The Hidden Costs Of Gate Valves
Businesses are looking for more and more ways to cut costs while maintaining profits, especially as COVID-19 makes maintaining productivity without compromising safety difficult. One option many may consider is using cheaper materials for installations and repairs. Gate valves, which are available in a wide range of options from different manufacturers, may seem like a suitable area to cut back, but the total lifecycle costs of low-grade gate valves can cost more than you think.
Most common gate valve failure modes
Over their lifetime, gate valves can be exposed to a variety of harsh conditions which could lead to failure, such as corrosive soils or ground movement due to freezing. Our recent survey conducted among water supply companies found that gate valves failed:
- 22% of the time by not closing anymore (jammed);
- 20% of the time by corrosion;
- 20% of the time by leakage at the bonnet and flange connections; and
- 22% of the time by being hard to actuate (high torque).
Lower quality gate valves can be even more prone to these types of failures. Poor processing consistency and less stringent quality requirements can lead to manufacturing defects that cause early failure of moving parts or lead to leakage at sealing faces. Parts that fall outside acceptable tolerances may still be used by these manufacturers, which can unfortunately result in partial or complete jamming of gate valves after installation, leaving the line with a reduced flow or the inability to be shut-off. The use of lower quality materials and processing methods can also lead to gate valve failures, resulting from increased corrosion at coating imperfections, inconsistent material properties, increased damage from cavitation, or brittle components that crack more easily under stress. Additionally, using materials with a lower corrosion resistance can lead to highly destructive localized corrosion due to the difference in corrosion potential between different materials. Corrosion can also result from poor-quality designs, which could include sharp edges that cause coatings to easily debonding, complex geometries that prevent adequate coating, or crevices that create highly corrosive environments.
What are the costs of low-quality gate valves?
The total cost of ownership for gate valves must consider more than the initial installation cost of the system, especially for poor quality, inexpensive valves which inevitably fail before high-quality gate valve alternatives. Premature failure can lead to any number of the following:
- Additional labor and equipment costs for excavation, de-installation, and repair
- Additional replacement material costs
- Damage to surrounding infrastructure from water damage or erosion which can be severe at times, when a pipeline can’t be shut-off in time due to a jammed gate valve
- Lost production, downtime costs, or penalties when the network is out of service
- Scheduling issues and delays on other jobs for ad hoc repairs of failed gate valves
- Costs for new permits
- Costs for non-revenue water (NRW) or water loss if there is leakage
- Disruption of surrounding infrastructure and public life due to traffic obstruction or the need to shut off other utilities
- Damage to reputation for needing to prematurely replace damaged valves
- Potential health and safety risks from the valve materials leaching hazardous contaminants or from the ingress of pollutants through leaky valves
- Disposal cost of old materials.
Long-term cost savings
While gate valves which only meet minimum required quality standards may seem like a suitable cost-saving measure initially, they frequently lead to more unanticipated costs down the road. Unexpected repair work and surprise damages resulting from gate valve failure are frustrating to customers, upsetting their schedule, disrupting their operations, and adding unwelcome additional costs to their maintenance budgets. High-quality gate valves are the solution. High-quality gate valves offset their higher initial purchase cost over time by adding significant long-term value, both in terms of a longer lifetime and positive impacts on the reputation of the installer.
Hawle as a sustainable valve manufacturer
Trusted by hundreds of waterworks operations around the globe, Hawle gate valves (available up to DN 600) are the ideal solution for your next installation. For over 70 years, Hawle’s top-grade materials and strict quality standards have made our gate valves the best and one of the most durable on the market. You can also feel good about your purchase, as our products are all made in Europe using responsibly sourced materials and under safe working conditions with fair wages.
Look forward to our upcoming article on selecting a gate valve that will last, where we will share our expert knowledge so that you know how to identify when a gate valve will stand the test of time and leave your customers satisfied. We will help you to recognize which valves will excel in service and which valves will fail under pressure.
Would you like to learn more about Hawle's high-quality gate valves? Please use our contact form to get in touch. We are happy to advise you: