As mentioned earlier in many of our articles, flanges are a crucial application for major industries like petrochemicals, power, oil & gas, and many more. As leakages can cause major losses to plants, it is important to ensure timely flange facing and maintenance to ensure leak-free joints. To address this issue and maintain joint integrity, a plant should always have the essential flange maintenance tools to reduce downtime and losses. In this article, we will talk about the commonly used flange maintenance tools and the role of these tools in maintenance operations.
- Flange Facing Tools
As mentioned in our previous article, flange facing is the most crucial flange maintenance activity that helps repair damaged flanges. As flanges consistently experience damage due to turbulent impact and flow with other components during installation, construction, or cuts from gasket leaks. Flange facing tools help cut the flanges to give them a spiral grooved finish. The finish ensures joint integrity to reduce the possibilities of any leakages as liquids and gases are forced to travel in a long spiral path rather than across the flange face. These tools can be mounted in two ways i.e. ID or OD mounting.
These tools can be applicable on multiple applications like repairing heat exchanger nozzle flange, cutting new grooves, or repairing ring grooves, re-facing valve flanges, boiler feed pump flanges, etc.
- Torque Wrenches
Another crucial tool that gets missed around in flange maintenance are torque wrenches. These tools mainly ensure controlled bolting in flanges. As there are multiple bolts present on flanges, they tend to loosen with time due to constant vibrations and impact on flanges causing leakages. To achieve controlled bolting, we recommend using a power torque wrench over manual methods. Not only do these modern torque wrenches offer higher accuracy but also require minimum effort, manpower, and time to achieve joint integrity. Manual torque wrenches cannot achieve controlled bolting and can cause leakages again.
We recommend using hydraulic torque wrenches as they offer the highest accuracy in bolting i.e. +/-3%. Another way of checking the accuracy is by conducting hydrotesting, where gases/liquids are pumped on to the flanges at different pressure to do a leakage check.
- Flange Spreaders
Flange spreaders are tools used to prepare flanges for maintenance. They are tools primarily used to open before facing. Brands like Equalizer offer ATEX certified spreaders which can be used in explosion prone industries like power, oil & gas, petrochemicals, etc. These tools allow the operator to conveniently open flanges without any access gaps without any risks of injuries. A tool that can cut down maintenance time while enhancing safety.
- Flange Pullers
Opposite to the flange spreaders, these tools are designed to pull and close flanges conveniently. These tools are ideally used post flange facing and other maintenance jobs. Flange pullers are designed to service on all vertical and horizontal flanges including API, DIN, BS, SPO, and ANSI/ASME. Like flange spreaders, these tools are ideal to cut down on maintenance time and enhance safety.
- Flange Aligners
Flange alignment tools resolves the flange lateral or rotational misalignments within joints to avoid any leakages. In comparison to conventional methods, flange aligners offers a faster and safer means of aligning flanges.
We hope this article helped you know the essential flange maintenance tools required to reduce maintenance job time, enhance safety, and accuracy. Visit us next time for more knowledge sharing articles.