The Challenge: New Re-Certification Standards
In 2019, to meet the standards for recertification of its power plants, the company was required to replace the valves. The challenge was having to replace valves that were installed so long ago. Forty years ago, when the original valves were put in place, most of the people currently working at the plants with responsibility for the replacement process were not even born.
The valves had operated so well, for so long, that there was never any need for the customer to engage with Leslie Controls, so there was no history of working with the company or its representatives. The customer did not have the contact information necessary to start purchase/replacement process.
To satisfy the re-certification, the customer considered competitors’ valves to replace the Leslie valves. They determined that many competitors did not want to get involved because the valve line was too old and they could not facilitate the upgrade. The customer also discovered that working with new valves from another company could mean introducing totally different technology that would require retraining the staff, an unnecessary expense. Other suppliers were also at a disadvantage because they would have to incur re-certification costs because their valves would have been considered brand new technology by re-certification authorities.
After further researching its records to determine the original supplier of the valves, the customer made contact with Leslie Controls. Despite the passage of four decades since the original installation, Leslie Controls was able to help the customer accomplish their upgrade. Working directly with representatives from Leslie, the customer found the ideal solution. The upgrade was facilitated by offering the ability to replace the exact legacy equipment in a nuclear power plant, in this case DBOY valves, that were originally installed. Additionally, the customer was given the option of adding the latest technology available. The customer benefited by being able to engage with the original supplier and replace the equipment without having to start from scratch with a new supplier. The supplier was able to build the original castings and provide valves that were the perfect fit for the installation. The solution was not only cost competitive but afforded the customer direct replacement of valves that already had a proven track record of durability and reliability – 40 years’ worth to be exact. It was a risk-free solution giving the company the peace of mind of knowing that the replacements from same line of valves that had lasted 40 years in the previous application would be on the job and could possibly outlast the 25-year licenses on the re-certified nuclear power plants.
Leslie Controls also offered the customer flexibility through a range of service options accompanying the purchase of the valves: 1) the customer could choose to install the valve itself using its own subcontractors. 2) Technicians were available to do “over-the-shoulder” onsite consulting with the customer’s subcontractors to make sure the installation goes right. 3) The supplier could do the complete installation, being onsite from the time the new valves were delivered right through having technicians install the valves, and then staying on to ensure that the installation was up and running flawlessly.
The customer protected their original investment and was able to work through the re-certification process efficiently and cost-effectively. Engaging with a new supplier would have necessitated a Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval which can be a lengthy process. Staying with the original supplier negated the need for that approval and saved them valuable time. Additional time and money was saved because a competitor would have had to spec the site and make changes to the equipment based on the plant’s requirements. Overall, the results were time and money saved, and installing a product that will last for another four decades.