Everything You Need to Know About Valve Exercisers

Why Do We Need Valves and Valve Exercisers?

Valves are crucial to the transportation of municipal water from place to place, as well as in sewage processing and plumbing systems.  Even the human body has valves!  From the age of the Romans and their aqueducts, valves have been used to control the flow of water to households.  While valves are vital to regulating, directing, and controlling the flow of water, valves are also used with gases, solids, and slurries.  Modern-day municipal water and waste agencies use valves to direct water flow, adjust water pressure, shut down water access, and prevent backflow.  The public water systems are vital to a community’s infrastructure, and the citizens depend on the uninterrupted supply of potable water.  Should a valve fail to prevent backflow, an entire community’s water supply will become contaminated and unusable until properly sanitized.  When those valves fail, it is up to the municipal workers to access the faulty valve(s) and repair and/or replace it.

The best way to avoid damaged valves is through the user of a valve exerciser.  Much like a treadmill helps exercise your heart (and all of its valves), a valve exerciser is a tool used to turn valves on and off repeatedly to ensure the valve does not become stiff and malfunction.  Valve exercisers are vital to the uninterrupted flow of water for cities and surrounding communities.  Without this maintenance, valves will wear and not be able to fully do their jobs.  Nobody wants a backflow of sewage in their drinking water.  To ensure faulty valves are not an issue, municipal agencies will create valve exercising programs where workers conduct valve turning with their valve exercisers to loosen and then tighten the valves down again to ensure they are functioning optimally and have not seized or suffered from corrosion.  Regular use of valve exercisers helps keep the valves limber and free of debris.

Advances in Technology

Valve exercising is not as easy as it may appear.  It can be back-breaking work that has to be done with precision.  Thousands of people rely on the proper functioning of those valves that are being exercised.  Valves are not always placed in the most easily accessible locations.  As a matter of fact, to avoid non-municipal affiliated people from tinkering with the valves, many are placed in hard-to-reach areas.  This makes accessing valve exercisers difficult for the workers and their valve turning. The early 2000s saw truck-mounted valve exercisers that were both inconvenient and expensive. In an effort to alleviate some of the expense and size of the truck-powered valve exerciser which was needed to access and turn some stiff and corroded valves, companies like U.S.SAWS have developed technology like lightweight, battery-powered valve exercisers.  The portability of these valve exercisers makes turning valves a much simpler task.   As valve exercising research and development has grown, it has allowed advances in other repetitive valve operations as well, such as hydrant exercising.

The U.S.SAWS VEX-400

The U.S.SAWS VEX-400 is a perfect example of a solid, portable valve exerciser with the power and safety features needed for successful valve work.  These exercises are made of alloy aluminum and hardened steel which use a Metabo drill motor as its power source.  Safety features include a trigger handguard, stable foot base, overload protection, and a shear key that will break before the gearbox, preserving the integrity of the exerciser and its user.  This device has a rotation counter that tracks turns rotating in either direction, comes with three batteries for a full day’s work without the need for recharging, and has multiple extensions allowing the user access to a wide range of valve depths.  This powerful tool also has variable torque settings ranging up to 400 peak ft/lbs.  After use, it breaks down for easy transport in its carrying case.

U.S.SAWS has a valve exerciser to meet any municipal worker’s needs from the portable and powerful VEX-400 to the Deluxe Valve Exerciser Package – Hydrant KitContact us today to discuss your options.

Truck-mounted Valve Exerciser vs. Hand-held Valve Exerciser

This process has also presented as a labor-intensive system using t- bars and a variety of hand-operated devices. Massive truck-mounted units became available in the early 2000s; however, their size and expense make them appropriate only for selective Municipal customers.

The U.S.Saws’ design team developed a battery-powered, lightweight version that offers the operators weight to absorb the torque reaction of the handheld device. This allowed U.S.Saws to increase output torque and still have a safe design for operators. The U.S.Saws Valve Exerciser VEX 400  offers many of the features of the more massive truck-mounted units while maintaining a lightweight, portable design while producing 400 pounds of output torque, a 9-foot shaft depth, a digital counter, and variable torque output, this tool does the work of the larger units for a fraction of the cost.

Many municipal customers have reported that having a water valve exerciser can pay for itself in as little as one salvaged valve. Once the device becomes part of the regular maintenance package, operators will use this to close all valves for repairs, maintenance, inspection, line breaks, sluice gates, dams, and other applications.

Continuing innovation for this tool also offers hydrant exercising OS and Y valve operations for plant maintenance in other repetitive valve operations.

U.S.Saws’ culture of innovation continues to provide solutions for municipal operators year after year.

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