Automatic and manual ceramic ball valves offer a cost-effective alternative to solenoid valves and provide better wear resistance. Lynette Morrey, New Business Development Manager of Allmech, leading South African manufacturer of boilers and supplier of water treatment components, says that various innovations mean that these valves are now suitable for a greater number of applications than ever before.
“Ceramic core ball valves are ideal for low torque operation; they’re durable and long-lasting and they’re resistant to corrosion, abrasion and chemical wear,” Morrey says. “They are a low-maintenance option and we’re finding more and more customers choosing them, particularly in humid conditions. They don’t need constant monitoring, routine inspections or regular cleaning and re-calibration.”
Morrey says common applications include seawater desalination, paper mills, printing and dyeing, electroplating, smelting, energy, medical, chemical, fluid intelligent control, smart card water meters, sewage, water reclaiming, softener and filtration water treatment plants, boreholes and domestic water treatment applications.
Eugene Swart, Managing Member of ZAO Water Systems, has been using Runxin valves since 2009 and partnering with Allmech – an authorised agent for Runxin in southern Africa – since 2017 for the company’s valve requirements.
“Allmech has introduced various valves to us. We started experimenting with the different valves and the applications and we realised that we can control quite complex tasks by utilising the different valves and even control the ball valves with the filter valves electronically,” Swart says. “We are still developing other uses for the valves and I think there are many more to discover in future.”
Clinton Saunders, Operations Director at Greenchain Group, says the water treatment company looked into importing ceramic ball valves for the business, but ultimately decided to partner with Allmech because of stock availability and technical support.
“Runxin is a brand that we know and trust,” Saunders says. “We make use of a lot of the Runxin filter heads too. From a reliability and robustness point of view, those valves are basically bulletproof. We primarily use
the ceramic ball valves for filtration applications to control and direct fluid flow. Most recently, we’ve used ceramic ball valves on a seawater desalination system for a cold storage facility.”
Morrey says the Runxin ceramic core valves are well-suited to desalination applications because they are corrosion-resistant and relatively waterproof. “These valves are hard sealing (not sealed by extruding rubber) with a ball core and valve seat made of corundum ceramic,” she explains. “The ball core and seat are ground and paired causing a self-lubricating effect. This in turn makes the manual ball valve easier to open and close due to their low torque.”
The automatic ball valves in the range have a self-balancing structure with the ceramic ball opening at an average of 12.5 seconds (far slower than traditional actuated ball valves). “The valve body and stainless-steel shaft are manufactured to match the ball perfectly, which ensures that the ball is well balanced and has low vibration. This reduces water hammering, which may cause damage to pipework, membranes and plant equipment,” says Morrey.
Sintered at the ultra-high temperature of 1680˚C, the Runxin ceramic ball valve undergoes various grinding processes ensuring that the ball core roundness is accurate to less than 6µm. “They can handle an operating pressure of 0-16MPa and operate at temperatures between 0-60˚C,” says Morrey. “The EPDM seal is also acid- and alkali-resistant. This makes the valves suitable for applications like copper recycling and in metal extraction plants.”
Saunders says that Greenchain Group primarily focuses on technology and seeks to maintain its position as a specialist and expert in the membrane application field, which means the company chooses to partner with trusted technologies and brands. “We’re very focused on quality suppliers and quality products, and when it comes to valves, that’s Runxin,” he says.