Cables, hoses and pipes used in industries such as telecommunications or oil and gas exploration and production face hostile environments when they are floated in or submerged under water. “In terms of pressure, some of the systems we deal with go down to 2,500 meters below sea level,” notes Jonathan Fox, Senior Product Development Engineer within Trelleborg Offshore & Construction. “It’s just a different world down there.”
Extreme pressure isn’t the only concern. “Add in things like the corrosive nature of salt in the seawater and marine life that grows on things, and it’s an extremely aggressive place to live,” Fox says.
It's a world that can destroy cables, pipes and hoses in a matter of weeks if they are left unprotected. Trelleborg offers a range of solutions for various industries that can prolong pipe, cable and hose life while also saving clients’ money when compared with other alternatives.
Fox’s group, for example, offers systems that wrap around oil and gas production pipes, enabling them to withstand the vibrations caused by water constantly flowing by them. “When water starts flowing past a pipe, the vortices shed in the wake alternate from side to side. The frequency of this vortex shedding can hit the natural frequency of the pipe, causing it to vibrate,” Fox explains. Such vibrations can eventually cause pipes to crack and fail.
To prevent that, Trelleborg has long offered a vibration suppression system made of polyurethane that encapsulates pipes and features protrusions, called strakes, which serve much the same function as dimples on a golf ball, breaking up the flow around the pipe and thereby suppressing vibrations and extending the pipe’s usable life considerably. As further preventive options, in 2015 and early 2016, Trelleborg introduced two new products, the Tri-Strake™ Lite system and the Tri-Strake™ Combi system.
The Combi system, introduced in 2015, is a lightweight, hinged polyurethane system that makes for easier handling and storage on the offshore installation vessels where it is used, while still reducing vibrations by more than 91 percent. The Lite system is made of polypropylene, a recyclable plastic, and is also hinged and features much thinner walls than previous polyurethane systems, Fox says.
The system can be coated with an extremely smooth paint that prevents marine life and other items in the ocean from adhering to pipes, a problem that can add unwanted weight and reduce the effectiveness of the Tri-Strakes™ system.
Other in-water and underwater solutions
“Hoses used to transfer oil, water and natural gas from offshoreplatforms and production facilities to waiting tankers also need protection,” says Vincent Lagarrigue, Head of Product Managment for Trelleborg Industrial Solutions oil and marine applications. Lagarrigue explains that the major challenge in transferring liquid natural gas is the extreme temperature involved, which can be down to minus 160 degrees Celsius.
“Trelleborg recently introduced a Cryoline hose-in-hose transfer system for liquid natural gas that can significantly lower costs,” Lagarrigue continues. The new system offers an alternative to building a loading arm receiving station on the receiving terminal’s jetty, making lng a viable option in remote locations, he says.
Electrical enclosures, such as in the field of telecommunications, are another area in which Trelleborg actively helps customers protect equipment from water. “Water and electricity don’t mix,” notes Janne Uusinoka, Managing Director within Trelleborg Industrial Solutions in Finland. Trelleborg makes cable lead-through systems, also known as Multigates, which protect devices from water at cable and tubing interfaces in an electrical system. Trelleborg is a trusted partner in the design and manufacture of these and all its solutions for in-water and underwater hoses, cables and pipes.
This is an article has been reproduced from Trelleborg's T-Time magazine. To download the latest edition, go to: www.trelleborg.com/t-time
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