Chalmers & Kubeck-South keep pressure relief valves safe and functional with the help of ValvKeep.
The pressure relief valve industry of the 1980s looked a lot different from how it looks today. The fragmented marketplace was not taking advantage of one key opportunity in particular: while manufacturers sold new valves, rarely did they repair or maintain them after the sale. These activities were usually done by small independent repair and test facilities with no factory support or authorization.
The Green Tag Program changed everything. In 1982, Mr. Ted Myers—a visionary executive for Dresser Industries—identified this gap and founded the initial Green Tag Centers (GTC) program. Today, service companies like Chalmers & Kubeck-South heavily invest in, train, and commit to detailed programs for the repair and calibration of pressure relief valves of all types and manufacture, all under the auspices of ASME and the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessels.
“We go deeper than most service companies out there,” shared Charlie Weiland, President and CEO of the organization. “Chalmers & Kubeck goes far above and beyond anything else I’ve seen in this industry.”
Weiland has a degree in mechanical engineering and started his career in Plant Engineering at Union Carbide in Texas City, TX. He developed a reputation in pressure vessel design and overpressure protection.
Weiland accepted an opportunity to move to “the other side of the desk” in Louisiana in the late 70s, and began to build up his background in sales and marketing. His 23-year career in Louisiana included the design and development of several service facilities along with embracing Mr. Myers’ vision of the Green Tag program.
In 2000, Weiland provided some consulting services in the mergers and acquisitions arena of the industry, including working with Chalmers & Kubeck, Inc. regarding a potential location in Georgia. He worked with the company for a period of months, and ultimately encouraged C&K leadership to proceed with the acquisition.
Ironically, C&K agreed to proceed, but with one stipulation—Weiland would relocate to Georgia and run the acquisition.
Now as President of the southern division of Chalmers & Kubeck Inc., Weiland keeps this well-established valve and actuation organization on task to provide outstanding customer application support from huge inventories.
Several subsequent acquisitions and grass root start-ups allowed Chalmers & Kubeck-South to become one of the largest Green Tag Service organizations in the Southeast. With eight strategic locations from Florida to Tennessee and Virginia, Chalmers & Kubeck-South has grown to be the strong valve and actuation flow control company that was originally envisioned.
Understanding the Valve Industry
The valve and flow control industry is a diverse and incredibly important component that is fundamental to the safety of people and equipment; overpressure and reliability protection cannot be overstated.
Pressure relief valves protect against system overpressure in boilers, both large and small, in the utilities market along with pressure vessels, and piping systems in petrochemical companies. Companies must meet a variety of stringent codes and standards to insure they are in compliance.
“I started my career working to prevent explosions from over pressurization,” Weiland shared. “My primary responsibility was to protect equipment from failure by minimizing exposure to higher pressures.”
Flow control, which is often done with a series of sophisticated valves, is not quite as simple as what you find on your faucet at home.
Chalmers & Kubeck-South produces large (and small) automated valve systems—both manual valves made of cast steel controlled by a handwheel, and actuators—for the marine industry, large storage facilities, major water distribution systems, major electric generating plants, and a variety of other key industries.
As you can imagine, these valves are several times the size of the ones you may see in everyday life.
Keeping Valves Up and RunningMaintaining the integrity of each and every pressure relief valve, motor actuated valve, and control valve that comes out of a Chalmers & Kubeck-South facility over the product’s lifetime is a monumental priority of the company. Specifically, the adoption of the Green Tag Program along with other factory authorized service programs led Chalmers & Kubeck-South to embrace specialized software to monitor its service and to assist end users in their need for stringent regulatory compliance.
“In the decade prior to 1992, there were several explosions and operational upsets throughout the petrochemical industry. This led OSHA to establish the Process Safety Management (PSM) Act mandating that producers of hazardous chemicals have formal programs in place that were easily audited by OSHA,” Weiland shared.
The fundamental basis of PSM is process hazards analysis (PHA), which is the detailed review of what can go wrong and what safeguards need to be implemented for prevention. Other key provisions include: employee involvement, process safety information, operating procedures and practices, employee training, contractors, pre-startup safety, mechanical integrity, management of change, incident investigation, emergency preparedness, and compliance audits. PSM is not a “static” process per the regulation. . .
“Each requirement was a great opportunity for Consolidated Green Tag Service Centers to provide services like these to facility owners,” continued Weiland.
This opportunity led to contracting with a very talented and visionary software engineer in the mid-’90s who was in the process of developing a sophisticated program to document maintenance and to track valve and flow control products in the petrochemical and refining industry. ValvKeep was born.
“It’s one of the strongest asset management software options in the industry. It’s at the heart of everything we do; it’s absolutely an integral part of how we do business. It assists us in assisting our customers to maintain compliance.”
“It’s quite the software, and continues to evolve.”
How ValvKeep Works
The company utilizes ValvKeep as the exclusive data management tool in their Consolidated Green Tag Service Centers and Masoneilan MARC Centers. It’s a service Chalmers &Kubeck provides to all of its customers at no additional charge since it is integral to everything they do.
Its benefits are vast. “It provides an immediate and 24/7 access to all data via a secure internet portal, it stores all detailed inspection and test documents in a centralized database, provides the ability to identify trends in operation and maintenance, and offers a host of other services.”
“By identifying trends over time, we can help customers prevent failures of valves,” Weiland said. This is incredibly important in this industry, as situations can turn unsafe very quickly if a valve isn’t operating as it should.
Chalmers & Kubeck-South tracks parts, instrumentation, dimensions, metallurgy, performance, and anything that is necessary to repair and maintain the company’s valves. Photo documentation provides an additional layer that is truly unique to ValvKeep.
Weiland also shared that competitors don’t exactly have anything similar to ValvKeep. The software is proprietary BHGE technology, and only Green Tag Service Centers and Masoneilan MARC Centers like Chalmers & Kubeck are authorized to use it.
Quality Through Training
Software isn’t everything, however. While ValvKeep is a key application to the company, it would be near useless without the training and performance of Chalmers & Kubeck-South’s incredible employee base.
After discovering for himself that outside training was lacking, the leadership team at Chalmers and Kubeck-South developed their own intensive in-house training program to augment that of its manufacturers
“Vince Lombardi inspired our training programs,” Weiland admitted. “His dedication to the mastery of fundamentals, and starting with “This is a football’ led us to also start at the very beginning.
Despite having one of the highest regarded employee bases in the industry, Weiland assumes that employees know very little when they start. By taking them from the simplest beginning to where they master the more complex lessons, Chalmers & Kubeck-South’s training is an industry standard.
“Several of our peers in the industry request to sit through our training,” he said. “They are always welcome because we can learn something from them as well”.
“We’ll continue to strive to be the best in class at what we do. Our people have a heart for protecting people and getting better every day. Couple that with ValvKeep and our awesome manufacturers, and you’ve got empowered employees that provide the quality services our clients want and need.”
Chalmers & Kubeck - South (aka Valve & Actuation Services, LLC) along with Chalmers & Kubeck-North (aka Monarch Valve), Chalmers and Kubeck – Beaverfalls, and Chalmers & Kubeck, Inc. is part of the Chalmers & Kubeck family of companies. Headquartered in Watkinsville (Athens), Georgia, this well-established valve and actuation organization provides outstanding customer application support from huge inventories. With eight facilities totaling over 90,000 square feet, C&K-South is well equipped to provide outstanding customer service 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
Factory authorizations for Consolidated® Pressure Relief Valves, Limitorque® Valve Actuation Systems, Masoneilan® Control Valves, Cornerstone Drain Valves, Flotite Ball Valves, and ZOOK Rupture Discs make Chalmers & Kubeck-South the premier flow control organization in the eastern United States. With service centers in Watkinsville, GA, Charlotte, NC, Lynchburg, VA, Cayce, SC, Orlando, FL, Decatur, AL, Cartersville, GA, and Chattanooga, TN, C&K-South is strategically located to its prestigious customer base.