Valin's Hydraulics Specialists Test Butterfly Valves for Dams


A large utility company had a series of dams along a river which control the flow of water into the local area. These dams are deemed as a critical infrastructure by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If the spillway valves for these dams ever failed to open or close, it would create flooding down river and could possibly cause the dam to overflow.

The spillways are controlled by large butterfly valves which are actuated utilizing hydraulics. The system includes pumps, cylinders, valves, accumulators and filtration. The utility company wanted someone outside of the company to provide an on-site evaluation of the hydraulic system in place. Testing the 155” butterfly valves and actuators consisted of opening and closing the valves 3 times within a certain time period using the hydraulic pressure within the closed loop system. This would be necessary should a power failure occur. Engineers at the company had contacted another vendor the previous year to evaluate the hydraulic system. The vendor came back with a quotation to replace all of the hydraulic components and did not offer to test or provide any assistance for the current system in place. They were only interested in selling parts. The project was subsequently put on hold.


Valin received a call from one of the main engineers at the utility company regarding an unrelated project to the testing project. Our technical specialists went out to the site to assist the customer and during the on-site visit, the engineer mentioned their need for testing the hydraulics system and asked if Valin could help.  The technical specialist mentioned that we did in fact have a hydraulics specialist on staff and assured the engineer that he and his team could provide the needed testing as they had worked on similar applications in the past.  A meeting was scheduled with Valin’s hydraulics specialist and after the walkthrough, the utility company engineer said that Valin’s hydraulics specialist understood their system and hydraulics more than any other vendor they had worked with in the past.  The engineers were convinced that Valin could perform the scope of service work due to the credibility and experience of Valin's hydraulics specialist and decided to move forward with the testing. After a safety briefing, they proceeded to review the operation of the hydraulic systems components and perform the test to the required parameters. The testing required the utility company to take the dam off the grid for several hours so the work could be performed. The large valve was cycled several times without electricity per testing protocol. Results of the component and hydraulic systems testing were provided to the utility company in the final written report prepared by Valin’s hydraulics specialist.

Customer Benefits

The utility company had to put this crucial testing on hold because they could not find a vendor who would put their interest first. The vendors they had spoken to were only interested in replacing all of the hydraulic components, they were not interested in testing the current system.

The utility company found a partner in Valin. We put the company’s interest first. They were confident in our ability to provide the much-needed testing and on-site analysis. They did not have to replace any components and were able to save money and avoid unnecessary downtime.

Valin’s knowledge and expertise of hydraulic systems provided the company with the confidence that their system could operate under an emergency situation. They now have a trusted partner they can turn to for all of their process control needs.