Recognized for its creation of the four-offset butterfly valve, Quadax is an innovative manufacturer with valves that have the ability to withstand very high and low temperatures as well as extreme cyclical temperatures in addition to many other demanding applications.
Fugitive Emissions Journal sat down with Scott Moreland, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and Wallace Hancock, Engineering Sales Manager, of Quadax, to discuss the unique properties of the four-offset butterfly valve and how it excels in extreme and cryogenic conditions.
By Sara Mathov
Background of Quadax
In 1960, Mr. Gottfried Müller, the inventor of the coaxial design valve, launched his company Müller Co-ax. Throughout the years, the company has created several valve innovations for the coaxial market. In 2009 Quadax was founded as a subsidiary of Müller Co-ax, with a particular focus on the production of four-offset butterfly valves for metal seated extreme applications.
Headquartered in Western Germany in a town called Forchtenberg, the company has several global locations to serve the international market. It began in the specialty gas market of Europe and came to the U.S.A. shortly after. Müller Coax continues to grow its footprint in Forchtenberg with the addition of a new Quadax manufacturing facility opened in 2023.
Quadax valves are installed in several industries including specialty gasses, gas separation, chemical and petrochemical, aerospace, and applications such as hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and LNG. The company is also focused on district energy, with the use of high-temperature steam.
“Our valves are ideal for several severe applications,” stated Hancock. “For example, they can perform with liquid helium, which is the coldest existing substance known to man. We also sell valves for applications such as desulfurization, and ethylene oxide , both of which are very demanding services, in addition to emergency shutdown valves (ESDV) that are capable of achieving closing times as quick as 400ms even in large diameters.” These closure times are only possible due to Quadax’s unique 4-offset design.
“Quadax butterfly valves are the ideal solution for customers with the highest demands on tightness – for extreme applications, and temperature ranges,” added Moreland. “We are made for the extreme,” he asserted. “In the world of manufacturing for cold or hot applications, we hone our expertise to be a problem solver in this area.”
“We also handle cyclical temperatures with extreme deltas,” added Hancock. “With large temperature fluctuations, valves can often struggle, however the Quadax valve can handle this very well.”
The Four Offset Butterfly Valves
As a result of innovative design principles, Quadax’s four-offset butterfly valves are unique in their ability to withstand extreme temperatures and volatile compounds. There are five piping configurations of the valve, including Double Flange, Lugged Pattern, Gate Valve Replacement, Buttweld, and Top Entry.
The four offset valve includes a fully round disc, rather than an elliptical disc, allowing for different materials and sealing mechanisms, homogenous expansion and shrinking of the sealing materials, significantly increased CV values and virtually zero friction in the sealing area.
One of Quadax’s most unique products is the Top Entry design. “We are the one of the only companies out there offering a true top entry design valve, with full repairability of the product still in line for extreme applications,” stated Moreland.
The top entry version of the valve is mainly used in piping systems, where flange connections must be avoided. In practical applications, the central top flange can be removed, and the internal components can be easily extracted, while the body remains in the pipeline. The standard version of this valve can withstand temperatures from -10 °C up to +450 °C (-14 °F up to 842 °F), and with special materials, -270 °C up to +800 °C (-454 °F up to 1472 °F).
“We look at each and every application as a unique opportunity for custom design and improvement,” said Moreland. “We do not like to sell a valve ‘off the shelf’ until we know the application, so we can ensure the valve fits the application properly. We offer a high-end product and strive to make sure it fits best in each specific application.”
Additionally, our modern manufacturing technologies utilizing 5-axis machining centers allows for Quadax to get away from the old ‘wobble plate’ machining still used in the older triple offset designs that have certain drawbacks. This assures optimized accuracy in one machining set-up while the competitors must rely on complex clamping devices and inaccuracies due to the re-clamping of the body to tool connections during machining operations. With 5-axis machines tighter tolerances can be achieved allowing for much cleaner machining surfaces resulting better sealing.
Extreme Temperatures and Quality
There are many design principles in place that allow for Quadax to withstand extreme applications and continue to enhance its products.
“Our product now is essentially an improvement on the triple offset valves that were developed in the 1960s. The original version served its purpose but was machined with limited abilities. One of those limitations was, the way it is machined resulted in an oval port. In the course of operation, we will see reduced sealing over the course of it life due to friction in addition to reduced flow capacity. Today, we have on average a 20-30% higher flow capacity when compared to the traditional TOV. We use the five-axis machine to achieve a true circular port, which virtually eliminates friction between the disc seat and valve seat while also increasing the CV values,” explained Hancock.
Friction between seats causes wear and tear, and eventual leakage, shortening the life span of the valve. “With a Quadax Valve, and a truly round port, friction is virtually eliminated, meaning longer life and greater sealability.”
Furthermore, Hancock explained that another enabling factor of handling high and low temperatures is the use of a floating disc, rather than a pin disc. “This means that the disc is not impacted by temperature changes. When the stem shrinks or expands, it pulls the disc with it in a traditional pinned disc design. Because ours is floating, it stays in place to seal every time.” This feature, along with a fully encapsulated disc design that reduces shaft deflection even at very high differential pressure changes ensures the tightness sealing in both the preferred and non-preferred directions.
Lastly, one of the most critical pieces to seal at high and low temperatures is an optional o-ring seat design only possible due to Quadax’s 4th offset. “We are the only ones that offer this because you cannot do this with an oval port, you need a round port. Quadax can offer a spring-loaded Inconel 718 o-ring, with a much greater ability to expand and contract with temperature changes, making for tight sealing,” explained Moreland.
Fugitive Emissions Testing
As environmental responsibility continues to be a major focus, fluid control users are embracing sustainable practices and specifications. Innovations in energy-efficient components, waste reduction techniques, and eco-friendly materials are driving the development of green fluid control solutions. “Industries are recognizing the need to balance performance with environmental responsibility and the minimization of fugitive emissions fuels the drive for this environmental responsibility. As a leading-edge manufacturer, it is important to Quadax to design and test our products to best meet those expectations,” said Moreland.
Quadax’s product is an approved valve for API 641, and ISO 15848. API 641 is a fugitive emissions standard that includes thermal cycles and mechanical cycle tests. When putting the valve through severe testing, a sniffer is used to determine how much is leaking from the packing, in parts per million (ppm). Using a mass spectrometer, the limit on this test is 100ppm, at any point throughout the test, with no packing adjustment throughout the test. One can also test for the HT version, which is the same test with the thermal cycle increased to a much higher temperature.
“These tests are expensive – we want to make sure that we are addressing customer concerns and have done the due diligence of getting third-party testing. Our valves are made to the newest and highest standards possible, so customers know that our valves will work in their application, without worrying about fugitive emissions being a concern for their application,” said Moreland.
As valves are responsible for more than half of emissions in a typical plant, Quadax takes pride in testing every valve manufactured to know how we can best provide the best possible sealing of our packing even after extensive cycles, because the more this is reduced, the closer the industry will be to the goal of zero emissions.
Quadax also focuses on zero leakage bubble tight sealing, in addition to eliminating fugitive emissions. “Our cryogenic quadruple offset valve product is zero leakage in the extreme temperature of -427°F (-255°C). This has been demonstrated not only in several applications around the world, but with extensive in-house testing. On the flip side, we also offer high-temperature valve which range from 1,460°F, or 800°C.”
“We fully comply with valve quality specifications and standards, and have full-time departments dedicated to addressing standards for a well-rounded quality control system,” stated Hancock.
“Our whole concept is about a valve that works every time, regardless of the conditions; we build our customers something that works the first time, for a long time.”
“We also ensure that our customers are aware of the total cost of ownership in a valve assembly. To extend the longevity and quality of a product, it is important to fit it in the correct application, so it can fit, form, and function better than other competitors’ products,” added Moreland. “Our main goal is to exceed their expectations.”
Quadax has recently opened a new valve manufacturing center, with roughly 56,000 sq ft of additional space for machining, assembly & testing; it has tripled the capacity and doubled opportunities for storage of finished products. The new facility also has a special clean room dedicated for hydrogen and oxygen cleaning of valves. “The facility will have a new paint room, better performance, and quicker throughput. It also includes a new testing facility, including a bunker for high-pressure applications, cryogenic testing for extreme low-temperature applications, improved workflow for more efficient process, and state-of-the-art packing machines,” said Moreland.
Quadax is focused on continual improvement. “We continually improve and change our design to make things more user-friendly,” said Moreland.
“Over the last five years, by focusing on opportunities outside of our core businesses, and looking for applications where we can provide solutions, we have increased our business four times over. The U.S. is now our largest market. We anticipate 2024 to be our biggest year ever, with new projects on the drawing board to enter the marketplace and become an even bigger factor in the overall market share of torque-seated butterfly valves,” concluded Moreland. “The future is indeed bright for Quadax readying for good things to come and made for the extreme!”