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Plugging Some Holes

Updated: Jul 20, 2018

After you guys loved the post about diaphragm protectors, I kind of had the urge to talk about a different part. After all, it's good to change things up from "Kyle goes to the fab shop, takes pictures, and tries to figure out what work was done since the last visit a few days ago."

Anyway, I decided to go deep on a part that often lives just a bit southwest of the diaphragm protector. Let's talk about plug valves.

So, obviously, it's a valve. I realize that I'm presenting 100-level material here, mostly because I'm just learning it myself (as they say, you only need to be one page ahead of the students in the textbook to be a teacher, right?), but I'm going to assume that all of you know the basics of what a valve essentially does. Cool?

There are a couple things that set plug valves apart. For one thing, they're simple, with few moving parts. As a result, repairs can often be done on site - in fact, we sell a plug valve repair kit that includes most of the guts of the plug valve like the plug itself, the insert that surrounds it, and a few of the inner seals and o-rings.

Speaking of guts, I happen to have a supplier catalog and a camera nearby, and some Photoshop skill (seriously, you take a picture of a page of something and try to make it look this good, no screenshots or scanners). I turned the thing on its side just because it's a better fit for the format we have here. So here's, well, everything.

The repair kit I mentioned, incidentally, includes numbers 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18 if you need one. But, point being, it's not super complex. The plug (14) can let stuff through the hole, or it can be turned the other way and...not do that. That's actually a worthy selling point though: what these might lack in versatility next to the near-ubiquitous butterfly valve, they gain back a little through the fact that with a butterfly valve, some part of the disc is always obstructing the flow, even in the open position. But check out this sickness:

All hole, no disc. Generally speaking, you'll see the plug valve heavily involved in the different types of manifolds we use, from the pumps out to the iron.

Another thing about these: they're not for playing around. They're (at least the ones I'm mostly talking about here) Figure 1502 with a 15,000 psi working pressure rating and, like most things, come in several sizes. The one I used for photos is among the smallest, 2" x 1". You want to see a big one, you carry it outside for the good lighting.

That said, neither of those points, as great as they are, are what attracted me to this particular part above others. It was the thing labeled number 4 above. I'm nothing if not honest with all of you, and when I first saw it, I thought it was some sort of pipe or something. Why is so much of it open then? I don't know, I didn't get that far. But I was very confused by it.

How great is that? You can bolt a handle to the thing and have it reach up to the platform! Let's see your basic ball valve do that. Like Thomas Edison once said, "innovation is good."

So there you have it. Plug valves are among our very best friends. And, of course, the sales team would like me to mention that if you need one or many, or just want to chat about them with people who know way more than I do, get in touch.

Until next time,

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