Block and bleed isolation capabilities improve safety and profits.

Companies across the globe encounter an increasing number of regulatory and environmental pressures that call for new and specialized services. Technological advancements are constantly evolving to meet the high expectations of the industry and the individuals who power it. To ensure safety and maintain high levels of productivity, qualified and sustainable resources are necessary. Safety is always the primary goal followed closely by schedule and, of course, cost.

A leak-free start-up promotes a zero-incident work environment. Planning for zero leaks is a completely attainable goal that improves safety and reduces cost and unforeseen downtime. One company offers products that drastically reduce the risk of leaks and provide immediate results for critical complications.

New Technology

A specialized method of double block and bleed isolation allows for welds to be hydrostatically tested rather than testing an entire line. This procedure reduces time and costly restraints while increasing accuracy and efficiency in overall asset performance. A modern hydrostatic, high-pressure system safely and completely isolates the environment from residual product to provide a setting to identify leaks and structural flaws in field welds.

This technology and tooling provide the ability to monitor any backpressure that may have been accidentally introduced after the line was isolated. Users can also monitor upstream vapors to ensure the isolation will not fail and consequently become a potentially hazardous projectile. Hydrostatic testing services have been successfully performed up to 2,250 pounds per square inch (psi) and can accommodate testing slip on, socket weld and weld neck flanges in a full range of sizes from 0.75 to 30 inches. Using these test plugs reduces test time and requires less than one gallon of liquid.

In addition to testing, incorporating leak-detection technology is the most effective method of finding and controlling joint-connection leaks. One leak detection product can identify leaks during normal operations, startups and at low pressure, which makes it ideal for preventive maintenance procedures. With ultrasonic technology, early warning signs and defects can be detected to prevent costly repairs, safety-related injuries and unscheduled downtime. Operations are always costly to execute, but expenses increase during prolonged periods of production suspension.

This quick and accurate method for determining equipment conditional analysis and leak detection can be used regardless of the type of gas being processed or low-pressure variables. Leak detection services are effective in compressed air or gas systems pressurized to less than 6 psi. High sensitivity, selectivity and a high signal-to-noise ratio distinguish leaks in even the harshest environments and enable a leak-detection service to provide maintenance diagnostics, ensure safety and protect quality control.

An ultrasonic leak detection service was chosen by NASA for use on the International Space Station and all of the space shuttles. The U.S. military also used this technology for predictive and preventive maintenance opportunities. This service can detect leaks in a diverse range of applications including equipment condition monitoring and analysis, non-pressurized vessel integrity testing, and pressure and vacuum leak detection.

Obstacles such as residual influences and physical distance or obstructions that have previously impeded the quality of alternative detection services have been overcome in this leak detection service. Media include compressed air, hydrogen, oxygen, helium, Freon, ethylene oxide, nitrogen and argon. Proximity requirements, precision and affirmation are all improved features. This is also an acceptable method of leading detection during tightness testing and eliminates the need for pressure test taping.

Case Study

Leak detection technology can be used as a routine maintenance procedure to check for leaks on any piping, including pumps. This process does not involve vibration or barring tests but rather includes all the pipelines, pumps, valves, exchangers and reactors. One user employed this technology as a routine maintenance check on 10 heaters with 100 valves per heater. These valves are made of 1-inch pipe and operate at 80 psi. The technology revealed that 35 of the 1,000 valves were leaking nitrogen on the gas lines feeding into the heaters. After completing a full walk and flagging the units that were leaking at 80 psi, the leak detection service provider compiled and generated a full report noting each problem area. These valves were replaced completely to eliminate the potential hazard and save underlying costs.

All of the leak-detection service provider's test tools are non-destructive so they do not damage the interior walls of the pipes or pressure vessels. These technologies are non-invasive and provide instantaneous results so end users can access all the necessary information to maintain regulatory compliance and up-to-date operations.