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.
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.
Hermle large part machining centres in mould and tool making
HETEC’s claim of “Performance is not a matter of chance” exactly expresses the philosophy and strategy of the machining services supplier from Breidenbach! And that philosophy was born out of Friedhelm Herhaus’ experience: For too long he felt hampered in his desire to put his specialist knowledge and skill to practical use and to the customer’s benefit. In such cases there is only one way forward: setting up one’s own operation. Together with his brother Günter Herhaus, he founded HETEC OHG, originally in Bad Laasphe. As the scope of the business grew, brother Werner Herhaus joined the company as well, and in 2000 the next milestone was reached with the founding of HETEC GmbH.
That meant anything but standstill, however, and in rapid succession the company invested in CAD/CAM systems (3-axis) and, in 2002, in the first five-axis machining centre as well as the associated data processing and organizational environment. In 2003, a new production hall focusing on large part machining was built at the present company headquarters in Breidenbach. Each shouldering executive responsibility for specific business areas, the three brothers systematically invested in more CAD/CAM systems, CNC machine tools, workflow optimization and remote monitoring of processes. This put them into a position to provide their growing customer base with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology for highly demanding, complex tool and mould construction components as well as large scale basic tools at all times.
In order to meet the exacting and ever increasing customer requirements with sustainable reliability, HETEC has included five-axis machining centres from Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG in its machine park since 2009.This began with a C40 machining centre that was followed by a C 30 U and – as soon as they became available – the first large machines of the C 60 U and C 50 U series. In the course of time, a C 400 U was purchased for machining smaller items, and more recently by another large machine, a C 52 U.
Friedhelm Herhaus has this to say about the cooperation with Hermle AG: “We have always received very good and fair advice from Hermle and we were and still are delighted with the 5-axis concept, with the performance, the very high degree of precision, the accessibility, the excellent and fast service as well as the very good support in all phases of a project.” As a practical and graphic illustration of this, he pointed out that to date the C 40 U machining centre purchased in 2009 has already clocked up over 30000 spindle running hours – and it is still using the original spindle! Not to mention the fact that the precision values recorded in a measurement log from 2016 simply repeated those that had been recorded seven years previously!
It is worth mentioning that, despite the broad range of applications in the areas of full processing and finishing work, the Hermle machining centres are ‘only’ equipped with the standard tool magazines. The plausible reason for this is that HETEC has developed its own tool/magazine management system that allows all the milling machines and machining centres (each of which has the same HSK-A63 tool holding fixture, by the way) to be tooled according to the order and the work to be done. Altogether this involves around 2000 ‘sharp’ tools, each provided with a chip, including around 250 different milling tools and around 300 for drilling and thread cutting. This means that the tools can be changed ‘blind’, i.e. deployed as required and with drastically reduced changing and equipping times.
With the purchase of the new C 52 U five-axis machining centre, HETEC went another step further by ordering the HIMS (‘Hermle Information Monitoring Software’) base package for the first time. HIMS provides a display of the life status and transmission of the information by email as required. This fits perfectly to HETEC’s manufacturing and (remote) monitoring strategy: single-shift normal operation and otherwise (monitored) automatic operation. With a working range of X = 1000, Y = 1100, Z = 750 mm and the 700 mm swivelling rotary table with a load-bearing capacity of 2000 kg, the C 52 U machining centre is ideally suited to full/finishing machining of extremely intricate tool and mould components or base plates.
In conclusion, Friedhelm Herhaus was full of praise regarding the teamwork with Hermle, remarking amongst other things that: “Despite their increasing complexity, the Hermle machining centres can be set up very simply, commissioned quickly and they are operator friendly. The good accessibility also enables us to carry out a full redeployment on the large machines from one workpiece to the next within 15 minutes. This means that even without further automation, we achieve spindle running times of 400 hours per month and machine as a single-part manufacturer. Another example of Hermle’s performance capabilities can be seen in the C 52 U five-axis machining centre project, which we needed very quickly to satisfy urgent customer requirements. We received our order on condition that capacity for 8 x 140 hours of manufacturing performance should be available on schedule. With Hermle’s help, we managed to set up and commission the C 52 U in a short space of time, and to meet the availability requirements not just temporarily, but in the long term as well. It really isn’t every supplier that can supply such a consistent and comprehensive package exactly on time – even in Germany with its reputation for machine construction there is not a great deal of choice.”
Hermle’s five-axis machining centres are now operating in an air-conditioned hall, where they can supply the required degree of precision (e.g. 2/100ths mm deviation on a 500 mm milling stretch over long periods) giving the HETEC team a significant edge over the competition!
ABB and Formula E partner to write the future of e-mobility
“ABB FIA Formula E Championship” brings pioneering technology leader ABB as title sponsor to the world’s first fully electric international FIA motorsport series.
ABB and Formula E are teaming up in a ground-breaking partnership to champion e-mobility for a sustainable future. Since its first race in Beijing in September 2014, Formula E has established itself as the number one all-electric international motor sport. In the next level of development, global pioneering technology leader ABB is bringing its name and innovation and technology leadership to the series, which will be now known as the “ABB FIA Formula E Championship.”
With its unrivalled expertise in electrification and leadership in electric vehicle charging solutions, with the largest installed base of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles worldwide, ABB is the ideal industry partner for Formula E. Formula E serves as a competitive platform to develop and test e-mobility-relevant electrification and digitalization technologies, helping refine the design and functionality of electric vehicles and infrastructure as well as the associated digital platforms. By joining forces, ABB and Formula E will be ideally positioned to push the boundaries of e-mobility.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Formula E in writing the future of e-mobility,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “Today, two pioneers are uniting. ABB and Formula E are a natural fit at the forefront of the latest electrification and digital technologies. Together, we will write the next phase of this exciting sports activity and foster high-performance teams. Together, we will write the future – one electrifying race at a time.”
Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Formula E, said: “This is a historic day for Formula E and I’m honored to welcome the global technology leader ABB as the title partner of Formula E, with its background and expertise in the field of electrification and digital technologies. Our two companies are synonymous with pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Together, as partners, we will showcase breakthrough technology on a global scale to fans and consumers who follow the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.”
As the world leader in electric vehicle infrastructure, ABB offers the full range of charging solutions for electric cars, electric and hybrid buses as well as electrification solutions for ships and railways. ABB entered the EV-charging market back in 2010, and today has a fast growing global installed base of more than 6,000 fast chargers.
Secure remote access for industrial machines for dummies
HMS Industrial Networks announces the release of the book “Secure Remote Access for Industrial Machines for Dummies” eWON® Special Edition. After-sales service and support for industrial machines are costly and time-consuming. Experienced engineers and technicians travel to customer sites to diagnose issues, answer questions, provide training, and resolve problems. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to quickly and securely perform diagnostics and resolve most of those issues remotely?
This is underlying theme for the book “Secure Remote Access for Industrial Machines for Dummies,” from HMS Industrial Networks.
The book describes how eWON products from HMS work and how they allow readers to:
- Learn the business benefits of remote Access
- See how to ensure secure access via the Internet and clouds
- Understand how to can diagnose and solve problems remotely
The target audience for this book are automation engineers or field technicians working for a machine builder or original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s). With a strong understanding of the machines that they build or support, they are not necessarily as comfortable with new technologies such as cloud computing, remote access, information security and how Internet works in general. The book addresses these topics and more, and is written primarily for “non-techie” readers.
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