Field Serviceable Compressor Valves: Operational & Financial Impacts

In 2014, ZVI commercially introduced the StraightFlo™ compressor valve as a direct replacement for both traditional OEM valves and aftermarket valves. Since then, StraightFlo valves have been proven performers in terms of efficiency, durability, productivity, and emissions reduction.

But it’s important not to overlook another virtue of the patented StraightFlo design: the ability to totally disrupt conventional valve maintenance by making valves serviceable in the field. With a design that includes replaceable modular reed sealing elements and housings that never need machining, StraightFlo valves eliminate both conventional valve repair and the need for complete valve assembly replacement.

No Housing Replacement… Ever

With a StraightFlo valve, normal operating wear is contained in replaceable modules. There is zero wear and tear on the metal valve housings because they never contact moving parts. This is a completely different approach from traditional valve designs where the metal seats and guards suffer wear from repeated high-velocity impacts by the sealing elements as the valves open and close.

Conventional valves often require machining at offsite  machine shops before they can be returned to service. For some profiled ring and plate valves, machining procedures are extremely precise and can only be done by certified service providers with CNC machining equipment.

Furthermore, traditional seats and guards can only be machined a limited number of times before they reach minimum thickness and must be scrapped and replaced with new ones. At ZVI, we refer to this as ‘The Repair & Replace Hamster Wheel.’ These costs add up over time and drain OpEx budgets.

Compare that to StraightFlo housings, which typically have a useful life several orders of magnitude longer than conventional valves. In fact, ZVI offers a 10-year limited on valve housings .

Inventory Advantages

Each StraightFlo module is a specialized component with a metallic reed to control the flow of gas. Modules are standardized in size so the same part can be used in various valve sizes (larger valves simply have more modules) and in many different compressors. For compressor operators, especially those with large and diverse equipment fleets, this part versatility can drastically reduce the number of parts in inventory when compared to stocking complete spare valve sets and repair kits.

Controllers and finance professionals know all too well how excessive working capital can be tied up in spare valves. With StraightFlo valves, operators only inventory spare modules. 

Simple Field Repair

Modular reed design also enables a streamlined repair procedure that can be performed entirely at the compressor location.

When StraightFlo valves need service, a technician opens the valve, replaces worn modules with new ones – by hand and with no special tools – and then reinstalls the valve without ever having to leave the compressor deck. A valve is completely restored and ready to operate in about 10 to 15 minutes.

Think about how this approach to valve repair saves time and money by eliminating the need for spare valve assemblies, vast inventories of replacement parts, off-site machining, pressure testing, special tools, and extensive training of technicians to master valve repair.

Replacement modules can be carried in a container the size of a shoe box for one compressor or a small file cabinet for multiple installations. In most cases, only three to four different module configurations are needed to cover an entire compressor station, refinery, or offshore platform – irrespective of compressor size and compressor brand.

ZVI customers say their inventory carrying costs are reduced by up to 80% versus traditional valve maintenance. Logistics are also simpler compared with the effort required to maintain and distribute large numbers of spare parts.

The savings in time, money, and resources only multiply when this concept is applied fleet-wide. And for hard-to-reach locations like remote pipeline compressor stations or compressors on offshore platforms, field repairability is a game-changer in terms of operational readiness.

Lower Life Cycle Costs

Here’s another important advantage. With StraightFlo valves, you only need to buy one set of valves for your application.

With conventional valves, users have to purchase two sets of valves – one for running and the other for repair/warehouse spares. Converting to StraightFlo valves eliminates the need for spares… reducing these expenses by half and significantly lowering life cycle costs.

See for Yourself

If you’d like to see a valve repair procedure – or try it yourself – we’ll be happy to send a helpful ZVI representative to your location for a demonstration. Just call 713-554-2678.


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