Monitoring technology for assessing the condition of shut-off valves (ValveEar)

Integration of acoustic sensors into a valve turning device for monitoring tightness of shut-off valves

Device for the maintenance of shut-off valves in use, product photo: 3S Antriebe GmbH

ValveEar is engaged in the further development of a valve maintenance device for the precise assessment of the tightness of shut-off valves. For this purpose, the recording of torque and speed is extended by the recording of audio spectroscopic data.

Shut-off valves are used to control the flow of water in supply networks. This allows line sections to be separated, e.g. for locating leaks, maintenance measures, construction work or in the event of accidents. In order to ensure reliable functioning of the valves (mobility, tightness), regular maintenance must be carried out. Otherwise, limited functionality may result from deposits, mechanical defects and material wear.

The maintenance of shut-off valves already includes their regular operation. For this purpose, mobile gate valve turning devices have been increasingly used in recent years. These offer the advantage of operating larger valves with less manpower as well as recording the torque and position of the valve. The latter provides the basis for an objective assessment of the valve's condition.

For water suppliers, it is of great importance to know not only the position of the valve but also its tightness when closed. Since this is not possible on the basis of torque data alone, an acoustic sensor is to be added to a gate valve turning device from the company 3S Antriebe as part of the project in order to be able to record flow noises, for example. Both the torque data and the acoustic data are to be converted into usable information for the water supplier as part of the project.

For the development and testing of the prototype, the tasks are divided according to the core competences of 3S Antriebe GmbH (3SA) and DVGW-TZW (TZW). 3SA is responsible for the design and construction of the prototype and all the necessary work steps. The Water Distribution Department with the Digitalisation Division at the Dresden site is taking on the development of an evaluation approach for recognising patterns both in the acoustic data and in the data of the number of gears and the torque. Within the framework of the research project, various methods from the field of audio and spectroscopy will be applied and tested with regard to their suitability. In addition, the various development stages of the device will be tested on the test stand and model network of the TZW under practical conditions.