Proactive integrity management
Flange integrity is often not a priority when it comes to integrity management because it is frequently assumed that any proactive task aside from visual inspection will require isolation or shutdown and intervention.
This is not, however, the case. The replacement of bolts exhibiting signs of corrosion is a proactive task that can be achieved online using safe hot bolting techniques and can increase the longevity of the flange connection itself.
In many industries, hot bolting has been subcontracted to external specialists who charge for their personnel and the hiring of tooling. As well as having cost implications, it also impacts POB numbers (if offshore) and the increased risk of having personnel on the asset who are not wholly familiar with layout and procedures.
By using BoltEx® flange clamps to carry out hot bolting on an asset using its own personnel, the control of the works can remain in-house, meaning more flexibility in work programming, reduced mobilised resources and execution cost reductions. In addition, owning BoltEx® flange clamps means no logistical issues or on/off hire charges are incurred.
Breaking flanges during shutdown
Once a line is isolated, drained and purged, it is often assumed that breaking flanges and gaining access to equipment or piping for inspection will be relatively straightforward. Unfortunately, this is often not the case causing delays in conducting the actual shutdown work scope.
By carrying out hot bolting to replace bolts on critical flanges before the shutdown, it can be assured that breaking flanges will not delay the schedule.
Uncertain flange integrity
Frequently a flange is discovered with a stud bolt missing either from corrosion or poor installation, and there is doubt on the best course of action to make it safe. Inserting and tightening a bolt on such a flange may disturb the gasket or unload the other studs, possibly leading to loss of containment.
Other uncertainty scenarios around flange integrity can include significant degradation of all stud bolts or corrosion of the flange itself.
In many cases such as these, the installation of BoltEx® to reinforce the flange can mitigate the risk of these types of anomalies and enable production to safely continue to the next planned shutdown event.