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Friday, October 21, 2016

Shrink Sleeve Installation Time

How Long Does It Take To Install A Shrink Sleeve?

     I am often asked "how long does it take to install a shrink sleeve"?  The truth is that question isn't as simple as it sounds.  Speaking in general terms - the installation steps are:
- preparing the surface of the steel and adjacent line coating
- heating the steel and adjacent line coating to the proper temperature
- securing the closure strip
- shrinking the sleeve
     Each of those steps are impacted by a number of factors.  Including:
- how dirty and rusty is the pipe?
- is the ambient temperature 5F? 40F? 100F?  That will all effect preheat time
- is it calm? 25 mph wind? 
- what is the pipe OD?  how many installers are you using?  are you using the proper torches?

     I'm sure you see what I mean now.  A lot of factors can impact this analysis.  So the rest of this post is a real world actual example. 

16" OD Pipeline
Installed on the gulf coast (onshore)
Pipeline construction going on in early fall
Two installers working on each field joint (one on each side of the pipe)
Proper torches on site (with regulators and proper output)
Installing our WPCT product which requires a preheat temperature of 140F
Wire brushing the pipe surface of pipe that is still pretty clean as it was freshly coated in a coating plant
Experienced installers who have installed many shrink sleeves in the careers
Pipeline spread where the welders are pretty far ahead of the field joint coating crew - so no delays due to welding or xray.

180 shrink sleeves installed per day.   That equates to 1.3 miles of pipeline per day (assuming ~40 foot joints). 

Pretty fast.  I'd love to know how many joints would be coated per day if they were hand applying some kind of two part epoxy instead of applying sleeves.  How about if they were needing to put two coats of epoxy on every joint?  It would be a lot slower process I believe.

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