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.
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.
Swiss-based Sulzer will display its packaging, mixing and dispensing solutions for adhesives at MatDispens. In line with the event’s theme ‘Empowering Manufacturing Efficiency’, the product range from Sulzer can have a large impact on manufacturers’ operations by delivering best-in-class application performance with sustainable and easy to use systems.
MatDispens is India’s main event dedicated to materials and dispensing equipment used in the automotive, aerospace, packaging, wind power and electronics sectors. The event offers businesses an opportunity to learn about how dispensing and dosing solutions can help them improve the quality of their products.
Sulzer experts will showcase the company’s offering for Indian manufacturers on Booth A26 in Hall V. The business is renowned for developing innovative products that meet the most demanding quality standards. Furthermore, by combining cutting-edge and comprehensive dispensing solutions and global capabilities with local points of contact in India, the company can now offer unique support to customers in the region.
A sustainability highlight for visitors to MatDispens will be Sulzer’s ecopaCCTM collapsible cartridges. This product is a compact, lightweight two-component packaging solution that, when filled with fluids, such as adhesives, is able to compress and reduce its size as content is dispensed. The foldable design of ecopaCC reduces waste by up to 75% compared to conventional rigid cartridges. As a result, end users can substantially reduce their transport and waste disposal costs. A fact that ecopaCC was recognized for when it won the prestigious 2019 Sustainability Award.
Also on display will be Sulzer’s F-, B- and K-dispensing systems for industrial applications as well as COX and MK series of pneumatic, battery and manual dispensers. These give end users full control over the liquid dispensing process.
In addition, Sulzer MixCoatTM spray dispensing system DPS 1500 for two-component materials will be on stand. This is a portable solution for the application of protective coatings, such as anti-corrosive sprays. By selecting this tool, manufacturers and maintenance specialists can avoid overspray and treat surfaces that are difficult to access with conventional dispensing equipment, improving the quality of the coating.
Sulzer’s MIXPAC™ and Quadro™ static mixers will also be showcased during the event. These are designed to optimize mixing between multiple components during liquid dispensing while avoiding material leakage. In this way, end users can apply well-homogenized adhesives and sealants, delivering high-quality results.
In line with Sulzer’s System Approach, all the solutions being showcased, as well as the entire product offering, are designed to seamlessly fit together, providing optimal user experience and excellent end results.
Throughout the event, experts will be on hand to discuss how Sulzer can help address the packaging, mixing and dispensing needs of Indian manufacturers.
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