Bypass Valves – Have a plan for a way out
Creating an ExPress® plant takes dedication, decision making, and planning. Part of a plant’s success is ensuring the process flow is correct prior to installation. The flow should take into account potential issues that could happen during production. Things are never perfect, so when something happens, you need to have a plan. In the case of plant process flow, it is important to use bypass valves to redirect product flow.
In a previous blog, we discussed diverter valves on our vented conditioning conveyors. The concept is similar when applying to other areas of the plant. If there is an issue downstream, product can be diverted to another area to avoid sudden stops or other potentially costly issues. The system does not need to be complex. Diverting product to a tote bag or bin is usually sufficient. The goal is to avoid downstream issues due to a build up of product. Diverting product somewhere else allows enough time to properly shut down upstream equipment as opposed to sudden stops.
Bypass valves can be placed anywhere in the system. It can be easy to go overboard, so strategic placement is key. Generally, they should be placed at the end of any major processing area. For instance, they could be placed on an elevator between the cleaning and extrusion lines. This way, if the extrusion line has an issue, product can be diverted away from the downstream issue and allow the cleaning equipment to be properly shut down. If the option exits, placing them off of any elevator feeding a piece of equipment would be helpful. That way, any issues due to equipment failure will not cause immediate upstream problems.
Ultimately, bypass valves give you flexibility in your system. They are a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Not only are they useful for sudden interruptions, but they can be used to clean out conveying lines. If a line needs to be cleared of product, and there is no alternative way to discharge product, it could be very tricky to find the right solution. Having options for product flow is one way to ensure a properly running plant.
Contact our team to discuss the use of bypass valves when designing the plant process flow for your operation.