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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tubular Shrink Sleeves (TPS)

Heat Shrink Tubes - TPS

Shrink Tube Pipeline
An installed TPS shrink sleeve.
     Shrink sleeves for preventing corrosion on pipelines come a number of different varieties, material types and configurations.  When looking specifically at configurations, the most basic breakdown looks at wrap around shrink sleeves and tubular shrink sleeves.  For this discussion today we will be looking specifically at tubular shrink sleeves.

     Often called slip on sleeves or slide on sleeves; tubular shrink sleeves are supplied already in the shape of a tube.  As a result, they must be slipped onto the pipeline before the weld is made at the field joint.  Sometimes this is a fine and acceptable option.  Other times, the crews can sometimes forget to slide them on in advance -- and then they must rush a wrap around sleeve out to the job site to use. 

     The most basic tubular pipe sleeve that Covalence (formerly Raychem) manufactures is called TPS - that stands for Tubular Pipe Sleeve.  It is generally used only on smaller pipe sizes.  This is because of the machinery that manufactures these tubes.  TPS is available for pipe sizes 2" thru 8". 

     TPS shrink sleeves are designed to be used on pipelines that will operate at ambient temperatures.  Ambient is generally defined as 104F or less.  By "operate" we mean a consistent temperature.  TPS sleeves are generally available in two different lengths - by lengths I mean coverage along the pipe.  Those two TPS lengths are 9" and 18".  When choosing a length it is important to be aware that a shrink sleeve needs to be wide enough to coat all bare steel and overlap onto the adjacent factory applied coating by at least 2-3" per side.  It is important to verify acceptable overlap with the applicable specifications as some end users can require 4 or even 5" of overlap on either side.

Tubular shrink sleeve benefits

  • Dimpled backing of the TPS provides a permanent change indicator for application of heat.  This ensures the correct application of heat and allows easy post heat inspection (even months later).  Reliable inspectability at any time.
  • No primer required - which saves cost and installation time and labor costs.
  • Low preheat sensitivity and proven functionality allow easy application combined with high functional performance.  
  • Mechanically strong and resists abrasion, impact and penetration.  TPS is reliable, tough and user friendly.
  • Specially formulated sealant ensures a strong bond and a tight seal.  High peel and shear values after installation.
  • Sealing adhesive automatically flows and repairs minor mechanical damage - this is called the self healing effect.
  • No special equipment or skills required. 

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