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Hydro Plug Testing: Innovator vs. The Competition | Full Testing Series

Experience the ultimate showdown in plug testing! Join us for the thrilling video series, “Hydro Plug Testing: Innovator vs. The Competition,” where Don Cooper, the visionary CEO and Founder of Innovator Industrial Services, takes center stage. Get ready as he puts different types of isolation and test plugs to the ultimate test!

In this captivating video, witness a head-to-head battle as five distinct plug styles go head-to-head, including the widely available O-ring style tool and the tool rented from Carbo Testing. The stakes are high as these tools are put through their paces on a six-inch scheduled standard with a maximum design test rating of 1500 psi.

Hi, I’m Don Cooper, I’m the CEO and Founder of Innovator Industrial Services and in this video series we’re going to have some fun. We have written articles in the past on the history of isolation and test plugs and on the advancements in that technology so rather than writing about it we thought we would go out into the marketplace and rent all of the plugs that our customers and our audience has available and compare them all in a controlled situation to see how they perform.

So we’re going to be measuring how long it takes to set these plugs up, how fast it is for them to be able to accomplish a hydro test on the desired pressure and see if they actually perform as they’re supposed to. We’re going to use three different setups. One is a 6-inch scheduled standard pipe with a 300-pound flange and we’re going to be testing those to a maximum design pressure of 500 psi. The next test that we’re going to do is a 6-inch schedule 80 pipe with 600-pound flanges and a maximum design test pressure of 1500 psi. The third and final tests that we’re going to be doing is on six-inch extra extra strong pipe with 1500 pound flanges and the test pressures are 2,500 psi.

So in total were we’re actually testing five different styles of plugs but each of these plugs are designed for different criteria. In the six inch standard 500 psi test we are testing a publicly available o ring style tool that we rented from a company called Carbo Testing. The second tool that we are going to be testing at six inch scheduled standard is the high lift tool that is publicly available to rent from many sources and the manufacturer is Expansion Seal Curtiss-Wright. The third tool is an o-ring style tool that is unique to Innovator, it’s a multi scheduled tool we call it the Innovator MR plug. The final tool that we are going to test on the six inch schedule standard 500 psi test is the Innovator Dual tool which is a multi scheduled tool that has hydrostatically inflatable seals and a connect as both an isolation and a test tool.

In the second set of tests we are testing six-inch schedule 80 600-pound flanges with a maximum design test rating of 1500 psi. In this series we’re going to be testing the Carbo o-ring style tool that uses compressive force to expand the o-ring. We’re going to be using the Expansion Seal High Lift tool and we are going to be using the Innovator IWT self energizing internal well tester.

In the final set of testing we are testing six inch extra extra strong pipe with 1500 pound flanges. The test pressure is 2,500 psi. In this category the field gets narrowed down to simply two tools that are stated publicly that are capable of doing these tests. We’re going to be testing the Carbo o-ring tool and we’re going to be testing the Innovator IWT tool.

So now we’re on to seeing some results. On the six-inch scheduled standard 300 pound test we’re first looking at the Carbo o-ring install tool. This is a 500-pound design maximum test pressure. After just over 12 minutes and four attempts the Carbo plug was not able to hold pressure and the reason was that the rental tool came with a faulty test hose so that we weren’t able to get it to hold any pressure at all and after 15 minutes and when discovering that the tool had a faulty hose that tool on that test was canceled and deemed a failure. You as a client if you rent the tooland it’s multiple miles away from the rental location, you can’t have faulty equipment that won’t hold pressure. We don’t know if that tool would hold 5500 psi if it had come ready to use but unfortunately in this situation that particular tool was not functional and we could not perform an adequate test to allow it to prove itself.

So the next tool on our 6-inch scheduled standard testing is the Expansion Seal High Lift tool. So for the High Lift tool, it took us just over 14 minutes to set the tool up. Another additional 15 plus minutes to get it up the pressure and oh just over 32 minutes after we put the tool into use we had reached the 500 pound test pressure. So this tool was successful as a rental tool to be able to perform the desired test pressure of 500 psi. So High Lift tool was a success at 32 minutes.

The third test in our series is the Innovator MR plug or the o-ring style tool that’s designed to be multi range. The tool took us just over six minutes to do the setup and another four minutes to reach the 500 pound desired hydrotest pressure and the total test was up to pressure and holding at just over 10 minutes in time. So the Innovator MR tool was a success and significantly faster than some of its rivals.

The final test in our six-inch scheduled standard testing at 500 psi is the Innovator Dual tool. The Dual tool is a different concept because the seals on a Dual tool are inflatable hydrostatic fluid we actually inflate them with water or test medium from the same pressure pump and the seals inflate like a radial tire. The tool took just over 11 minutes, 11 minutes and 15 seconds in fact to be set up and to reach test pressure. So it was slightly slower than the Innovator MR plug but it was still a success, significantly faster than its rivals and it easily reached the 500 psi test pressure and was deemed a success in this application.

In this set of tests we are testing 6-inch scheduled 80 to 1500 psi. So the criteria in this test again is a maximum of one hour to be able to achieve a test and the plug in question was allowed up to four attempts to be able to accomplish and hold pressure at that Hydra test. In the first tool we’re comparing the Carbo on six-inch scheduled 80 with 1,500 pounds of test pressure. The tool took just over 25, 25 minutes my apologies, 25 minutes to set up and just over 34 minutes of attempting to get a test. Unfortunately, the maximum test pressure that the Carbo plug reached in this setup was 700 psi and we cancelled the testing after four attempts and after it maxed out on the one hour criteria.

So the next tool is the High Lift Expansion Seal tool, 6 inch schedule 80, 600-pound flanges and a test pressure maximum test pressure of 1500 psi. The tool took just over 13 minutes to set up and just over 14 minutes of testing time and at that point the tool reached a maximum test pressure that we could hold at 500 psi but again the tool had maxed out its four attempts and the test was determined to be a fail in terms of being able to accomplish the goals of that test and it was stopped.

So the final test is the Innovator IWT six inch schedule 80, 1,500 pound hydro test. Six minutes to get it up the pressure, holding it at 1,500 psi and the whole process took under eight minutes to a very quick test and that tool was equally successful at accomplishing the desired test pressure for this particular scenario.

On the six-inch extra extra strong tests at 2,500 psi. So forthe Carbo plug on this six-inch extra extra strong test, the plug is delivered as a rental with loop sewing material that you as the operator need to cut and glue to make that seal work. What we found was that that slowed down setup and actually added a pretty significant potential for human error. So in this situation, the setup of the tool took 8 minutes and 15 seconds to get up to its maximum test pressure it took us eight minutes and 39 seconds but here’s where we started to see some challenges. The maximum test pressure that this tool was able to achieve was 2,300 psi. It could not reach 2,500 psi and our rules in this testing was that we gave each tool one hour to be able to complete a test and they got up to four attempts before we decided that it was a non-starter and that it could not reach the results. So in the case of this tool, after four attempts, the maximum test pressure that we could reach was 2,300 psi.

The next tool in our six inch extra extra strong 2,500 pound tests is the Innovator IWT or internal well test tool that is self energizing. This means that the seals actually react to the hydrostatic pressure and continually to add more rubber pressure making them perform as the pressure comes up. What happened with this tool is it took us one minute and 20 seconds to install the plug. It took us a little longer to get up the pressure at nine minutes and 49 seconds but we were able to reach 2,500 pounds of test pressure in our first attempt. After it held pressure for a full ten-minute hydro test our people then decided to push the limits of that tool and we actually performed an additional hydro test on the same setup of 3500 psi. So a total of just over 11 minutes of testing to get it up to pressure and then we held not one but two different hydro tests at 2500 pounds and again at 3500 pounds definitely being the top performer in this category.

So as we wrap up the testing and we look at the categories at 500 psi, at 1500 psi and at 2,500 psi in terms of time and their ability to accomplish the desired test we look at this in terms of time and pressure. So we rank the Innovator IWT as in first place. The next tool that was highly successful was the Innovator MR tool which was equal in performance to its Dual tool but was 30 seconds faster overall. In third place is the Innovator Dual tool was very successful in its tests but did take 30 seconds longer than its sister MR tool. Finally, in the lower categories particularly in the scheduled standard the High Lift tool is successful but unfortunately it was not a significant success could not reach its test pressure on the schedule 80 1500 pound test so we’re ranking that one as fourth place overall.

And the final place because it failed in two of its three categories to hold a seal and all of any significance and didn’t really work at all because of a fail plug the Carbo plug didn’t reach its a desired test pressure on extra extra strong, it didn’t reach the desired test pressure on schedule 80 and it didn’t reach the desired test pressure on schedule standard. And while it had contenders in all three categories it really didn’t hold up to meeting any expectations that would have led to a successful hydro test. So in this comparison, we rank that as number five in our categories.

When I think about the testing we’ve done here it’s very insightful to see how different tools perform, how they accomplish those tests with ease or lack thereof. Do they actually reach the desired test pressures? At the end of the day, customers want the plug to get a seal,get up to pressure so they can get on with confirming that the weld being tested is good. It should never be about the plug, it should be about the test.

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