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Monday, October 5, 2015

Prevent Damage on Bundled Pipe Bores

Bundled Directional Drilling Damage Prevention

Installed BBS - 2" wide / 1" tall bumpers to protect your pipeline

Daylight can be seen in the gap created by our BBS system on a 16" pipeline.
     Steel pipe is expensive.  Factory applied pipe coatings are expensive.  Moving coated pipe around the country is expensive.  Boring machinery and crews are incredibly expensive.  I know most end users are painfully aware of this already - but pipelines are assets with incredible value and incredible revenue streams.  Line replacements, line shut downs and major corrosion problems can be career ending propositions.  So with all of that, why aren't more end users and contracting taking the extra step to put bumpers on their bundled directional drills? Some are, but many still are not.

     Pulling a pipe bundle through a boring hole puts some pretty extreme forces on a pipe coating.  The bundle can see experience unexpected bumps and bruises along the way as well.  Picture for a moment a bundled directional drill consisting of a 20" line and two 12" lines.   Each of those lines is going to weigh hundreds of pounds per meter.  What happens when there is some kind of a collision underground caused by a hiccup in the pull; a rock underneath the bundle or a slip of some kind out in the staging area? 

    Beyond that, what about after the bundle is in place?  Do you want your pipelines resting directly on top and touching one another?  Isn't some space between lines a much better option for cathodic protection systems?  I think the answer to all of these questions is pretty clear. 

     Shoot me an email and I'll shoot you an electronic copy of our BBS literature.  It shows installation steps, technical details and before and after photos of our system.  The bumpers speak for themselves and I think you'll probably agree after looking over the photos (

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Heat Shrink Sleeve Installed without Pre-Heating

Can Shrink Sleeves be Installed without Preheating Steel?

     As I've discussed elsewhere in this blog, pre-heating the steel is an incredibly important step in the installation process.  Other than surface preparation (cleanliness) I would say preheat is the single most important step.  So, what happens when there is some kind of circumstance that is preventing you from properly preheating the substrate before shrink sleeve application?  

     Well first off I'd like to reiterate:  wherever possible, pre-heating is needed and necessary.  But I understand there are cases where preheat can be impossible.  This would include an active pipeline where the mass amounts of product flowing through the line act as a tremendous heat sink; actually preventing any possibility of preheat.  In those cases, we go back to one of Raychem's earlier technologies....and the associated logic of that product.

     Once upon a time, Raychem was faced with a dilemma:  How do we recreate a three layer coating system on the field joints so that we can have a homogeneous and consistent pipeline coating throughout an entire line?  Well, those three layers are:  epoxy, adhesive, PE backing.  Naturally that is where they started.  What was found as that family of products was developed was that introducing a layer of epoxy as the initial pipeline coating brought with it some benefits other than the technical advantages (improved cathodic disbondment results, etc).  

     What was learned was that the introduction of an epoxy layer meant there was a dramatically reduced preheat temperature.  Thus the HTLP coating system was born -- HTLP stands for:  High Temp, Low Preheat.  How much lower were they able to move the preheat?  Let's look at an early iteration of the WPC60 / HTLP60 product.  When using the epoxy bonding agent (HTLP) - the preheat requirement was in the 140F range (for reasons I'll explain further below).  The preheat temperature for the WPC60 product (no epoxy bonding agent) was a whopping 280 degrees F.  The use of the epoxy cut the preheat temperature in half -- and improved the technical aspects of the coating.  Win, win!

     So, why still 140F for the preheat temperature on the HTLP60 sleeve system?  Simple:  economics.  The epoxy material has a consistency similar to honey.  As you probably know from your own Sunday morning breakfasts; honey is very thick when cool...but can get very thin when warm.  For the HTLP60 system to properly function, only a very thin amount of epoxy is required (microns).  When the pipe is preheated, the epoxy can be applied quite thinly.  The system works great; meets all specifications and the cost of the epoxy is minimal since only a minimal amount is needed.
     When applying this same S1301M epoxy to a pipe that is resting a temperature less than 140F; the coolness (so to speak) of the pipe prevents the epoxy from thinning out as much.  As a result, there is a consistency quite close to a jar of honey that you've just pulled out of your refrigerator.  The system still works great.  The system still meets all expected technical parameters.  The system still meets or exceeds all requirements from the manfacturer's specification.  The difference is, the system used more epoxy (volume) than was really required.  This means that the system cost a little bit more money than it really required.  Some companies want to save every penny they can.  Other companies aren't bothered by spending a few extra dollars.  This sort of a sacrifice (less preheat time vs more cost) is worth it to some people, and not worth it to others.

     So there you have it.  As usual, I've tried to write more than any normal human would ever want to read about his topic!  Any other questions about anything else?  Shoot them to me:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Raychem History

History of Raychem Corp.

  You may not know it, but there is a group out there called the Raychemers.  You see Raychem was such an incredible company to work for that many former employees have a real spot in their heart for all things Raychem.  Having been around this for many years (my Father worked at Raychem for 25+ years), the only thing I could compare it to would be the feelings someone has for their Alma Mater College, or the feeling someone might have for their fraternity.  Somehow, Paul Cook and the rest of his team were able to foster a work place environment that could recapture the freshness and the newness that generally not found in adult careers.  In any case, this months Raychemer Pennant (newsletter) found its way to my email inbox this morning and I wanted to share some of what was written.

     The first thing to catch my eye is a fascinating piece on the Raychem Technical Hall of Fame that seems to have been written by a Dr. Leon Glover:

Raychem Technical Hall of Fame

     Raychem was founded on January 1, 1957.  It grew rapidly by creating proprietary new products based on Radiation processing of polymers to meet critical and difficult industry needs for electrical circuit integrity in harsh environments.  Included in these initial products were irradiated wire insulation and heat shrinkable tubing.  Markets included Aerospace, Military, Automotive, Telecommunications and Electrical Power Generation markets.

     In 1968, Raychem acquired Chemelex leading Raychem to extend its radiation polymer processing technology to polymers filled with conductive carbon creating a family of "Self Limiting Heaters".  This technology was further extended to produce resettable switches forming the enabling technology for the "Polyswitch" Division.

     As Raychem grew into a world class Material Science Company, additional technologies explored, developed and taken to market were Heat Recoverable Metals, Piezoelectric Materials (Elographics), Silicone Gels (Geltek) and Liquid Crystals (Taliq). 

     Each year, Raychem devoted between 8 and 10 percent of sales into Research and Development resulting in thousands of new products based on the technologies listed above.  Research and Product Development labaratories, in addition to Menlo Park and Redwood City were established in Swindon, UK, Kessel-Lo, Belgium, Ottobrunn, Germany, Pontois, France and Japan.

     Manning these laboratories were an extremely creative and talented group of scientists and engineers who found innovative ways to use technologies to create new products. 

     In 1990, after Paul Cook retired, the technical leadership of the company proposed creating the "Raychem Technical Hall of Fame".  This proposal was accepted and the first "Hall of Fame" class was initiated on December 11, 1991.  This was followed by further inductions in June 1993 and February 1996.  Paul Cook was the first inductee recognized for his vision and technical leadership of the company.  Other inductees were:

December 1991:
Paul Cook
Robin Clabburn
Roger Ellis
Lou Frisco
Rosse Heslop
Vince Lanza
John Lyons
David Nyberg
Ed Stivers

June 1993:
Klaus Dahl
Leon Glover
James Jervis
Hans Lunk
Jean-Marie Nolf
Richard Penneck
Richard Sovish

February 1996:
Jack Harrison
Jun Ishioka
William Johnson
Daniel Magay
Noel Overbergh
Gerald Shimirak

Plaques with the names of each induction class were mounted in the lobby of Building J auditorium.  Unfortunately, these have been lost with the take over of Raychem by Tyco International and the demolition of building J.

     The last thing I would share from this newsletter is a Raychem in Review:  1976 snapshot (same newsletter but I am not sure who wrote / compiled this article).

Raychem Sales (1976 dollars):  $171,332,000
Raychem Income (1976 dollars):  $3,516,000
Income/Share:  $2.65
Number of Employees:  4400
Floor Space Occupied:  2,300,000 square feet

In the first quarter, Raychem received an order for the corrosion prevention tape for use on buried sections of the trans-Alaska pipeline.  This was the largest order in Raychem history.

Midway through the third quarter foreign currency valued dropped precipitously and simultaneously in several of the countries where Raychem's business was the greatest.

Sales of Chemelex products continued strong throughout the year, augmented by new customers for Auto-Trace self limiting heaters.

At year end, the decision was made to cease manufacture and sale of Stilan polyarylene polymer, resulting in an approximate 9.3 million dollar change to net earnings. 

The early work on conductive polymers produced the very successful Chemelex auto tracing self limiting heater.  With the cessation of Stilan operating substantial technical energies have been transferred to the conductive polymer area.  This should lead directly to the commercialization of a number of new products over the next few years.