Controlled Operation (CO) Valve Key Sets

Setting a new standard for operational best practice

In the UK, the average age of water pipes in many areas is approximately 50 years! More than ever, the focus on UK Water companies is to…

  • Reduce burst numbers
  • Reduce customer interruptions
  • Reduce the duration of supply interruptions
  • Reduce highway excavations

Preventing unplanned interruptions to supply requires more than a rapid response to bursts, operational care and maintenance is a crucial element for a network to perform well. Thinking differently and understanding and addressing true root causes has led to the introduction of the ‘new style’ of Valve Key and operational procedure to deliver best practice. In turn this has delivered significant customer benefits in terms of reduced bursts, customer interruptions and highway excavations!


A recent study has found that 63% of all interruptions occur following a valve operation in the previous 7 days! The operation of a Valve changes the velocity and causes a localised change in pressure. Pressure waves travel at the speed of sound in the water (1,480 m/s). Kinetic Energy is converted to Potential Energy (pressure and strain). Inappropriate Valve operation can create surges in the network.

The Hy-Ram Controlled-Operation (CO) Valve Key Sets allow Valves to be operated in a slower, more controlled and safer way. The risk of creating pressure transients is much reduced, hence pipe stress and the potential for a burst is decreased.


The operation of valves has had a dramatic impact on lost time across water companies. Recent studies have found that over 20% of lost time is due to personal injury and that more than a third of all incidents resulting in more than 3 days off work were due to valving operations. Activities like bending and twisting during the operation of valves expose the operatives to hazards that need to be minimised. The use of the Controlled Operation Valve Key sets mitigates a lot of potential hazards; simple benefits include:

(i) The height at which the valve is being operated can be varied
(ii) The use of a ‘pivot’ allows for greater torque to be applied to the valving operation with minimal effort
(iii) Potential for 2 man operation in a controlled manner