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Meet Dave Gonzales, a.k.a. ‘The Code Whisperer’

Meet Dave Gonzales, a.k.a. ‘The Code Whisperer’

With over 23 years of experience with valves and instrumentation, Dave Gonzales is well-suited to his role as Manager of Quality Assurance and Safety Programs. As you would expect, he writes safety manuals and procedures, but most importantly, he implements programs that ensure Scallon Controls adheres to both industry and customer requirements. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, he is relied upon as a mentor and leader—always ‘on call’ to provide technical assistance for Scallon Controls technicians and solve problems for customers.
“Early on in my career as a technician, I realized that I had a knack for interpreting and understanding code requirements. I have specialized expertise in pressure relief devices and am well versed in API; ASME Sections I, VIII-1, and XIII code requirements; as well as the National Board Inspection Code. My value is in applying this knowledge, on a regular basis, to customer applications for sizing, design, and troubleshooting.”
A Day in the Life of Dave

A Day in the Life of Dave

While no two days are the same, a day in the life for Dave generally consists of resolving unexpected customer technical issues and addressing questions about technical information. Customer issues typically are about: the cause of failure for a specific device, pilot valve commissioning, and remote sensing applications.
Cause for Device Failure
A common request is to provide the customer with a cause of failure for a specific device. This typically includes photographing any out of the ordinary conditions or foreign material, pre-testing the device, conducting a disassembly inspection, reviewing the condition of internal components for indicators such as galling, seat/bearing point distortion, signs of material failure or fatigue, and reviewing process conditions provided by the customer. This information is reviewed, and the customer is provided with a report outlining the cause(s) of the failure.
POSRV Lifting at Start-Up
Pilot-Operated Safety Relief Valves (POSRV) are a great solution for many industrial applications. However, it is not uncommon to get a call from the customer stating that a POSRV is lifting during start-up. In order for the POSRV’s main piston or disc to remain in the closed position, there has to be sufficient pressure in the main valve’s dome. The dome is loaded with pressure that passes through small passages in the pilot. If the POSRV is lined up too quickly, this does not allow enough time for the pressure to pass through the pilot and load the dome. This will result in the main valve lifting because the force applied by the dome pressure isn’t enough to keep the main piston or disc closed.
Remote Sensing
Remote sensing is another common source of discussion. Typically, remote sensing is used when a POSRV is installed where the nonrecoverable inlet loss is greater than 3% of the set pressure. The purpose of remote sensing is to tie in close to the protected equipment and supply the pilot with pressure in which the nonrecoverable line loss is equal to or less than 3% of set pressure. There tends to be a lot of questions regarding this application.

Advice for New or Younger Technicians:

As an experienced professional, Dave doesn’t claim to have seen and done it all. He still enjoys the process of solving unique or unusual customer problems, but also likes instilling knowledge and confidence in those newer to the field. His advice:

  • Work hard.
  • Ask questions of experienced technicians and pay attention to the details.
  • Read up on your code—you don’t have to memorize it but be familiar with what you’re expected to be working with consistently.
  • Be wary of giving advice or information that you can’t back up with proof or code. There are procedures put in place for those things.
  • Always be able to document/defend what you’re doing and why you did it.
  • Remember that one small mistake can cause a large disaster, so we have to do our best at all times.
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