Compressor valve maintenance solutions
By Keefe Borden21 March 2023
The adage that it’s generally cheaper to maintain a piece of equipment than to buy a new one is almost always true in the gas compression industry, where new equipment can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Operators have known that for decades and spend readily to maintain the assets they have.
Ultimate Chemicals, based in Moore, Oklahoma, has helped anyone who owns gas compression equipment to keep up maintenance with a suite of chemical products, some of which can be applied without shutting down operations. The company has two valve treatment chemical solutions: the VTR and the VTI, which stand for Valve Treatment Removed and Valve Treatment Injection.
The VTR is the company’s soaking solution, designed to clean reciprocating compressor valves with a timed submersion. The timing varies depending on the condition of the valve, but most valves can be cleaned within an hour in the solution, said David Vannostran, president at Ultimate Chemicals.
The company’s VTI treatment is injected into the suction line of a reciprocating compressor while in operation and is atomized into the chamber to treat the valves without shutting down the compressor.
Typically, the application calls for about two quarts per day keep contamination from building up on the valves. Harsher environments could require about 1 gpd (3.8 L/d) of the chemical solution, depending on the size, material and amount of buildup, Vannostran said. In addition to valves, the VTI solution has also been seen to maintain clean cylinders and cooler tubes.
With both treatments, the goal remains the same – keeping valves clean to maintain efficient compressor operation, mitigate costs and reduce downtime.
The two products are nearly identical, with the VTI having a few different properties to prevent any potential adverse effects on the compressor components from extended use.
In addition to extending the life of valves and other components, the VTI allows the operator to continue running the compressor.
“If you do the math, the savings add up pretty quickly,” he said. “For a gathering area that deals with contamination on a daily basis, imagine cutting the cost of maintaining compressor valves in half or more. Many have flushed their scrubbers to help avoid that buildup dumping onto the valves.”
The results for each customer are a bit different, as contamination varies between areas, but 95% have seen the payoff, he said.
Eliminate cooling system guesswork
On March 1st, Ultimate Chemicals teamed-up with Lab One Inc. to launch an Enhanced Coolant Analysis (ECA) program to provide an independent, unbiased lab report viewable online. This will empower customers with the data needed to make a fully informed decision with the best guidance to maintain and restore their cooling systems. The ECA report will not only show the numbers, but indicate the best remedy required to restore the cooling system to zero hour. The ECA will indicate if the Preventive Maintenance Flush (PMF), Rust Removal Flush (RRF), or Heavy Duty Flush (HDF) is needed. The Ultimate Chemicals Enhanced Coolant Analysis test kit is available at the online store. “As soon as the results are available, the customer is notified via email, and they can access the results online,” Vannostran said.
Ultimate Chemicals has grown steadily in recent years and has added distributors in India, Africa and Latin America to keep up with the market interest. The company recently chose Charms Agencies as its exclusive distributor and services provider for India.
The search for the right partner took the better part of a year, said David Vannostran, president at Ultimate Chemicals. “We wanted to take a long look around and make sure we had the right fit.”
In addition to distributing Ultimate Chemical’s products, Charms will also serve as a service center for the company in India and will offer the same services that Ultimate offers customers in North America.
Charms Agencies offers upgrade packages for compressors, performance & condition monitoring services and compressor reliability services for customers in India. The company, based in Kolkata, India, is a distributor for Zahroof Valves, Chart Industries and FW Murphy Production Controls.
More recently, the company partnered with Furner Supply as its distributor for South America, Central America, Mexico, and Africa. Based in Houston, Texas, Furner Supply is led by Eliazar Cruz.
The company recently opened up an online store, which includes a website that showcases its extensive product line of chemicals used to clean industrial engines and cooling systems in natural gas, pipeline, and compressor stations. All products have information, directions for use, and safety data sheets available online.