Going with the flow
A valve is a device that regulates the flow of substances, either gases, fluidised solids, slurries, or liquids, by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways.
Valves are technically pipe fittings, but usually are discussed separately. A large variety of valves are available and they have many applications.
MSA is a modern industrial company, which ranks amongst today’s leading worldwide manufacturers of industrial valves. The business range consists of products manufactured according to API, ANSI, DIN, CSN and GOST standards. These include ball valves, gate valves, swing-check valves, globe valves and special valves for the nuclear industry.
MSA’s product range is supplied to a number of different sectors, such as the oil and gas industry, including the transportation, distribution and processing services, energy, which combines heat and power production, and heating distribution systems.
As a world-renowned manufacturer of valves, the company works closely with its customers and partners to be able to determine the changing needs of the market. Libor Kremel, marketing manager of MSA comments: “One of the most important strengths of the business is its long tradition in the valve manufacturing market. With a history of approximately 100 years, and together with our clients and partners, we have developed the quality of our valves so they meet and exceed the requirements of the industry. In addition to this, we also have extremely experienced technical designers and engineers. This is a very strong part of the business and we have specialists for each operation within the company.”
Established in 1890 as the Holuscha Company, MSA began life processing timber. This was followed with production of steam pumps for central heating systems in 1920. Over time, the company adapted its product range and in 1947 the development of valves started.
During 2007, MSA made some very significant investments into its manufacturing facilities. In June 2007, the company purchased a new ball machine. This was one of the most important investments for MSA over the past few years.
The new machine will have a production range of ball sizes from DN 300 to DN 1500. This machine offers many advantages comparing to older equipment. As it is a single machine, with a ‘cross’ design (the grinding unit is perpendicular to the turning unit), it increases the machining accuracy because the product can be machined in one setting. Other benefits include rigidity, advanced control systems and improved quality of individual designs.
Additionally, the machine features a ‘Teleservice’ facility, which monitors diagnostics, condition and faults of the machine. This control system will be permanently connected, through a modem unit and telephone line, to the service department of the manufacturer in Italy. Therefore, it is possible to repair certain faults remotely, both efficiently and without the necessity for service engineers to come to MSA. Furthermore, faults, which need engineers’ physical attention, can be identified before they arrive, therefore they can bring the parts needed.
As part of the organisation’s 2007 investment plan, the company also significantly invested in a new workplace for coating of valves. Using Protegol coatings, the area has improved air conditioning equipment, which not only prevents harmful substances being released into the atmosphere but also supplies fresh air into the workplace.
Lastly, the company has invested in the purchase of three new powerful welding machines, measuring techniques, assembly equipment and a vehicle, with a load capacity of five tonnes, for internal transport for heavier and larger materials.
Through MSA’s continued investment into its manufacturing facilities, the company is able to increase its efficiency, which in turn improves the overall quality of its product range. By producing valves to such a high standard, the organisation has been involved in some very important offshore projects. Libor comments: “We are exporting our valves to around 40 countries – the main areas include Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the US, India, China, Indonesia, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. We delivered the valves into several important projects, such as the oil and gas pipeline Druzba from Russia to Germany or the Gas pipeline Baku-Tbilisi- Ceyhan from Azerbaijan to Turkey. We have recently undertaken a major project in China, which involves around 220 ball valves of 16” to 32” inch in sizes being exported to the area.”
Excellent references from Turkey, China and Korea helped MSA gain another contract in Asia. MSA was the valve supplier for a large gas pipeline construction project across the Indonesian islands. This South Sumatra – West Java Gas Pipeline Project was built to transport and distribute natural gas from the gas fields near the cities Grissik and Pagardewa, which lie in south Sumatra, to the west part of the Java island. This is the longest gas pipeline in the country and it will also help to solve energy shortage problems in the west part of Java. In addition, it will bring higher living standard for the local communities and will help to maintain economic growth.
Deliveries of valves were undertaken through co-operation with a local company – PT Multi, which helped MSA complete the project. The construction was initiated in 2005 and was completed at the end of 2006. Furthermore, there are now possibilities to extend the pipeline to other islands in the future, which could mean further contracts for MSA.
Looking at the organisation’s key to success, Libor concludes: “At MSA, we have employees who have been with the business for nearly 30 years. We are trying to combine these highly skilled people with our younger employees, therefore, over the time, every employee has the same high level of expertise and they become specialists in their areas. Looking to the future, we plan to use this strength to optimise the growing gas market. There is an increasing number of LNG terminals being constructed, which will all need pipeline connections, and these will all need valves. Around 70 per cent of our projects are currently active in the gas industry, and we believe there are still many opportunities for growth in this area.”
Industry: Industrial valves