Decisions, Decisions: Should You Rebuild or Replace your Rotary Valves?
Sanitary rotary valves, including stainless steel and demountable designs used in dairy, food grade, and other applications, can last many years. However, there will be times due to normal wear and tear or damage from mishandling parts that will leave a rotary valve running poorly or not at all. When this occurs there are two options for restoring optimum operation: rebuilding or replacing. The answer to this question depends on a lot of elements, a couple of them being budget and application, while weighing your options consider.
Everyone has a budget to adhere to, and rotary valve maintenance is no exception. When it comes to the cost associated with rebuilding or replacing, it’s important to remember two things.
- In most instances the cost of rebuilding a sanitary, stainless steel rotary valve is much lower than the cost to replace the complete unit. It is substantially less to rebuild your rotary valve because the only costs involved include machining and parts, returning the valve to proper working order.
- If you choose to rebuild your rotary valve the possibility for system downtime occurs, and downtime equals lost revenue. One way to avoid this is to purchase a spare valve kept on hand for maintenance and rebuilding situations. In circumstances where a single valve could be used in multiple locations within one plant, a spare rotary valve could pay for itself in short order when considering the cost of production down time. Though the upfront costs are substantially more, the long-term savings increase with each rebuild completed.
As long as a high-quality valve was purchased and used in its intended application, a typical sanitary grade rotary valve can be rebuilt up to 3-4 times before it is necessary to replace the valve altogether especially if the application is light duty. Some things to consider about the rotary valve’s application include.
- How often is the valve taken apart for cleaning? If the valve is taken apart often and it is an old unit with no slide support system, you may want to consider upgrading the rotary valve to a more modern design built for regular disassembly. There have been major advances in the last decade with sanitary rotary valve design and these valves are much less prone to damage from regular cleaning service. There may be a chance your old rotary valve can still be rebuilt as a spare for the next time the new valve needs to be serviced.
- Is the application severe duty? If the rotary valve experiences high pressure differentials, high temperatures, abrasive product, or other harsh environments it may require more work to bring the rotary valve back to the precise tolerances required for the application. While the cost for rebuilding will likely still end up being far less than replacement, it might not be possible to rebuild the rotary valve multiple times and still achieve optimum performance.
One of the main things to consider is long-term cost savings potential. If you develop a plan to keep up with the proper maintenance of your rotary valves, you can potentially save thousands of dollars in the long run while avoiding costly system downtime.
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