August 1, 2014
An in-house solution to a pipe fitting challenge breaks an engineering project into modular sub-assemblies, streamlining the work by fabricating pipe spools in a controlled environment. Access, a function that's at a premium on work sites, is a far more pragmatic concern when set in this manageable space, a logistical and utilitarian factor that prevails until the finalized pipe spool is ready for shipping.
The raw pipes and customized assemblage of fittings required to erect a pipe spooling project have no room in either the tight schedule of a project manager or the claustrophobic confines of an oil refinery. The same can be said of a chemical plant or a mining operation. Cutting to the center of the issue, the piping in these facilities is an intensive labyrinth of interconnecting conduits, and additional assemblies will only bring the work to a grinding halt. Pre-fabrication is the norm in such a massive undertaking, assembling the pipe framework either before or during the industrious erection of the infrastructure. To this end, rolled pipes engineered from specified grades of stainless steel, from metallic or polyurethane-coated alloys are cut to size along with all relevant fixings, the custom flanges and tees, the angled bends and right-angled elbows, that define the pipe spool.
Additional attributes are keyed to the pipe. It may be swaged or threaded, lined with teflon or polyurethane to protect against abrasion and corrosive chemicals. The spooling process then moves on, welding the network of parts together. This stage maneuvers all fittings into their designated positions. The manufacturing of the spool again divides the work into a modular approach, fitting parts temporarily to form a sub-assembly, welding them in place and moving back in the welding operation to assemble more parts to form a larger sub-assembly. The work uses either a spool roll welding procedure, in which case the welder can employ the pipe turning machinery and stay in one spot, or a spool position welding mode of assembly. The latter choice arises when the pipe being worked on is larger than the set clearance limits, forcing the welder to change position to complete the fitting and welding.
These intermediate stages bring the sub-assemblies together in small steps, creating a cycle of fitting and welding to finish the established shape of the spool. The aim of the work is to reduce the steps as much as possible, resolving the job into a high-productivity sequence of fittings that accomplish the set design task within a specified time-frame. The controlled environment allows for an accomplished level of fabrication that would be difficult to achieve on the primary site of construction, an area where interruptions are commonplace. The workplace setting, a fabrication shop environment, facilitates other tasks. A comprehensive test of the integrity of all welds is a simple chore, as is the application of a polyurethane lining or a powder coating. Specialized fabrication companies position themselves as prime candidates in this form of offsite modular pipe manufacture, presenting logistical solutions for cramped construction settings.
Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619
1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915
Ph: (03) 5909 8218
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