The earliest valves were probably devised by Egyptians as a means of controlling water flow for the diverting of streams to irrigate early crops. The Romans moved things forward as they developed the first plumbing systems, establishing canals and even basic sewage systems across the major cities of the Roman Empire.
The modern valve can probably trace its roots to the Industrial Revolution and the development of the steam engine by Thomas Newcomen. This innovation marked the first critical application of a valve when it was used to control the pressure flow of steam. Indeed in most cases, without which the steam engine would not have played such a pivotal role.
Valves today come in many forms, shapes and sizes, are made with almost every high specification material known to man, from plastics to Titanium, and are integral to the design and function of almost every major industrial process that we all take for granted. Indeed in some cases, some of most complex of these valves are now surgically implanted in our aging population to replicate functionality within the human heart.
Of the many types of valves in service today, those that are probably used in the most critical applications and environments are metal seated ball valves. These valves are seen across a range of industries including Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, Power, Mining, Paper, and many more. They are used to control the flow of process liquids and gases that are critical to these industries, and which in many cases are being operated in extreme pressure and temperature regimes.
An integral part of the reliability of the metal seated ball valve is a high performance thermal spray coating applied to the ball and seat, to improve the wear, corrosion, coefficient of friction and sealing properties of the valve. These coatings are applied via a range of technologies with materials that include Tungsten and Chromium Carbides, Ceramics and Nickel based self fluxing materials. After application they may be sealed, and are then finished via specialized grinding and lapping processing to ensure a gas tight seal, optimized for the particular type of service the valve is destined for.
FW Gartner (a business unit of Curtiss Wright), has been in the ball valve coating business for many years, and as part of the growth of the business, has now incorporated specialized finishing technologies for the finishing of these components. So, for that next project that needs a specialized coating, finishing etc, whether it be something as sophisticated as a ball valve or as simple as a pump sleeve, we can provide you with an optimized solution.
Stay tuned for our next article…