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.
MICROCHIP non-volatile memories
The demand for non-volatile memory is largely due to the continuous development of mobile devices, which require more and more memory capacity. This particularly applies to cameras, smartphones, tablets or cameras. Growing market expectations propel the ongoing improvement of non-volatile memory manufacturing technologies.
The core idea behind non-volatile memory is to store data when there is no power supply. However, the power supply is necessary for data saving and reading.
Both Microchip and Atmel (which was acquired by Microchip) have extensive experience in the manufacture of non-volatile memories. The manufacturing process is carried out in the company’s own silicon factories. Advanced test procedures are employed to maintain the highest level of quality. The manufacturer’s portfolio also includes AEC-Q100 certified memories for automotive applications. It is also worth mentioning that all memory chips introduced so far on the market are still manufactured.
EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) memories belong to the group of non-volatile memories. Solutions of this type are most often used in applications which require the presence of reprogrammable areas of ROM memory, especially with regard to storing system configuration data.
Taking into account the interface, EEPROMs can be serial or parallel. Serial memories (24xx series with I2C interface, 25xx series with SPI interface, 93xx series with Microwire interface) are usually manufactured in DIP and SOIC enclosures. Their capacity usually amounts to several dozen kB. It is thanks to the serial interface, small size and low energy consumption that such memories are very often used to store device serial number data or configuration and manufacturing data. There are also serial memories with a unique 48- or 64-bit address that is pre-programmed in the factory, which can be used as the MAC address of the device.
The 28xx series includes parallel memories. It is worth mentioning that they are compatible with EPROM 27xxx series memories in terms of reading and output features.
The area of application of EEPROM memories mainly includes industrial electronics – measuring devices and control systems, safety and alarm systems, sensors or battery chargers. They can also be found in IoT devices, medical devices and in the automotive segment. Moreover, EEPROMs are also applied in consumer electronics, i.e. in computer equipment, household appliances & audio/video devices.
The fact that Microchip continues to support legacy EEPROMs – 1.2um – 0.7 – 0.5 – 0.4 – 0.25 – 0.18 – 0.13um – plays an important role in ensuring the continuity of device production.
The development of EEPROMs primarily involves reducing energy consumption and introducing support for new interfaces. The asynchronous UNI/O bus developed by Microchip in 2008 is worth mentioning here (11xx series). It is based on a single bi-directional SCIO (Single Connection I/O) data line, which gives a total of 3 outputs for SOT23 and TO92 enclosures. The latest solution is the memory with a Single-Wire interface (21CS series), in which the power is supplied to the system through a bi-directional data line, which allows to reduce the number of outputs from the system to just two (SI/O + GND).
When compared to EEPROM, FLASH non-volatile memories are characterized by shorter write and read times, which, however, means that it is impossible to write and read single bytes. In this case, read and write are executed in larger areas of memory, so called pages (128/256 bytes). Flash memories offered by Microchip are fitted with a parallel (SST39 series) or serial interface (SPI in SST25 series, SQI in SST26 series). Key parameters of Flash memory include: memory capacity (4 Mbit), operating frequency (e.g. 40 MHz), operating voltage (e.g. 2.3 – 3.6V), housing type (e.g. TDFN8), mounting method (e.g. SMD) and operating temperature (e.g. -40-85°C).
It is worth mentioning the SuperFlash technology used in the systems, which ensures reduced power consumption with a very short data deletion time. The SQI interface, on the other hand, provides fast data transmission with a minimum number of outputs.
EERAM is a combination of high-speed SRAM (Static Random-Access Memory) and non-volatile EEPROM, which stores a copy of SRAM (I2C, 47x series). Thanks to this configuration the contents of the cache can be restored from the backup copy in case of power supply problems. Therefore, EERAM is based on an external capacitor, which is the source of backup power for the time needed to copy the memory content.
It is worth mentioning similar NVSRAM (Non-volatile Static Random-Access Memory – 23XX series) systems, which also feature RAM backup. The difference is that for such chips to operate properly, an additional power supply is required, namely a battery or a rechargeable battery, (not needed in the case of EERAM), which has an impact on the device manufacturing cost.
Furthermore, the number of data writing and reading operations is unlimited. Depending on application requirements, you can choose an EERAM of 4kb or 16kb.
During operation, the internal logic is responsible for real-time power status monitoring. As a result, all power supply losses and drops are detected, taking into account the accepted threshold (Vtrip). If any of these statuses is detected, the SRAM content is copied to the EEPROM. The external capacitor connected to the Vcap output of the system is also important here. When the supply voltage returns above the Vtrip level, the EEPROM content is copied to the SRAM. It should be noted that the SRAM content can be restored at any time by means of a software trigger. To sum up, EERAMs are perfectly suited for use in applications where frequent and quick updating of memory cell content is required, while ensuring that the data stored there is preserved in case of power loss. They are therefore a perfect match for measuring instruments (electric, gas and liquid meters), industrial and consumer electronics (POS terminals, information kiosks, printers) and automotive solutions (data loggers, sensors).
More information is available on the website of Transfer Multisort Elektronik (www.tme.eu) – an official distributor of Microchip Technology.
Hexagon presents complete solution for laser scanning on the machine tool
New on-machine tool laser scanning measurement solution enhances productivity and data capture.
Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division is bringing laser scanning with metrology levels of precision to machine tool measurement with its new LS-C-5.8 system.
Ideal for measuring freeform or large surfaces, the LS-C-5.8 integrates with machine tools to create point cloud images of a part’s entire surface. Dedicated software presents the data in an easy-to-understand format, making it simple to quickly identify fluctuations in quality and correctly align a part for reworking while it is still clamped to the machine tool.
Andreas Hieble, Product Manager Metrology Solutions for Hexagon’s machine tool measurement product line says: “We’ve drawn on our expertise in developing market-leading laser scanners for coordinate measuring machines and portable measuring arms to meet manufacturers’ growing demand for a new, productivity-enhancing approach to machine tool measurement. Today, users typically have to create and analyse many single points when measuring with a machine tool. The LS-C-5.8 laser scanner solution transforms the process by automatically capturing thousands of points per second and rapidly delivering rich data in an easy-to-read form.”
The LS-C-5.8 is a fixed blue line sensor that delivers precise results whether measuring shiny or very dark surfaces across a huge variety of applications and surface types. It combines a compact design with a large field-of-view so that it can be used to create point clouds on small machines and in environments where part accessibility is limited. And its software enables the comparison of the real-life part with designs in the CAD model.
The LS-C-5.8’s software is compatible with controls from Siemens, Fanuc and Heidenhain. It is designed to marry high performance with ease-of-use and its features include the display of colour-mapped point clouds. It is able to use data to align the part on the machine (Best-Fit) and can export files in an STL format. As a result, the data it captures can be ready in real time on the shop floor, enabling manufacturers to quickly identify and address production issues.
AI Devices In Industrial Manufacturing To Reach 15.4mln By 2024
In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been touted as a powerful technology that will revolutionise the industrial manufacturing space. The sentiment has its validity, but the reality is extremely complex.
AI in industrial manufacturing is a collection of various use cases at different phases of manufacturing, such as generative design in product development, production forecasting in inventory management, and machine vision, defect inspection, production optimisation, and predictive maintenance in the production phase. ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm, forecasts that the total installed base of AI-enabled devices in industrial manufacturing will reach 15.4 million in 2024, with a CAGR of 64.8% from 2019 to 2024.
“AI in industrial manufacturing is a story of edge implementation,” says Lian Jye Su, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “Since manufacturers are not comfortable having their data transferred to a public cloud, nearly all industrial AI training and inference workloads happen at the edge, namely on device, gateways and on-premise servers.” To facilitate this, AI chipset manufacturers and server vendors have designed AI-enabled servers specifically for industrial manufacturing. More and more industrial infrastructure is equipped with AI software or dedicated AI chipsets to perform AI inference.
Despite these solutions and the wealth of data in the manufacturing environment, the implementation of AI in industrial manufacturing has not been as seamless as was expected by the industry. Among all the use cases, predictive maintenance and equipment monitoring have been the most commercially implemented so far, due to the maturity of associated AI models. The total installed base for these two use cases alone is expected to reach 9.8 million and 6.7 million, respectively, by 2024. It is important to note that many of these AI-enabled industrial devices support multiple use cases on the same device due to advancements in AI chipsets. Key startups such as Uptake, SparkCognition, FogHorn and Falkonry are introducing cloud- and edge-based solutions that monitor the overall performance of industrial manufacturing assets and process flows.
Another commercial use case currently gaining momentum is defect inspection. The total installed base for this use case is expected to grow from 300,000 in 2019 to over 3.7 million by 2024. This is a use case that is extremely popular in electronic and semiconductor manufacturing, where major manufacturers, such as Samsung, LG and Foxconn, have been partnering with AI chipset vendors and software providers, such as CEVA, Gyrfalcon Technology, Lattice Semiconductor, Instrumental, Landing AI, and Neurala, to develop AI-based machine vision to perform surface, leak and component-level defect detection, microparticle detection, geometric measurement, and classification.
Conventional machine vision technology remains popular in the manufacturing factory, due to its proven repeatability, reliability, and stability. However, the emergence of deep learning technologies opens the possibility of expanded capabilities and flexibility. These algorithms can pick up unexpected product abnormalities or defects, go beyond existing issues and uncover valuable new insights for manufacturers.
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