2011 Vaaler Awards: Four Products Earn Recognition

Chemical Processing has bestowed Vaaler Awards on products and services that can significantly improve plant operations and economics.

By Mark Rosenzweig, Editor in Chief

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Luminaire Puts Hazardous Environments in New Light

The L.J. Star Lumiglas Series 55-EX is the first high-power LED sight-glass luminaire suitable for illuminating the interior of a process vessel in a hazardous area. The compact impact- and vibration-resistant luminaire produces light without heat and boasts an operating life of about 50,000 hours. So, it can be used in heat-sensitive processes and harsh environments and in applications demanding exceptional reliability and low maintenance.

Prior to the introduction of the Series 55-EX in March 2010, the only hazardous-area-rated LED luminaires available were lower power, producing little light. The high-power LED luminaire provides high-contrast illumination while lasting about 50 times longer than a traditional halogen bulb.

Maintenance in hazardous areas poses extra demands and costs. Replacing a bulb requires a permit to turn off power to that circuit. Difficult-to-access fittings can make such a replacement even more expensive. So, the extended life of the Series 55-EX can add up to thousands of dollars in savings.

Moreover, the luminaire gives light comparable to a 45-W halogen bulb but only uses 9 W of energy. And, unlike a halogen, it doesn't have a fragile filament. The Series 55-EX emits a directional light source similar to daylight that provides greater ground definition and less eye fatigue than halogens.

The luminaire has a stainless steel housing and is designed for universal application in potentially explosive environments (ATEX gas zones 1 and 2, and dust zones 21 and 22). It can be used to illuminate the interior of tanks, hoppers, silos, agitators and other normally closed vessels and reactors as well as visual flow indicators, pipelines and bioreactors. It is said to be ideal for sterile areas.

Single-Spool Packing Curtails Valve Emissions

1622 Low Emissions Valve packing is designed to minimize emissions of light and heavy hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, volatile hazardous air pollutants, steam and most oxidizing chemicals from block valves. Independent tests for compliance with the first-ever packing emissions standard (API 622) showed the packing had an average emissions rate of 12 ppm, exceeding current requirements for the chemical, petrochemical and refining industries.

The simple-to-install single-spool braided packing, commercialized in May 2011, can achieve the performance of two-spool systems and more-expensive die-formed packing sets. Its flexible, metal-reinforced-graphite design suits it for applications at temperatures as high as 1,200°F in steam and 850°F in oxidizing atmospheres, and pressures up to 3,800 psig. The packing can handle 0–14 pH, except in strong oxidizers.

The non-hardening packing won't shrink or absorb moisture. The strands in the packing slide easily over one another in response to gland pressure, creating a secure and reliable seal. Passive corrosion inhibitors provide long-term protection against galvanic corrosion that can cause pitting of valve stems and stuffing boxes, ensuring better sealing performance and longer life. The product is fire safe to API 607 and comes with a five-year warranty that emissions won't exceed 100 ppm.

The packing fits a wide range of block valves and can handle any valve sealing applications where a graphite stem packing is suitable. So, standardizing on it can cut packing inventory, reduce chances of error in packing selection and simplify installation.

Plants can use 1622 packing to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consent degrees requiring "low leak valve packing technology" to remedy non-complying valves.

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