operating condition and performance of critical valve assemblies. V-MAP® Portable can be setup to provide a bespoke monitoring solution which temporarily gives operators maximum diagnostic coverage on their critical valve assemblies, whilst installed.
The equipment allows the operator to gain a broad understanding of the valve and actuator assembly condition, in addition to providing qualitative data to trend changes in performance over time. Indicators of developing failure modes therefore become visible and actionable, thus informing asset integrity management decision making and the prevention of future in-service failures.
Originally designed to troubleshoot and monitor the in-situ condition of particular valves on a one off or short term installation basis, V-MAP® Portable retains the core functions of the permanent V-MAP® solution. The advantage of this equipment is that it can be temporarily setup on any valve and actuator assembly quickly and without the more complex infrastructure that the permanent solution requires.
V-MAP® Portable can acquire data from strain gauges (measuring valve torque/force), through valve leak detection and quantification (using Score’s MIDAS® Sensor), any 4 20 mA instruments (such as actuator pressure transmitters), any 0 5 mV instruments and limit switches.
With the ability to acquire data from many different sources, this allows a tailored and adaptable in-situ valve testing and condition monitoring solution that fully meets customer requirements.
With the increasing emphasis on personnel safety and plant and asset integrity management, within process industries, it is essential that plant operators can demonstrate critical valve assemblies can fulfil their intended safety function on demand, within the required / clearly specified operational criteria.
In almost all instances, it is impossible to simply "visually observe" deterioration in valve assembly performance, during any operational cycle.
For example, an increase in valve operating times can be caused by a range of different failure modes. Successfully determining the root cause of any valve assembly performance problem can focus maintenance actions and therefore optimise valve assembly performance over time to give plant operators, reliability engineers and health and safety personnel peace of mind and ensure safe continuous operations and maximised uptime is maintained.
Across most onshore and offshore assets, the infrastructure is not readily available to troubleshoot valve assembly performance issues in-situ. For valve assemblies that require ad-hoc or periodic inspection, the demand for a portable and in-situ inspection solution to verify satisfactory performance, or alternatively identify the root cause of performance or failure issues, on a valve by valve basis, is increasing.
Furthermore, there is an increasing demand from process owners and operators to benchmark or verify the operational "as-built" torques - or other measurable operating requirements - of a valve assembly, before it leaves the manufacturer and prior to installation in their plant.
To optimally manage valve and actuator assemblies' performance, a simple and effective solution is required. V-MAP® Portable in situ testing data provides immediate evidence and informs process operators with assurances and confidence that their critical valve assemblies will continue to operate on demand (or not) and are not deteriorating to unacceptable levels.
This type of critical valve assembly testing evidence can also form the basis of Score's Sure OpTM testing service, which utilises the V MAP® Portable equipment to benchmark the "as-built" valve assembly torque details from new, in a controlled workshop environment or at the assembly facility. This method of benchmarking supports and informs performance trending over time.
In situ valve assembly condition and performance monitoring is achieved by using sensors such as; strain gauges, pressure transmitters, MIDAS® Sensor's and limit switches, which are connected directly back to the V-MAP® Portable case.
Sensor signal processing is achieved within the V-MAP® Portable case, which contains a strain amplifier for converting strain data to a known torque or force output and a data acquisition unit (DAU) dedicated to data storage for the sensors mentioned above.
Data collected and stored in the DAU is displayed in real time during the test. After testing the data is then exported to PC or Laptop based software and further analysed. Valve Insights™ are then reported back to the customer based on the actual "as found" in situ condition of the valve assembly. This avoids making assumptions which rely on the actuator and valve "design" data, which may have large tolerances which do not truly represent actual conditions / performance.
Aligned with customer's needs and a growing industry demand to improve automated valve assemblies reliability, Score recognised the importance of providing a portable version of V-MAP® that could be simply and quickly setup on any in-situ valve assembly, regardless of manufacturer(s).
V-MAP® Portable was designed and developed to provide all the essential functionality and Valve Insights™ of the permanent V-MAP® system, in a compact and portable case.
This in-situ automated valve monitoring solution was created as a partial diagnostic coverage option, for troubleshooting known automated valve assembly problems, or for situations where the alternative permanently installed V-MAP® in-situ monitoring solution could not be installed for either process design or financial investment reasons.
After finalising development and manufacture, V-MAP® Portable was deployed to support customers and immediately began providing quick identification of issues such as incorrectly sized actuator controls, leaking fittings and valve component degradation to name a few. See Case Studies for more information.
The V-MAP® Portable equipment, in conjunction with Score’s Valve Insights™, is capable of identifying critical failure modes, including:
Below are some examples of the Valve Insights™ analysis that can be compiled into engineering reports to provide owners / operators with valuable information on the condition and performance of their critical valve assemblies.
This example indicates how valve stiction was identified during a complete operational cycle, using V MAP® Portable. Note : Stiction is undesirable as it can cause valve stroke changes such as timing and increased operating torques and lead to unnecessary wear which, if left unchecked, can ultimately lead to the valve failing to perform its intended function, or to through valve leakage. The V-MAP® Portable equipment was connected to the strain gauge installed on the valve assembly and the valve was cycled. The equipment was able to quickly identify and visualise the underlying stiction issue. This allowed the customer to perform simple and targeted maintenance, to extend the lifetime of the valve assembly and maintain its integrity and required operational performance.
This example shows a valve failing to operate to its fail-safe position on demand. In this case the command was sent to close the valve, however, the actuator could not provide the necessary torque output to make that happen. The torque profile recorded using V-MAP® Portable indicates a large increase during the close operation. These Valve Insights™ allowed Score Diagnostic Limited to conclude that the root cause of this failure was most likely due to an obstruction in the line, preventing the valve from fully closing.
A selection of some of the benefits of the V-MAP® Portable equipment is:
The V-MAP® Portable system is designed for periodic or ad-hoc in-situ valve test performance monitoring and troubleshooting. The system can be quickly deployed and runs from a mains power supply (240V AC). The temporary setup does not require costly infrastructure to be in place and contains the required functionality to receive and log all data from the sensors used. The ability of the system to acquire data from different instrument types allows flexibility to ensure the client’s requirements are fully met.
Diagnostic coverage varies with the use of a range of sensor types and designs. The following sensors types are typically available:
There are two key elements of the V-MAP® Portable solution – The ruggedised portable case where sensor output data is captured, stored and displayed in real time providing instant feedback while in-situ. The second is the back-end PC based software which assists in the reporting of the results which, when coupled with the Score Engineers' data analysis and interpretation experience, provides evidence supporting the Valve Insights™ which are communicated back to the customer.
The software used within V-MAP® Portable is therefore capable of:
All of which may inform immediate maintenance decision making.
Once the data is received and stored the data analytics is performed. This may be partly automated, or the Score Specialist Engineers may analyse the data sets in greater detail to gain additional Valve Insights™ This provides customers with instant beneficial and constructive feedback on their valve assembly performance. Score Engineers interpret the data and provide evidence on actual and / or developing failure mode indications arising from:
Score's expertise and knowledge of the critical valve assembly performance can then be forwarded in a detailed engineering report, delivering Valve Insights™ (actionable evidence) to the owner / operators.