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The necessity of bolted flange connection training

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The Necessity of Bolted Flange Connection Training

There are numerous considerations for ensuring that a bolted flange connection (BFC) does not leak. They include damaged bolts and nuts, as well as flanges that are too far apart, misaligned or bent. Other issues involve sealing surface damage, improper lubrication, excessive piping loads, and excessive or insufficient bolt loads.

Additional considerations include debris on sealing surfaces, damaged gaskets, correct calibration and hookup of torque-limiting equipment, and proper tightening procedures.

Of these factors, nothing is as vital as the expertise of mechanics. No one is closer to the job or has a better opportunity to call out questionable conditions that can prevent a gasket from acquiring a successful sealing load.

Training ranges from on-site programs set up by company engineers to trial-and-error knowledge passed down from mechanic to mechanic. These educational avenues are valuable, but a complete training program that thoroughly covers the important topics related to successful installation of a gasket is rare.

Companies rarely can afford to commit the necessary resources to create and maintain an expert on this broad and detailed subject.

Appropriate Training

Given the numerous combinations of conditions, including the bolt-up procedure if one is used, that can prevent a perfectly good gasket from reliably sealing, how can someone know if a condition is acceptable? The connection must be tight enough to develop and retain a certain value of gasket stress but not so tight that damage results to any of the three primary flange components: gasket, flange and bolts. Installers need a complete understanding of the role and limits of the components so they can take suitable actions. A training program is available that provides all of this information.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) PCC-1-2013 document, Guidelines for Pressure Boundary Bolted Flange Joint Assembly, provides guidance on what conditions to look for and what actions to take as well as several time-tested tightening procedures. Unfortunately, it would be rare for a mechanic to have access to this information. Although this guidance is primarily intended for engineering resources, the first of several appendices are entirely dedicated to the training needs of mechanics, and many engineers would benefit greatly from such training. Additionally, it includes specific guidance on how to set up a training package and what should be included in it.

It was not until recently that a formal training program was developed that provides this information and results in an ASME Certificate of Completion that validates the training. In February 2016, ASME formally announced the launch of its 
Bolting Specialist Qualification Training Program.

 

Components of the Training Program

The training was the result of collaboration between members of an advisory group that collectively has more than 190 years of concentrated experience in preventing BFC leaks. These include mechanical engineers thoroughly grounded in the science of flanges, bolts and gaskets, as well as professional training resources.

The entire effort was managed by the oversight of ASME Training and Development. Its goal was to develop a comprehensive training program that would draw attention to the real-world practices and observations important to preventing leaks, as well as provide a clear understanding of why they are so important.

Forms of the Training Program

The training is provided in two forms: an online package and a one-day, hands-on session conducted by an ASME-approved technical professional. The online session is divided into four parts, which provide the majority of the training information. This form allows trainees to remain at their respective places of employment and proceed at their own pace. Graphics are extensively used to clarify concepts. At the end of each section, trainees can answer a series of true-or-false or multiple choice questions crafted to test a thorough understanding of the concepts. A passing score is required before moving on to the next part.

Part 1. Principles of Bolted Flange Joints & ASME PCC-1

This module provides a general introduction to the subject, focuses on the wide range of features important to the successful sealing and maintenance of bolted flange connections, and stresses the value of leak-free operation.

Part 2. Flanges, Fasteners & Gaskets

This section draws attention to the importance of understanding the role and limits of the three primary bolted connection components and how to identify mechanical flaws that can compromise the sealing of a connection. Central to this section is understanding how and why each of the three components interact with one another.

Part 3. Putting it Together/Taking it Apart

Critical to the successful tightening of a bolted flange connection is following an approved tightening procedure. As the temperature and pressure of a connection rise, the range of successful bolt loads can become very narrow. This section focuses on how to get it right the first time. Most important, this portion explains how and why a tightening procedure works.

Part 4. Bolting Safety & Tool Handling

Large forces are always involved in the tightening of a BFC. Safety is always the top concern, and the proper handling and use of high-torque equipment is especially important.

Figures 1 and 2 display some key concepts to understand. Figure 1 introduces the force-distance relationship that develops a given value of torque.

Figure 2 explains the consequences of varying values of gasket stress, discusses the importance of understanding both lower and upper limits of tightening, and points out how a combination of high pressure and temperatures can narrow the range of safe sealing gasket stress.

The hands-on session, which becomes available upon the successful completion of all four parts, is conducted at a specialized training facility. A wide range of training equipment and power tools is available to demonstrate proper equipment setup and use.

The ASME Certificate of Completion signifies the trainee has demonstrated an understanding of the material. Maintenance personnel with the certificate will have a matured sense of expertise to bring to the field. Improvement is grounded in nderstanding, and this training is intended to provide it.

Türkiye endüstrisine, alana özel, spesifik yayınlar üreten MONETA Tanıtım’ın sektörel dergilerinin editörlüğünü yapmaktayım. Yeni nesil, dinamik yayıncılık anlayışıyla, dijital ve basılı mecralarda içerik geliştirmek için çalışmaktayız.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Innovating food processing equipment with custom metal parts

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Have you ever had a piece of equipment that worked perfectly…except that one little part that gave you trouble — say, a filter that kept getting clogged or an electrical connector that was always on the fritz? Wouldn’t it be great if you could redesign just that one piece to improve the operation of the entire machine?

These are exactly the kinds of problems Switzer is equipped to solve.

The family-owned custom metal parts manufacturer works with customers across industries — aerospace, medical, telecommunication, optics and photonics, and food processing, and many others — to design and fabricate precision metal parts for use in a variety of innovative technologies. They even worked with X, Google’s R&D division, on Project Loon, which uses balloons flying in the stratosphere to provide Internet access to remote areas. Switzer developed custom metal components for the balloons’ power supply.

To learn more about their work in the food industry, we spoke with Joseph Dunlop, the company’s vice president of business development.

Tackling a common food and beverage industry challenge: Filtration

“Everyone’s trying to be better, smaller, faster, and more efficient with less field service required,” Dunlop says.

That’s certainly true in the food industry, where competition, low profit margins, and a shrinking workforce are pushing processors to improve their operations while cutting their costs. Switzer recently tackled these issues for a notable OEM.

Currently, most filters fall into the commodity category. They’re typically an inexpensive woven wire mesh that can be cut to size. Woven wire mesh may be cheap, but it has two major downsides:

  1. Blinding. Blinding occurs when particles get caked on the filter and prevent working fluids from moving through. This impairs the filter’s performance until it’s no longer usable. As a result, the filters have to be replaced frequently. It has a similar impact in grinding and pulverizing applications.
  2. Structure degradation. Over time, the fiber structure of wire mesh weakens. “The distance between the wires will grow and shrink based on how much media is going through the woven wire mesh filter, and how much fatigue it witnesses,” Dunlop explains.

The OEM wanted to eliminate these problems. They also imposed an additional caveat: the new filter had to fit into the same space as the old one. The goal wasn’t to redesign the entire machine, just to provide higher-quality, longer-lasting filtration.

“This was a cool engineering problem for us,” Dunlop says. What Switzer developed was a metal filter that was thinner and more efficient than the traditional wire mesh. “When we make filtration media, it’s a single piece and it’s flat. We don’t weave anything, so there’s no three-dimensional component, no Z direction.” The single-piece construct is also more durable than woven wire, so the filter doesn’t have to be replaced as often.

This is just one example of the kind of “bleeding edge” technology innovation Switzer can bring to the food industry. The possibilities are endless.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

701TE and 701CE electric slew and track drive for mini-excavators from Bonfiglioli

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Our two new products allow customers to get a complete drive solution for 2-3 ton mini-excavators. Bonfiglioli offers a fully electric alternative to the conventional axial piston hydraulic unit, allowing the machine to reduce noise levels and CO2 emissions to zero. 

The complete electric powertrain dramatically improves the efficiency of the machine and extends the maintenance interval providing a significant reduction of the total cost of ownership. While the gear units benefit from over 65 years of experience by Bonfiglioli in the field of conventional hydraulic applications, the electric motors have been specifically designed and developed to match the demanding requirements of the market in terms of energy efficiency, compact dimensions and high power density. 

Each motor has been designed to perfectly fit the space available for the slew and the track system minimizing the requirements and modifications to the frame and the entire system. Its rugged and compact design is guaranteed thanks to the stator’s technology design, made with concentrated winding and IPM (Internal Permanent Magnet) technology. 

The broad selection of drive solutions, combined with very high quality, advanced technology, and a great deal of expertise, makes Bonfiglioli an ideal partner for all construction equipment manufacturers. The many years of experience certify Bonfiglioli’s capability to design, develop and create robust tailor-made solutions, perfectly adapted to its customers’ requests and needs.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

New DC Platform: Interroll presents an innovative drive solution

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Interroll is setting new standards in modern material flow technology. Interroll’s innovative range of coordinated RollerDrive products, control systems and power supply elements positions system integrators and plant constructors to now provide even more individual solutions for their customers, from plug-and-play standard applications to systems with Industry 4.0 functionality.

 The requirements placed on zero-pressure-accumulation material flow systems are becoming more demanding in terms of their technical performance. For a while now, users have required more than simply high throughputs or versatility in terms of the goods to be transported. As automation becomes more common, intelligent goods flow control plays an ever more significant role in conveyance systems. With the DC Platform, Interroll has developed a powerful technology platform that fulfills these requirements in an exemplary manner.

“With the new DC Platform, system integrators and plant constructors can choose from an innovative, coordinated range of technological solutions from a single supplier, all based on years of development and testing,” explains Armin Lindholm, Managing Director of the global Center of Excellence for rollers and RollerDrive in Wermelskirchen. “It enables them to deal with users’ requirements in a more individual manner. This new platform can be used to create a unique range of conveying solutions, from autonomous conveyors that can be commissioned without a programmable logic controller (PLC) using plug-and-play, all the way to tailor-made, high-performance systems that can be consistently and transparently integrated into the data universe of Industry 4.0 applications for the purpose of monitoring in control stations, for preventive maintenance or for other functions.”

Experience the benefits of 48 V technology

The new modular platform makes it possible for system integrators and plant constructors to design conveying systems according to customers’ requests in both 24 V and 48 V versions. With this step, Interroll is driving the technical evolution of protective low-voltage solutions that has been sketched out by automotive manufacturers. 48 V systems therefore enable the use of up to 50 percent fewer power supply elements than in 24 V systems. They enable the use of smaller wire cross-sections and longer wire lengths, and reduce the number of error sources, for instance as a result of voltage drops on the wires. This significantly reduces the investment required in the entire system and the risk of errors during commissioning.

Three power levels to choose from with the new RollerDrive

However, customers don’t just have more options when it comes to the voltage type of the new DC Platform. The new RollerDrive EC5000 also offers more flexibility in terms of its mechanical output power. The new motor rollers are available in 20 W, 35 W and 50 W versions that can take on any transport tasks for light or heavy goods. To support the implementation of conveyor solutions for heavy goods, Interroll offers the 50 W power option as well as a RollerDrive version with tubes measuring 60 mm in diameter instead of 50 mm. What’s more, the well-known IP66 and Deep Freeze design options are available; these enable RollerDrive solutions to be implemented even in areas that are cleaned using powerful water jets or that reach temperatures as low as -30° C.

Bus interface opens the door to Industry 4.0

Alongside the tried-and-tested analog interface, the EC5000 can be supplied with a bus interface based on the CANOpen standard, upon request. This means that modern conveying systems can offer data transparency for the first time. In combination with an Interroll control system with multi-protocol capability (PROFINET, EtherNet/IP and EtherCat), this means that users can consistently visualize a range of information and functions on the screen using the PLC or a web interface. One example is the display of general information about the current operating state and the operating load of the individual drives over time. In parallel, the control systems enable a range of detailed information such as precise error statuses, torque or temperature, for instance, to be read out for each individual drive.

At the same time, the new RollerDrive’s bus interface enables users to carry out completely new control functions that are required in an automated environment. As a result, users can control the acceleration, speed and deceleration of the conveyed goods in the system more precisely. This solution also allows them to position the relevant goods on the conveyor to the nearest millimeter—a key requirement in order to guarantee seamless conveying interplay between the conveyor solution and robots or automated gripper arms.

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