Flanges play a crucial role in major industries like pipelines, power, petrochemicals, oil & gas, and many more. Some of the flange maintenance operations include flange facing and controlled bolting to avoid leakages and mitigate losses. To ensure minimum flange downtime and production losses, a plant should be equipped with all the essential flange maintenance tools. In this article, we will talk about the essential tools to ensure flange maintenance operations are completed as quick as possible.
- Flange Facing Tools
The most crucial flange maintenance activity is flange facing. The tool procured to face flanges help repair damaged flanges, heat exchanger, refacing valve flanges, re-surfacing of large pump base housings, boiler feed pump flanges, etc. Since flanges go through constant vibrations and experience damage it is always helpful to have a flange facing tool at your disposal for regular maintenance. Flanges face damages due to turbulent impact and flow with other components during installation, construction, or cuts from gasket leaks. At such times, owning or renting a flange facing tool to give the flange the required surface finish, ensures joint integrity.
Facing also reduces the possibilities of any leakages as gases and liquids are forced to travel in a long spiral path rather than across a flat flange face. Such tools also provide the flexibility of mounting i.e. OD or ID mounting. Since these tools are expensive to procure, we highly recommend plants to do a ROI research before procuring. At ABS, we offer automated flange facing tools on rent that can face flanges up to 80”.
- Torque Wrenches
Another crucial tool that is not given much importance are torque wrenches. These tools are as important as flange facing tools. As bolts also tend to loosen due to the constant vibrations in the flange, the bolts need to be tightened accurately to reduce the possibilities of bolt loosening. These tools ensure controlled bolting in flanges and avoid the chances of leakages by offering consistent bolt load.
To achieve controlled bolting, we recommend using power torque wrenches like hydraulic, pneumatic or battery torque wrenches over manual or clicker wrenches. As power torque wrenches offer higher accuracy with minimum effort, time, and manpower to precision bolting. Manual torque wrenches do not offer controlled Torquing increasing the possibility of leakages.
Hydraulic torque wrenches offer the highest accuracy i.e. +/-3%. We check the accuracy of bolt tightening by conducting hydrotesting, where gases/liquids are pumped on to the flanges at different pressure to do a leakage check.
- Flange Spreaders
To prepare flanges for maintenance, flange spreaders are used to open flanges quickly. These tools are portable, easy to setup and operate. Our ATEX certified spreaders which can be used in explosion prone industries like oil & gas, power, and petrochemicals, etc. Allowing the operator to conveniently open flanges without any access gaps, our tools can cut down maintenance operations without the risks of injuries.
- Flange Pullers
Flange pullers are opposite to the flange spreaders. These tools conveniently pull and close flanges. Ideally used post facing flanges and other flange maintenance jobs, flange pullers are designed to service on all horizontal and vertical flanges including API, SPO, BS, DIN and ANSI/ASME. Like flange spreaders, these tools are portable, easy to setup and execute and help cut down maintenance time while enhancing safety.
- Flange Aligners
Flange alignment tools resolves flange misalignments within joints like flange lateral or rotational misalignments to avoid any leakages. Compared to conventional methods, flange aligners are safer and faster.
We hope this article helped you know the essential flange maintenance tools required to reduce maintenance job time, enhance safety, and accuracy. Visit us next time for more knowledge sharing articles.