Technical bolting is now often done with tradespeople that aren’t trained to follow a systematic flange management program, and this can put your facility at risk.
Where you used to have bolting programs that focused only on the most high pressure and critical applications(with certified bolting technicians performing the work)…
Now you have site wide flange management documentation that many types of tradesmen can simply follow to get the job done.
Bolting used to be much more specialized. The technicians involved did all the calculations and advised clients on proper bolt loads to use, the proper bolting patterns, or alignment. Everything that wasn’t critical such as high pressure heat exchangers or reactor goosenecks would use the traditional impact or hammer wrenches.
Eventually, clients started seeing the value in having controlled bolting systems for major projects.
Where you normally might do 50 flanges in a refinery 25 years ago, now that same refinery has a flange management process that can include 10s or 1000s of flanges.
Now most trades people – be they millwrights, boilermakers, or pipefitters – are tasked with bolting using this process.
Thing is, they’re not certified bolting technicians. They’re trained to be tool operators. This means they’re not trained to follow a systematic process for eliminating leaks with good flange management.
With that being said, what are the components of a strong flange management program?
Your site will want a strong bolting specification program that addresses the unique conditions of your site. Do you have compact flanges such as Graylocs or Securamax? Do you have legacy ring joints? How about high pressure piping?
Have you developed piping risk classifications for low, medium, and high risk types of piping that require different levels of inspection and bolting protocols?
If you don’t hone in on these specifics, you run the risk of running general building specifications. This has the potential to put you in challenging situations.
You might have to deal with leaks involving high temperatures, toxic gases, hydrogen sulfide or high pressure steam.(To name a few)
These variety of higher risk situations require more than a general bolting program to ensure safety of your staff and wellbeing of your equipment.
To learn more about what a good flange management system looks like or to talk with us about any questions you have, contact us below.
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