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Posts Tagged ‘Precision Pipe’

As a business owner it is painful when your customers say “I didn’t know you did that”.  During this great recessions our business has scaled back and although each year seems to get a little better we are nowhere near the production we had in 2007 and 2008.  So when some of your best and longest customers aren’t aware of products or services we offer it is extremely frustrating on the road of fiscal recovery.  I guess this is painful because it shows that our message is getting lost in the product offering we make to certain customers.

One such customer has had us hydrostatically pressure test valves for them for years.  They have been in our fabrication facility hundreds of times and they had no idea that we could weld and fabricate stainless steel piping.  This happens to be one of our many specialities as many other fabrication shops subcontract with us to provide stainless steel piping runs.  Our quality and value is higher and better than other shops can do in house.  Another customer had no idea we could build all types of pressure vessels and heat exchangers.  They had only ordered inlet separators from us thus, that’s all they thought we made.  Yet, we build refrigeration packages, cabin heaters, gas processing plants, distillation towers, chillers, filters, and just about anything else that has a midstream application.  In addition we build specialized skid mounted packages for prototyping and product development.

Precision Pipe is learning that we just because we offer many products it doesn’t mean that anyone knows about them.  Thus, we have started a new campaign of a quarterly news letter highlighting products we have built in the previous months.  Likewise we are supplementing our webpage with a link to our line card.  This will allow every email, quote, inquiry to have a direct link to our products and services.  We are hopeful we never hear “I didn’t know you did that” ever again.

http://www.precision-pipe.com

High Quality Welding

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One of my favorite things about working here at Precision is that we practice  Manage By Wandering Around.  (MBWA as Introduced by Peters/ Waterman in the book, In Search of Excellence)  While the authors were doing research for the book they interviewed HP President John Young who explained what the term meant and its importance to HP especially during times of explosive growth.  Reflecting back on the concept of MBWA and first learning of its meaning Peter’s writes, “MBWA … Managing By Wandering Around … quickly became our favorite “excellence” idea! Technically, it meant staying in direct touch (damn the bureaucracy!) with the folks who do the work. Metaphorically, it stood for all/much of what was wrong with American management—McKinsey & Harvard Business School-style—as we confronted the Japanese challenge in areas such as product quality. That is, “big business” had become an abstraction. It was a “by the numbers” affair, where front-line “personnel” were pretty much interchangeable parts in a well-oiled “machine” and where “strategy” was considered far more important than primitive ideas such as quality and service and turned-on folks. Of course by then the bearings had lost most of their oil and seized up!”

Ok, I know what you are thinking and you are right, we’re not a giganto conglomerate that has thousands of people working for us at multiple locations!  Yes, this is true, but what is even truer is that on a daily basis small companies must fight against losing their nimbleness, effectiveness, and..well, their human touch.  We believe in measurement and standards, but not at the expense of losing touch and becoming irrelevant.  We believe in knowing our employees, not intrusively, but in such a way that they know they are a valuable member of our team.  We believe in getting out of our offices and wandering around.

Nobody in our company does this better than our President, who regularly practices MBWA and often times finds himself in the middle of lending a hand to one of our employees.  (And on occasion our customers)  There is no substitute for MBWA; it is the lighthouse that steers the small business away from the shoreline of irrelevancy that it is headed for.  Engage in MWBA today…seriously, get up and go wander!

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In short, you do.  We all do.  Furthering ones education increases your knowledge base resulting in you becoming a more valuable commodity.  It can lead to more responsibility, which leads to promotions and thus more salary.   It can lead to higher self esteem as more people look to you for the answers they do not have.  Pursuing education shows your employers you have motivation and drive, both positive qualities in employees.  There is a lot of upside here, so you need knowledge!

Once you have made the commitment to gain knowledge, the next step is determining what kind of knowledge do you want?  Do you want to keep up on current trends on topics concerning your current job?  Do you want to establish yourself as a person “on the rise” in your company?  Do you want to leave your dead end job and find something that appeals to you on a more personal level?  Basically, what is it you want your job to be for you?  Once you have determined what you want, it’s time to find out what you need.  Is there a specific type of knowledge you need?  Is the knowledge you require only available in certain classes or specific seminars?  Do you need to pursue an advanced degree to get the knowledge you want?  There are many ways to get the knowledge you desire.

Two subjects that you need to think about when choosing an education is time and money.  How much time you have to pursue your education and how much you can spend will greatly determine which direction you take on choosing how you want to gain your knowledge.  Hopefully, you are lucky enough to work for a place that will cover your expenses for your search for knowledge, because then it’s all a matter of time.

How does all this affect our company?  Well, we here at Precision Pipe and Vessel, LLC are a diverse group of individuals and our diversity does not stop at our knowledge base and how we reached it.  We have personnel here who received their knowledge base through 4 year degrees, various seminars and classes, the occasional ASME conference, and of course, hard knocks.  Our welders and fabricators are always looking to improve their knowledge base through welding different types of metal using a variety of methods and we comply by teaching them the new methods.  Our office staff are also looking for ways to add to their knowledge through learning new engineering and project management practices.  In fact, one of them recently received their MBA from an accredited college.  So we have a lot of knowledge and are willing to use it to help you get your job done.

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Tonight we have the opportunity to go into a major sporting arena and perform a weld repair on a pressure vessel. After being in the pressure vessel industry for almost 12 years I sometimes forget that not everyone understands what is involved in this type of undertaking. The repair itself is very simple. The unit has been in service for the last fourteen years and after years of vibration a pinhole or crack has promulgated through the heat effected zone around one of the welds. So the repair will consist of grinding out the defect and welding in new material. Simple enough. It’s the paperwork side of things that most people are not familiar with. ASME does not actually have a “Code” for the repair of Section VIII, Division 1 pressure vessels. Repairs fall under the Nation Board of Inspectors Code (NBIC). The National Board is the agency that contends with the requirements for repairs and alterations. The following list is typical of the process for a repair:

  • Investigate the repair that is required
  • Procure or purchase a copy of the original U1-A report from either the manufacturer or The National Board
  • Review the original U1-A to verify materials of construction, Fabrication requirements, Examination requirements, and Testing requirements
  • Prepare a repair plan that includes a field traveler with hold points for the Authorized Inspector (AI)
    • Identify the weld procedure to be used
    • Identify the welder to be used and verify his/her qualifications
    • Prepare any drawings, calculations, and or engineering data
    • Procure and review documentation of any new material that must be utilized
    • Specify and non-destructive testing that is required
    • Specify any final inspection requirements
    • Specify any Post Weld Heat Treat requirements
    • Specify the type and range of any pressure test that is required
    • Prepare a nameplate
    • Prepare applicable R Form
    • All of the above information must be available for the AI to review
    • Perform the repair as stated in the repair plan
    • Perform testing as required by the NBIC
    • Sign off on the appropriate documentation

As you can see there is more to a “Code” repair the simply fixing the weld. Depending on the vessel the testing portion of the repair plan may take a substantial amount of time. Keep all of these items in mind when you call a company asking that a repair be made the same day as same day service tends to cost a little more. Here at Precision Pipe we jump at these opportunities to start new relationships that hopefully last a life time.

 

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Driving into work today, I was intentionally cut off by a truck with a trailer attached.  As I was running into the shoulder of the highway and figuring out what kind of “Bo Duke“ move I was going to make, I was able to get a good look at company name on the side of the truck.  It was a company that our business has used in the past and will think twice about using in the future.

The difference between future business and closing your business could be a simple as courteous driving.

Recently a salesperson came in selling uniforms.  I politely told him that we already have a vendor that we are pleased with, but in a few months I will be evaluating the service and obtaining quotes.  He told me a little about his company and their values and we exchanged business cards.  I chuckled at the difference between our company cards.  My company has square cards, his company cards are circular.  As we chatted each other’s cards up – I made the suggestion that his card would be better served as a coaster…a few weeks later, I received a card in the mail with a coaster enclosed.

Effort creates opportunity.

What I love about working for Precision is that hustle, courtesy, and going the extra-mile is second nature to us.  We are always looking for ways to save our customers money, improve lead-time, and deliver an excellent product.  If you haven’t had a chance to work with us, give us a call.  We would love the opportunity to partner with you.

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Having a market advantage is a huge goal for most companies especially during market down turns.  Often times a company may have such an advantage and not know it, or at least not know how to capitalize on such opportunities.  One market segment that Precision Pipe excels at and enjoys is building Dew Point Processing Plants also know as refrigeration plants, NGL, or Natural Gas Liquids Plants.  What sets Precision Pipe & Vessel aside from our competitors is we have many different approaches to building gas processing equipment that other fabricators don’t consider or offer to their customers.

Our approaches include remanufacturing used equipment in a quality manner giving the appearance the equipment is new (often times it is as good as new).  We also painstakingly examine and inspect each mechanical component to ensure reliability and give estimated time before component overhaul.  We also build complete brand new plants from the skid up.  All of our products are turn key with complete instrumentation and piping interconnect as specified by each customer.  As soon as the plant has been connected to utilities and the associated site piping our systems are ready to be started up and turned over to operations.

Our most recent gas plants have taken yet another approach that provide the longevity  and the associated technology of new and modern Gas Plants yet maintain the cost savings of remanufactured equipment.  Recently we have assembled a plant that used brand new wear components such as a refrigeration compressor, glycol pumps, instrumentation, heat exchangers, and other moving components.  However, we created substantial saving to our client by using ASME pressure vessels and a glycol re-boiler off of used equipment.  We simply identified vessels in our inventory and evaluated condition and specification according to the refrigeration plant.  Next, we transplanted the vessels onto the new skid and re-registered the vessels with the National Board.  This process cut months out of the fabrication schedule and reduced the cost of the plant by nearly 30% for our customer.

When it was all said and done we shipped a modern gas plant to our customer complete with computerized controls and modern instrumentation at a greatly  reduced cost.  We were also informed by our customer that our delivery was several months quicker then the next best offer.  As it stands today the plant has operated for nearly a year with no shut downs and only routine maintenance performed.  This has become a good case study for cutting costs and improving our customers ROI by using creative and alternative fabrication techniques.

Precision Pipe and it’s staff has fabricated nearly 100 NGL plants over the last 30 years that are operating in various locations in North and South America.  We have developed a reputation for finding good quality used equipment, rebuilding our customers antiquated systems, and building brand new equipment to operate in todays modern gas fields.  Precision Pipe

NGL Plant

Precision Pipe uses new and used equipment to build great products

is a fully qualified ASME code shop (U,R,S, & NB stamps) that specializes in gas processing equipment, gasification, alternative energy, and product development engineering and fabrication.

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Yesterday marked a first for me in my eleven years of working in the ASME world; a welder who stated he could pass a 6G weld test on 2” Schedule 80 carbon steel pipe using the GMAW welding process actually showed me he could do it. It’s amazing to me how many welders come into our shop boasting about their accomplishments and certifications only to completely discredit themselves when it comes time to perform an actual weld. A couple of years ago I had a welder come in and apply for work that had every welding process and material I could ever imagine welding at our facility listed on his resume. His resume looked fantastic! He even had lead man experience and design experience listed on the resume. When I was reading through his certifications and came across ASME 6G MIG certified I was ecstatic! So I asked the question, “Can you pass a 6G MIG test today”? “Of course I can” he boasted.  6G is a one test fits all approach to qualifying welders. If a welder can pass the 6G test he or she is qualified to weld in any position (Vertical, Horizontal, Flat, and Overhead). As such it’s a pretty tough test. The welder must tack weld two pieces of pipe together then secure the two pieces to a jig that holds the pipe to be welded 45 degrees off the horizontal. The welder cannot move the pipe once the welder has started. When in this position the welder is forced to weld vertically, flat, and overhead on the same piece of pipe. Now back to the welder… I set him up in the shop with a welder and some pipe and said “GO”! I went back to my office to let the man work in peace. Twenty minutes later he came through the office with all his tools extremely frustrated and simply said he was leaving. Shocked I went out to see what happened. I found his weld test stuffed way under the table he was working on. It looked HORRIBLE! It had to be (and still is) the worst coupon I had ever seen. Unbelievable! I chocked it up to the fact that no matter what the paper says the caliber of a welder can only be known through testing. The saying you get what you pay for certainly applies to welding. We at Precision Pipe & Vessel have had some extremely high end welding and if we let people who THINK they can weld anything without testing them in the door we will be closing the doors permanently all too soon. In today’s market place we have found that diversity is what works for keeping our doors open and our employees enjoy having a variety of work including the high end stainless steel and other alloy work come in the door. May I suggest if you are a buyer or a purchaser in today’s market that before you go with the least expensive bid you ask for a weld sample along with welder qualifications before you issue the purchase order. Sometimes the “you get what you pay for” can end up costing so much more then expected the cheapest manufacturer is not worth it.

As a follow up, this weld was just made by one of the welders in our shop:

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