Blowout Preventers Increase Safety for Drilling Operations
A blowout-preventer (special valve or device used for preventing blowouts on oil and gas wells) which had been stuck together for 9 years is finally separated with the quick application of a Miller induction heating system from Red-D-Arc.
In addition to the many welding heat treatment applications, our heating specialists have years of experience applying this technology in numerous applications from hydro dam maintenance to heavy equipment repair. Contact a specialist to find out how induction heating can be applied to your next challenge.
Thanks to Michael Hernandez AWS CWSR from our Houston location for providing the footage.
Video: Siezed Blowout Preventer Released by Induction Heating
Applications and Advantages in Tank Fabrication and Maintenance
In the fabrication of storage tanks, as in most other welding applications, there are two crucial processes that storage tank fabricators must carry out to ensure the final quality and durability of the tanks. They are weld preheating and post-weld heat treatment.
Preheating involves heating the material to be welded to a particular temperature before welding. This process reduces shrinkage by minimizing the temperature between the arc and the base material. It also removes moisture, lowers hydrogen, and slows the weld cooling rate. These reduce the risk of cracking, brittle welds, and failure of the welds. Preheating is crucial for storage tanks as they are to withstand high pressures during operation.
The oil and gas industry plays a very important role in the global energy supply as well as the world economy. Many technologies are crucial to the existence and functioning of this multi-billion dollar industry. One of these is welding.
The oil and gas industry utilizes various highly complex infrastructure such as rigs, pipelines, platforms, plants, and facilities. The majority of these infrastructures are created using welding technologies. Welding is critical in oil and gas operations both for the construction of new projects and for the maintenance of existing facilities.
Applications of Welding in Oil and Gas
The oil and gas industry is divided into three major stages of operation. These, which can be referred to as sectors, are Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream. Welding is widely used across all these sectors and its applications can be classified accordingly.
Whether you’re working in the petrochemical, manufacturing, or food and beverage industry, plant shutdowns are inevitable. Plant maintenance is vital to optimizing the peak performance of a facility to ensure profitability, safety, and regulatory compliance.
From a routine plant shutdown and maintenance period, metrics such as quality, schedule, and cost can be measured and planned in advance. However, exceptions such as the global outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic can pave the way for unexpected maintenance opportunities. In a move to contain the virus spread, companies close up shop temporarily to follow government mandates, protect their employees and take advantage of the opportunity to perform deep-cleaning routines using technologies like dry ice blasting on their factories simultaneously.
Due to decreased market demand and socioeconomic factors, ramping up production won’t make sense in this time of crisis. Economically, increased future profits from plant maintenance might outweigh the revenue loss from operations and expenditures from the plant shutdown once all capital assets are calibrated to perform optimally. In this article, we discuss the crucial steps on how to manage a successful plant turnaround with welding factored in.
1. Planning and Scope Management
Plant shutdown or turnaround requires detailed project management. Managing complex layers of plant maintenance that revolve around three crucial standpoints of cost, time and quality can make or break the plant turnaround performance.
Stakeholder involvement also plays a part in setting the scope of work for the plant shutdown. Success should be measured from the business, operation, execution, and organizational perspectives. Hiring plant turnaround service providers can be beneficial in terms of shutdown expertise, while in-house skilled staff can provide the essential historical data from previous plant shutdowns to set the baseline metrics and benchmarks. These can include:
- Calculation of labor hours and rates
- Initial work packages
- Equipment data records
One example of this client-contractor integration would be a defective pipeline weld requiring repair every few weeks. While a short-term solution by the client would be to weld over the cracks, in due time it will cost more in the long run if failure analysis is not performed by a competent welding engineer. It could be as simple as identifying the root cause, or as complex as examining fractured surfaces under an electron microscope and performing metallurgical tests.
2. Cost Management
Plant shutdowns can be very expensive, as any profits spread over the years can be slashed in a span of weeks to a few months’ time. Whether on a full-scale or segment basis, you need to factor in two direct costs on your estimates: maintenance fees from execution and profit loss.
As plant maintenance incurs costs, scheduled stoppage for plants is often moved from annual to 3-5 years due to upfront investment in quality machinery. However, any lack of routine maintenance on aging equipment can impede the productivity of a plant. Industries that rely heavily on welding can cause major headaches once welding equipment breaks down.
In three words, here’s one way where you can save up on costs: Preventable Cost Efficiency (PCE). Put actual numbers to the problem by dividing the cost of service per hour and the cost of production maintenance per hour. If a plant turnaround service provider charges $50/hour and downtime costs $500/hour, then PCE is 10%. You could pay $10 now for preventative maintenance of your welding equipment or pay $55 later for the repair of hard or soft failures.
3. Schedule Management
Since plant shutdowns have a direct cost-to-schedule ratio, there’s enormous pressure to finish the turnaround early or on time for potential savings. This requires efficient resource management: planning for risk mitigation, expert plant turnaround services, lead times on material and equipment procurement, labor availability, and duration of work packages. Maintenance systems are grouped into:
Turnaround managers schedule the scope of work on a critical path method (CPM) – achieving essential objectives in the shortest amount of time. Red-D-Arc provides two value-based solutions to this time-deficit problem: orbital welders produce quality pipe welds and minimize weld time by utilizing a gear-driven track ring system, while multi-process TIG welders combine 4-in-1 solutions (TIG welders, MIG welders, flux core and stick welding) providing a flexible versatile welding solution.
4. Inspection and Execution
For heavy-impact industries reliant on welding, inspection for plant shutdown should be done in an agile process with control points. Prior to procurement, welding engineers should perform material inspection alongside the planning phase to determine on a priority basis what needs removal, replacement, repair, or alteration.
To repair weld, knowing the material specification can’t be overstated. Welding engineers or turnaround managers should cross-reference construction drawings with the maintenance handbook and identify any grade markings that require regulatory compliance such as ASTM and AISI/SAE. Welding aluminum and steel on building structures require different welding procedures under AWS D1.2 and AWS D1.1, respectively.
Even far stricter under ASME B31 Code for Pressure Piping are boilers, vessels, and tanks with ASME marking stamped on nameplates. Stringent regulations impose that only contractors with “R” stamp issued by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors are qualified to perform welding on these components.
For accuracy, cut the weld material for laboratory analysis and identify minimum requirements below:
- Welding process used
- Welding electrodes or filler metals to be used
- Preheating and post-weld heat-treating requirements
- Heat input control
- Defect removal
- Final inspection and non-destructive testing (NDT)
5. Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QA/QC) and Safety
Once plant shutdown is underway, perform safety regulations on-site for welded components per ANSI Z49.1 Safety in Cutting, Welding, and Allied Processes. Anytime a TIG welder enters a confined space for repair, local exhaust ventilation measures such as a downdraft bench and movable hood should be employed.
Existing building steel has external structural loads to be removed before weld repairs so consult AWS D1.7 Guide for Strengthening and Repairing Existing Structures. To minimize hydrogen-induced cracking and restore ductility, induction heaters can be employed for pre-heating and post-weld heat treatment, resulting in efficient weld quality of high-strength and low-alloy steels.
Plant shutdowns won’t be complete without final inspection for testing and commissioning. Once all systems are up and running with normal or improved performance levels, regulatory agencies will give you a green light for the startup. The final report will serve as baseline data for future plant turnarounds.
Pre-weld and post-weld heat treating is critical for many welding operations. Without proper thermal manipulation, welds and heat affected zones can have mechanical properties that are undesirable. Worse yet, inadequate heat treatment can result in cracks and devastating weld failures. While temperature and time are the primary concerns when heat treating a weld, the heating method should also be considered diligently when selecting a process. Induction heating is one of the most popular types of heat treating methods, and rightfully so. The benefits of induction heating are many, and Red-D-Arc has the equipment you need to successfully implement an induction heat treating operation for your projects.
Inspection, Surface Prep and Non-destructive Testing
Are you in the oil & gas industry? Are you involved in non-destructive testing, inspection, or surface preparation? How about maintenance of pipelines, heat exchangers, or pressure vessels? If you deal with these or similar operations, proper cleaning of surfaces might well be a process you regularly undertake.
Cleaning Delicate Equipment Safely
What is the best way to clean surfaces of such equipment? While there is no one best way for every circumstance, dry ice cleaning is a state-of-the-art method that can save time and money. It uses recycled CO2 in the form of solid dry ice particles as the cleaning media. Dry ice is soft and non-abrasive to most surfaces and can thus be used around delicate components, including electronics, that would be damaged by water or solvents. As the blasting equipment is portable it can be used in place, thus minimizing disassembly and other preparation time. Lastly, dry ice turns to a gas after contact with the surface being cleaned — cleanup time is rock bottom minimum, there is nothing to dispose of, contamination of moving parts is not an issue.
To begin, let’s establish what exactly we’re talking about when we say “biodiesel.” ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) has published a standard, D6751-07b, that defines what biodiesel is. We’re not talking about used cooking grease, or even commercially produced biodiesel, if it doesn’t meet this standard.
Also, the word “biodiesel” is often used to describe what is actually a blend of biodiesel and diesel fuel. (The diesel fuel sold for on-road use in the U.S. is Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel, or ULSD.) The term “BX” designates the blend ratio, where “X” stands for the percentage of biodiesel in the blend. So B100 means 100%, or pure, biodiesel, while B20 means 20% biodiesel mixed with 80% ULSD.
Additionally, this article doesn’t address OEM recommendations or warranty limitations. We’re simply looking at the question from a mechanical standpoint.
So now, with all that out of the way, what’s the bottom line?
Red-D-Arc was featured in the December/January issue of Tank Storage Magazine in an editorial titled “Rental welding equipment for storage tank fabricators”. Tank Storage Magazine is an industry leading publication, reporting exclusively on the bulk liquid storage tank and terminal sector.
The storage tank construction industry is highly competitive and fabricators gain a significant advantage by leveraging Red-D-Arc’s rental fleet of automatic tank welding equipment. Red-D-Arc supplies specialized automatic storage tank welding equipment to companies in the tank fabrication industry for projects all over the world.
Along with our specialized tank welding equipment comes a highly knowledgeable and experienced team of Red-D-Arc technicians. Sayer Hendricks – storage tank welding equipment specialist at Red-D-Arc is quoted in the article: “A fabrication company without prior knowledge of the equipment, is able to rent a turn-key tank welding automation system and increase their welding productivity by 40-50%. With on-site training, service and support, our customers are up and running quickly and making 100% x-ray quality welds without fail”
The full article is available here: Rental welding equipment for storage tank fabricators
By guest Blogger Katarzyna K.
Katarzyna has an Msc in Materials Science and has worked in the oil and gas industry in jobs related to hydraulics, welding and the retrofitting of oil rigs.
Stainless steel is used extensively in the petrochemical industry due to its high resistance to severe conditions. When welding inox steels, the smallest details matter and have an impact on weld quality. The following are some tips for stainless steel pipe welding based on my oil rig repair experience:
During an oil rig repair project that involved 2205 duplex stainless steel pipe TIG welding, we could not achieve the required weld properties. Despite using the recommended filler metal with higher nickel content, compared to the base metal, and controlling the interpass temperature, the weld tensile strength was still too low. In order to reach the required weld quality we dug deeper and found a solution – (more…)
An oilfield equipment and vessel manufacturer in the United Arab Emirates approached Red-D-Arc for assistance with a large project. It was awarded to them at the last minute and was not their primary area of expertise. The requirement was to manufacture 25 large tanks with a timeframe of only one year. Each of the tanks was to be 5 meters in diameter by 25 meters long, manufactured using 16 millimeter thick material at a weight of approximately 45 tonnes.
The experienced Red-D-Arc Weld Automation team was able to immediately address all of the customer’s challenges. While other suppliers where insistent that the customer purchase the equipment, Red-D-Arc determined that long term rental would be their best option. This would avoid the time consuming process of acquiring CAPEX approval to purchase such a large amount of equipment and would further increase the profitability of the project. The manufacturer also had questions on how to avoid ovality and transverse movement of the sub-assemblies. Red-D-Arc experts were on-hand to provide the right advice and the right equipment to address these challenges.
The rental equipment included:
• 6x 10 tonne turning roll sets
• 10x 60 tonne drive rolls
• 47x 30 tonne and 60 tonne idler rolls
• 7x submerged arc packages with LT7 tractors and DC600 power sources
Red-D-Arc worked very closely with the company to ensure their success, providing comprehensive training and on-site assistance. After the successful completion of this project the company has become recognized in their market and are receiving new orders from similar customers in the industry. Furthermore, they anticipate being awarded “phase 2” of this project which is scheduled to begin in 2018.
Tank Fabrication Equipment
Red-D-Arc carries a variety of equipment useful for the construction and maintenance of storage tanks including:
Red-D-Arc has launched an exciting new product designed to increase the productivity and efficiency of pipe welding. The Red-D-Arc Process Pipe Cell with oscillating welding torch is a dual wire feeder, multi-process welding cell.
The system is easy to set up and operate and reduces weld operator errors, reduces welding time, and increases deposition rates, productivity and arc-on time.
A variety of welding power sources and wire feeders can be used with the system including Miller RMD PipeWorx 400 and Lincoln STT S350, S500 and S700 Power Wave systems, with all welding functions controlled via a remote interface.
Root passes can be performed manually with solid wire using either RMD or STT technology (instead of manual GTAW or SMAW) followed up by hot passes and cap passes either solid-wire or flux-cored) with the jammer-style weld oscillator.
Choose the welding positioner, welding chuck, turning roll set or headstock to suit your specific needs. All positioning functions including welding head manipulator, oscillator, welding positioner and turning rolls are managed via a single control.
Contact a Red-D-Arc Weld Automation Expert to learn more or request a demo: 1-866-733-3272 | Contact Sales
See more welding turntables, pipe welders and pipe welding positioners
Red-D-Arc supplied equipment and installation services for a new weld overlay cladding facility in the west of Scotland for one of the leading global distributors of raw material for wellhead and completion equipment to the oil and gas industry. After discussions with the client, Red-D-Arc designed a solution to meet the specific needs of their project. It was determined that the new cladding facility would consist of six Compact Cladding Cells and four Butt Welding Stations.
“We regularly develop specialized solutions alongside our customers…”
Layout of the facility began with our experienced engineers installing the six Red-D-Arc Compact Cladding Cells. Each Compact Cladding Cell consists of an automated system controller, 2m x 1m cross slide, 3 tonne turntable with built-in slip ring for preheating, and a Miller power source. Next, the four Red-D-Arc Butt Welding Stations were installed. Each station consists of an automated system controller; 3m x 3m travelling column and boom; 300mm x 300mm oscillation slide; 3 tonne headstock, 2 travelling support pipe idlers and a Miller power source.
The Red-D-Arc Weld Automation team has extensive experience across diverse sectors of industry. We regularly provide weld process recommendations and develop specialized solutions alongside our customers to address their unique challenges. Red-D-Arc Weld Automation Systems are designed for optimized reliability and productivity, and come complete with installation, onsite training, services and support.
View our entire range of pipe welding positioners
As one of the leading power generation rental and service providers in the southwest U.S. D&D Power, a Red-D-Arc company, has the capability to keep your oilfield power generation equipment running. With over 40 service technicians covering the shale plays of Texas, Oklahoma and southeast New Mexico, we offer critical response service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We usually have equipment back up and running in under 2 hours.
D&D Power offers rental diesel, natural gas and hybrid bi-fuel generators along with generator paralleling systems and portable light towers. Visit the Oilfield Services web page to learn more.
Read more articles on diesel electric generators
Earlier this year, Red-D-Arc delivered several of our MIG/MAG 4-pak and 6-pak multi-operator welding packages to Heerema Fabrication (HFG) for their yards in Zwijndrecht and Flushing, Holland. HFG manufactures complex steel structures for use in the offshore oil and gas industry.
In addition to maintaining high-quality welding standards, HFG was able to increase both worker productivity and safety by employing Red-D-Arc’s multi-operator packs for the welding processes at their fabrication yards. The packs include six welding power sources and wire feeders with gas lines to accommodate up to six individual welders – and each welder has his own 115VAC power supply as well as an airline that provides filtered breathing air to the welder’s helmet. All input power, shielding-gas and breathing-air connections are made via single connections in the pak’s enclosure in order to simplify hook up as well as enhance portability.
“With the multi-packs our operators can get set up faster and start welding immediately. The time savings and increased efficiency easily covers the cost of the packs.”
After receiving their initial order of 6-paks, HFG placed a second order for 4-paks, having recognized the benefits of the system.
Red-D-Arc 4-Pak and 6-Pak MIG/MAG Multi-Operator Welding Packages are available for rent, lease or purchase. Contact Sales to learn more.
Read more on welding efficiency
Red-D-Arc is pleased to announce that on December 21st , 2012 D&D Power, LLC, a Texas-based equipment rental and services business, was acquired by Red-D-Arc Welderentals. D&D Power sells and rents electric power generators and light towers to companies engaged in the oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) industries in Texas and New Mexico via their facilities in Decatur, La Vernia, and Big Lake, Texas; as well as a facility in Jal, New Mexico. In addition, D&D has earned a strong reputation as a premier provider of repair and maintenance services to generator fleet operators in these states on a 24/7/365 basis. This acquisition, when combined with Red-D-Arc’s welder rental equipment business and Airgas On-Site Safety Services, and complemented by the full breadth of Airgas’ gases and hardgoods products, services, and expertise, will significantly enhance Airgas’ value proposition to customers in the oilfield services, construction, and other energy-related markets.