Low Maintenance, Low Cost Valves
Navy SBIR 2010.2 - Topic N102-160
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - dean.r.putnam@navy.mil
Opens: May 19, 2010 - Closes: June 23, 2010

N102-160 TITLE: Low Maintenance, Low Cost Valves

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground/Sea Vehicles, Materials/Processes

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO Aircraft Carriers, ACAT IV

OBJECTIVE: To develop a family of valves which require substantially less maintenance than current valves, but have comparable outside dimensions and comparable pressure/flow performance characteristics as typical vales equipped with standard gland packing at a low cost. The maintenance performance objective is essentially zero maintenance to the valve stem or gland seal for seven years, with the exception of an annual visual inspection. For purposes of discussion, the valve would be fully stroked twice daily, then left half open. The valves must be suitable for installation aboard warships, thus entailing shock, vibration, EMI and fire hazard specifications.

DESCRIPTION: Thousands of valves operate aboard a typical warship, each requiring maintenance to ensure smooth and full cycling capability, as well as to prevent leaking by. The number of valves on a warship is higher than on commercial ships, due to redundant piping and cross-connecting systems for quick service restoration in the event of battle damage. The man hours associated with valve maintenance is considerable, and often requires system outages to remove and replace the gland packing, remove verdigris, and hone and polish the valve stem to near-new condition. This can easily take one man-hour for a single half-inch valve. In most valves, small leaks around the stem develop over time, as there are some clearances between the stem and the gland packing to allow movement around the stem. Mildly corrosive fluids such as seawater can eat at the surface of the valve stem, making it rougher and less likely to seal. Gritty contaminants in the fluid, or adhering to the valve stem, may be drawn in to the interstitial space and act abrasively, thus degrading the gland packing and valve stem even further.

A new design of valves would ideally obviate the need for valve stem maintenance while simultaneously reducing cost of parts, associated manhours, and increasing readiness.

PHASE I: Investigate concepts for development of a low cost, low maintenance valve that would allow low-speed (40RPM nominal) rotary valve actuation without substantially leaking and without requiring substantial maintenance for a saltwater or freshwater system. Determine the salient factors that affect performance of the gland packing, and determine a way of meeting the above performance objectives. Compare the technical alternatives for feasibility. Report on all findings, making recommendations as to the most promising and feasible technical approaches to benefit from further development.

PHASE II: Design brass-board valves which incorporate advanced technology, and demonstrate their effectiveness in reducing valve maintenance and reducing cost. As time limitations may prohibit the full evaluation of wear over the course of a seven year lifecycle, a special test jig is to be designed and used to simulate several years of stoking, corrosion, vibration, contamination, and shipboard installation, using tribology theory and engineering judgment. After the test period, the brass-board valves will be disassembled and inspected to evaluate wear. Make changes as may be indicated by the results of the test, and test a revised valve using the same test jig, and inspect it for wear. Presuming the effort is successful, make an estimate of lifecycle costs of using the new valves, as compared to standard valves. Develop the logistics support package including provisioning technical documentation, drawings, operating instructions, installation, training and maintenance procedures as necessary.

PHASE III: Conduct full-scale manufacturing, Fleet introduction and fielding, and computer based training as necessary.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Commercial factories, commercial naval vessels, industrial environments.

REFERENCES:
1. NSTM 505- Piping Systems

2. Joint Fleet Forces Manual- Revision B (COMFLTFORCOMINST 4790.3)

3. Standard Navy Valve Technical Manual (NAVSEA 0948-LP- 012-5000)

KEYWORDS: Reduced maintenance, valve, leakage, seawater, valve stem, fire main, cooling water, reduced cost

** TOPIC AUTHOR (TPOC) **
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