IMI Truflo Marine Valve Innovation Award

One of IMI Truflo Marine’s latest successes involves a knowledge transfer partnership with The University of Birmingham. News of this partnership was also on published on Truflo’s website but that website has now been shut down and re-directed to IMI Critical’s website.

The story of IMI Truflo Marine’s knowledge transfer partnership was about Dr Catalin Pruncu, the man who developed a revolutionary hard-seated ball valve for the company.

Dr Pruncu’s innovative valve has great applications for both the Nuclear and Marine side of the business, presenting great opportunities for the future.

New Valve Innovation Award for IMI Truflo Marine

Dr. Catalin Pruncu and IMI Truflo Marine have won this year’s award for ‘Best Innovative Idea for Exploitation’, a national award run by the University of Birmingham and sponsored by Forresters that aims to encourage British companies to develop new ideas and exploit them for commercial advantage.

IMI Truflo Marine’s winning entry was an innovative ball valve initially designed to isolate the power station’s core in the event of an emergency. The valve designed has a hard metal seat in order to withstand high temperatures exceeding 600°C. The valve has been designed as part of a project in partnership with the University of Birmingham. Under the supervision of IMI Critical’s Valve Doctor, Tony Hill and Dr Karl Dearn from the University of Birmingham, Dr. Catalin Pruncu has been developing the ground breaking metal-seated ball valve to have a reduced torque factor when compared to similar valves, resulting in reduced wear, delivering excellent reliability, performance and safety.

The civil nuclear industry in the United Kingdom is set to expand with several new-build projects on the horizon. This is an exciting time to be in the civil nuclear industry and IMI Truflo Marine aim to engineer GREAT solutions to aid industry growth. “Competitions like these are really good because they provide a platform for new ideas, encouraging innovators to release even better products into the competitive nuclear market” said Dr Pruncu.

The United Kingdom is well-known for creating new innovations, but is less well-known for exploiting those innovative ideas. Open to UK companies of any size, the ‘Best Innovative Idea for Exploitation’ competition aims to improve the UK’s competitiveness by supporting companies that have innovative ideas and are looking for ways to commercialise them.

Applications were judged according to potential for commercial viability, likelihood of success and benefits to the partners involved. After presenting a strong, well-researched proposal, IMI Truflo Marine picked up the award’s winning prize of £5,000 and invaluable Intellectual Property advice; including patent and trademark attorney support.

Now that the research phase has been completed and the necessary Intellectual Property protections are now under way, work on the project is moving forward in earnest with a completion date set for December.

The planned schedule for completion is as below:

  • July – IMI Truflo Marine commission valve prototype build
  • September – prototype valve testing (high temperature pressure and cycling tests)*
  • November – prototype design evaluation
  • December – completion of prototype ball valve

*The current plan for testing includes only pressure and cycling tests conducted at high temperature in order to provide practical validation of the product. Once the prototype valve has been completed and approved, the valve can be tested in accordance with customer requirements including seismic, shock, fatigue, noise and fire testing amongst others.

IMI Truflo Marine see this award as the continuation of their commitment to innovation and will seek to find more ways of providing great solutions for companies in the nuclear power industry. Once complete, the ball valve will become part of IMI Truflo Marine’s growing nuclear range.