Controlled bolting and machining services from engineering and technical services specialist Furmanite helped to keep a recent shutdown on schedule on the Shell Eider A platform, by ensuring leak-free joints for an on-time start up.
Multi-skilled Furmanite technicians were brought in by Sigma 3 to provide specialist bolting and machining services on some 276 flanges on the platform, ranging in sizes from one to 16 inches, and classes from 150 to 2,500, on production lines.
All the joints were opened, checked, cleaned and worked on as required to ensure an appropriate surface finish, flatness and condition of the gasket face. This included machining the flange faces where required to rectify damage and restore them to their original specification. (A rougher surface finish, for example, will require higher bolt loads to obtain a seal, and marks or defects on the flange sealing face make reliable sealing difficult). Where required, new gaskets were installed. The flanges were then aligned, and the bolts tightened to the determined loads using hydraulic torquing.
Furmanite entered all work undertaken on the joints electronically onto the customer's flange register, creating a valuable record that can be readily accessed for full traceability.
All 276 flanges were leak-free on start-up, ensuring no costly delays in returning to production.
Commenting on the manpower and equipment provided for the Eider Alpha shutdown, Donald Ross, Shutdown Co-ordinator, Shell Sigma 3, said, "I was impressed by the professionalism shown by Furmanite's technicians, and especially the commitment shown by the supervisor. I would gladly have these men with me again during the next shutdown that I’m involved with. There were no equipment issues on board the platform and the result was excellent."
Furmanite regional operations manager Blaine Adger commented, "There's an on-going industry drive to reduce leaks from flanged and bolted joints, but simply installing a gasket and tightening the bolts will not ensure a leak-free joint. We're able to provide competent, skilled technicians, and procedures that ensure all necessary work is identified and undertaken correctly, including controlled bolting to close the joint correctly, for a zero-leak start-up. This is one of our range of specialist services geared to keeping downtime to a minimum."
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