Equalizer clamps down on corroded bolt issues
ABERDEEN/HOUSTON – Equalizer International, a world leading designer and developer of flange maintenance tools, has launched its latest innovation, the Flange Integrity System, at Offshore Europe in Aberdeen.
The Equalizer Flange Integrity System, a world first, provides a unique solution to the industry-wide issue of heavily corroded or degraded bolts within flange joints and has an application to those concerned with maintenance or integrity issues. In scenarios where bolts are heavily corroded, there can be uncertainty about true bolt strengths and operators are faced with decisions whether to hot bolt, shutdown or postpone addressing the issue. This problem now has a solution in the form of the Equalizer Flange Integrity System which provides a means of restoring the flange joint integrity back to its original state in a safe, efficient and cost effective manner.
The Equalizer Flange Integrity System takes away the need to remove corroded bolts by “replacing” them with a new set of bolts which clamp round the outside of the flange and are then held in place by a floating frame. It can therefore replicate the same bolt size, quantity and specification used during the initial flange joint assembly. Installation of the system is simple and quick, with a typical four bolt flange joint taking less than one hour to set-up. Taking away the need to remove old bolts also reduces the risk of flange joint leakage. The system can be used on carbon or stainless steel, duplex or cunifer flange joints.
Ian McCormick, managing director of Equalizer International, said there had already been strong industry interest in the new system: “Replacing corroded bolts on flanges which may have been in place anywhere up to 30 years or more is an essential part of asset maintenance and particularly relevant in the North Sea where there are a number of aging assets which have to deal with this problem.”
The Equalizer Flange Integrity System has significant operational and commercial benefits. It can be used in situations where alternative solutions cannot be used, for example on high pressure, larger diameter flange joints. In these circumstances the only current solution is to carry out maintenance during shutdown resulting in potential loss of production and revenue. By effectively providing a ‘replacement’ set of bolts around the flange joint it also provides peace of mind to integrity engineers about the reliability of their bolted joints.
“Using our system would also mean that companies could accurately assess how long the work will take so that they can budget time and resources accordingly. At the moment it is impossible to do that with any degree of certainty,” said Mr McCormick. “The Equalizer Flange Integrity System is the first of its kind to be introduced into the market place. This demonstrates our commitment to solving industry issues through innovation.”
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