User story – Correct loading by securing valve alignment Valve positioning

A large Spanish refinery operates its own tank farm for petrol storage. The tanks contain various types of product. Gasoline of various qualities and compositions is stored in separate tanks. In the past, misalignment of manual valves resulted in the loading of the wrong product quality into a barge. Since this was only discovered after the ship left, it had to return to be emptied, cleaned and refilled, resulting in avoidable clean-up costs.

Valve position indiactors for tank parks

Incorrect valve alignment had resulted in the loading of wrong product

To avoid such mistakes, a solution was required for 1.100+ manual valves

The company sought for a way to eliminate the risk to such events. A common solution would be to add actuators to the valves. These can be programmed such that misalignment is impossible and clearly indicate the position of a valve. An additional benefit of actuators, that operators should no longer go into the field to operate the many valves manually, was irrelevant to this customer. Company policy required manual valve operation in many cases. Nevertheless, the costs of equipping 1.100 + valves with an actuator are very high.

Dedicated position indicators for multi-turn valves are hard to come by

Finding alternative ways to get position feedback of their manual, mostly multi-turn valves proved difficult. Although 90° switchboxes are readily available, reliable solutions for multi-turn valves are hard to be found.

Valve Position Indicator Netherlocks

Thorough testing proved VPI to be the best position indicator available

After an extensive search, several alternatives were piloted, for a period of over 2 years. By the end of that period, the Netherlocks Valve Position Indicator proved to be the most reliable position indicator available in the market

With VPI, the company found a highly cost effective but state of the art alternative. By installing the VPI on all manual valves in the tank farm, the refinery avoided a 4x higher investment in actuators. With this, the position of each manual valve became visible in the control room, giving the operators a good overview of the alignment of the many valves in the field before starting loading operations.

VPI offers 75% cost savings compared to actuators

Quite soon after installation VPI proved its worth. It enabled the operators to timely discover an accidental valve misalignment. Loading was timely canceled, avoiding delays and unexpected costs.