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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.

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Belt and Belt Drives

Interroll receives major order in the US

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Interroll reports a large order received from a leading e-commerce platform in North America. The order includes the supply of vertical crossbelt sorter systems for 12 locations and amounts to a double-digit million US dollar volume.
The sorter systems will be installed at both new and existing end user facilities throughout the United States.

Increased consumer demand via e-commerce combined with the rising urgent need to comply with social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak created the need to expand the customer’s existing distribution infrastructure rapidly. Interroll’s simplified mechanical crossbelt platform sorter design enabled the end user and system integrators involved to plan with a six-month lead time. Interroll received orders for 12 sites with one system per site, amounting in total to a double-digit million US dollar volume.

“The Interroll vertical crossbelt sorter has been selected for its exceptional performance and proven success with large-scale projects in the American courier, express, and parcel market,” says Richard Keely, Executive Vice President Americas and member of the Interroll Group Management. “Moreover, the small footprint, throughput of 8,000 per hour through each single induction, as well as handling a wide variety of items have been decisive factors in being awarded this great opportunity.”

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Innovative Push Pull Standard for M12 connectors – across manufacturers Milestone for automation technology

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Eight well-known manufacturers established on the market for M12 connectors ­Phoenix Contact, HARTING, Molex, Murrelektronik, Binder, CONEC, ESCHA and Weidmüller – have come together to establish a standard for the push-pull locking mechanism of M12 connectors on the market. Together, we are pursuing the one goal of ensuring compatibility across manufacturers.

This joint approach resulted in the IEC 61076-2-010; a standard that describes both external and internal locking by utilizing push-pull locking.

Whether locked internally or externally, with the new standardized PushPull locking system, M12 round connectors can now be quickly connected across markets.

The vote on the CDV was approved with an outstanding 92.9% in favor. This indicates that a final form of the IEC mentioned can be expected in December 2020. With this standard, a milestone for automation technology has been achieved – both the saving of installation time and thus costs as well as a safe, robust and widely available locking system can be realized.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

HARTING T1 Industrial SPE Interface takes the German Innovation Award 2020

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The HARTING T1 Industrial Interface for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) has been awarded the German Innovation Award 2020, marking the second consecutive year that HARTING has won the coveted award. After the German Innovation Award 2019 went to the HARTING ix Industrial interface for miniaturized Ethernet solutions, HARTING T1 Industrial has now emerged as this year’s winner.

For the team that committed a lot of dedicated work to the introduction of the Single Pair Ethernet interface as a standard mating face according to IEC 63171-6, the award is both a sound confirmation of their efforts and powerful motivation for future projects. In introducing the new solution for single pair Ethernet, the focus was clearly on not only developing a product, but ultimately on successfully integrating the entire concept and product successful into international standardization and establish it on the markets.

“Fielding the T1 Industrial interface, we are bringing SPE technology a major step closer to customers. The award is a clear incentive to continue to drive this development forward, to expand the solution portfolio and to continue to develop new, customized IIoT solutions for our customers in the future,” as Ralf Klein, Managing Director of HARTING Electronics emphasized.

The HARTING Technology Group recognized the potentials of SPE at an early stage and developed an optimal infrastructure solution for all users relying on I4.0 and IIoT. In order to establish a uniform standard for industry with SPE, HARTING played an active, pioneering role in the development of standards and has standardized the interface according to IEC 63171-6, as well as having this standard referenced in the international cabling standards ISO/IEC 11801 and TIA TR 42.7. For 75 years, innovation has featured as the core business of the Technology Group – and the German Innovation Award impressively underlines this fact once again.

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