How technology is transforming the valves industry

The valve industry is seizing new opportunities and the statistics are overwhelming. The industry is experiencing an upsurge in the demand for valves.
 The valves today have practically found place in every sector. All core sectors like power, oil and gas, water, infrastructure projects, metal and mining, chemicals, drugs, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, require various types of valves for expansion of capacities, de-bottlenecking or routine maintenance and repair of factories. Valve is a small but critical support device that is omnipresent because it is a must for operation and control of all big devices and processes.
Current scenarioCurrently world valve market size is $ 62 Billion with North America and West Europe as the largest markets. The global demand for valves is expected to grow and reach $ 75 Billion by 2017. China, Africa, Middle East and India are likely to be the fastest growing markets while oil and gas, chemicals, power, metal, pharmaceuticals, marine and water resources will be the fastest growing segments. India constitutes around 2 per cent of Asia’s valve demand with Rs. 10,000-crore market size. The valve industry being an intermediate industry is completely dependent on the growth of the core sectors in the Indian economy. Therefore, with an expected growth in the oil and gas, power, pipeline, steel, infrastructure, petrochemicals and pharmaceutical industries, the demand for valves is also expected to gather steam. On an average total cost of all valves is approximately 2 per cent of total factory and machinery cost.
In India, Kirloskar Brothers Limited (KBL) is one of the largest manufacturers of valves since over six decades. It has got accredited with ISO 9001 and introduced sluice valve in India. KBL offers wide product range including cast steel GGC, single, double and triple offset butterfly valves, suction diffuser valves, triple duty valves, ball valves, tamper proof kinetic air valves, swing type non-return valve and foot valve, impulse cum thermodynamic steam trapping device, etc.
Transforming phaseValve industry is transforming from low technology valves to a range of high and medium technology products. The growth in nuclear industry is spurring the development of high technology valves. KBL with N, NPT and MO certifications will be at an advantageous position to cater the demand arising from nuclear industry. The certification also serves as an assurance of the capability to address the critical applications. Power generation shift from low efficiency conventional thermal power plants to high efficiency ultra-mega power plants with super critical coal fired boiler technology will create the demand for high technology valves.
The Indian valve industry needs to collaborate and work closely with the end users to rise up to the global challenges, demands and opportunities and grow together. 
Over the period, manufacturing technologies are evolving and new technologies are emerging in the valve industry. KBL boasts state-of-the-art manufacturing infrastructure including co-ordinate measuring machines, lapping machines, horizontal boring machines, large size vertical turret lathe, CNC machines and drilling machines. Collaboration with end users has helped KBL to come up with innovative products like cast steel gate, globe and check valves, gland less resilient seated sluice valves, tamper proof kinetic air valves, suction diffuser and triple duty valves.
KBL has recently acquired FM certification and UL listing for its gate valves for fire protection. It also offers structural analysis (stress and deflection), seismic analysis, thermal analysis, life cycle tests, energy audits and computational fluid dynamics analysis to its customers. With the advancements in electronics, valves are also becoming smart in its operations. Aptly designed, smart and energy efficient valves are the need of an hour. KBL suction diffusers and triple duty valves significantly reduce extensive piping, valves and space requirements.
Materials and challengesMaterial cost accounts to around 60 per cent of the total cost of valve. Carbon steel, stainless steel, duplex and super duplex steel, ductile iron or other materials in cast / forge form are needed to manufacture valves. Valve supply prices are fixed by the competition prevailing in the market, so it is imperative to improve on raw material and conversion costs. Higher operational efficiencies and innovation help add directly to the bottom line. KBL provides valves with advance technology glass flake filled coatings which improve reliability and performance in the hazardous environment. Today, the key challenge to deliver valve on time to the market is the availability of quality castings. In-house foundry significantly benefits KBL to produce and supply quality casting on schedule.
Export marketKBL exports valves to foreign countries like USA, Oman, Sharjah, Laos, Vietnam and South East Asia. There is replacement market in the mature economies and large untapped market exists in the developing economies of Africa, West Asia, South America and the undeveloped East Europe. Exports for Indian valve industry will grow at 10-12 per cent owing to the competitive edge with India like technically qualified manpower and low manufacturing costs.
With the national and international references like Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, Sohar Oman, National Thermal Power Corporation Sipat, Star Steel International LLC Rebar and Structural Mill Sharjah; KBL is well positioned to address the opportunities prevailing in the global market.
Authored by-
Ramchandra D Mahind,Associate Vice President & Head (Valves),Kirloskar Brothers Ltd.

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