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Posts Tagged ‘Project Execution’

An interesting project has come to our shop that is leading to a new welding procedure. The project is a simple stainless steel pressure vessel, 6” diameter pipe, 0.432” wall approximately 18” long. While this seems overly simple it has led me to investigate the welding options we have qualified for stainless in our shop. We have stainless hardwire, flux core, stick, and TIG procedures but which one to use? Flux core fills very fast, hardwire is clean and neat, TIG has an artistic look when done right but is slower then hardwire and flux core. Stick welding is smoky and unless the welder is REALLY good it just doesn’t look as nice as the others. I’m beginning to think multiple processes. If we hardwire the root then no backing gas is required (meaning we don’t have to purge the inside of the vessel to remove any oxygen exposure on the back side of the weld) then we can fill the majority of the weld joint with either spray arc hardwire or flux core and finish with TIG. We get a solid, quick welded joint that looks like art! But I don’t have a weld procedure that includes three different welding processes. Do I need to break out some stainless steel scrap and weld up a coupon using the three selected processes and have it tested? Conveniently, I do not. Because I have Procedure Qualification Reports (PQR’s) for all three processes I can write a new procedure using the existing PQR’s. I can take the information from each PQR and implement a new procedure that includes all three processes. Each process must be noted on the new weld procedure and the essential variables must also be noted. One other item to be sure to review, the thickness of the additive PQR’s must yield the thickness range required for the intended joint. Maintaining documentation of all our welding processes and procedures makes this an easy accomplishment, an accomplishment that allows us to utilize our knowledge and history to go forward. If you like the way a certain welding process looks but have been told it costs too much or takes too much time, give us a call. We’ll help you find a happy medium that yields beautiful welding and cost effectiveness.

TIG Cover Pass

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So far 2013 has been all about NGL (Natural Gas Liquids) processing equipment.  Because Precision Pipe has been building process equipment for NGL for over 30 years 2013 has proven to be a very busy year.  In addition, our clients (new and old) are looking for expertise in the field of gas processing equipment design and fabrication.  We have nearly completed fabrication on our 2 NGL process plants this year and we have a 3rd plant on order.  These plants have been turnkey units with fully integrated controls and electrical.  We are still building 1 off pressure vessels and various TEMA type heat exchangers but skid packages seem to be whats driving our markets.

Gas Plant

Precision Pipe, LLC Gas processing plants

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Since this summer Precision Pipe and Vessel, A Denver ASME welding and fabrication shop has built and delivered two 80 foot plus deethanizor and depropoanizer towers.  By all standards these are not the largest towers on the market, but are a large enough to serve a major sector in gas processing plants.  These towers were built in Denver and will be shipped all the way to Pennsylvania for their final installation.  This project was conducted with a Nationwide RFP process and it was discovered the Precision Pipe had a competitive price (even with expensive trucking costs) and even better delivery schedule.

As the gas boom seems to be gaining traction, it seems many ASME shops are becoming back logged with large vessels such as these.  Many gas processing companies turn to the same fabricators over and over again and are willing to wait months for delivery at the expense of production and revenue.  As project managers become familiar with companies they tend to turn to the same companies time and time again.  This is probably a safe bet with long established business relationships, but the petroleum is a high risk high reward kind of business.  From the early stages of drilling, installation, permitting, and well stimulation this is in all reality a high stakes business.

Any company that is seeking a competitive edge should be looking for energetic and motivated businesses qualified to provide the same products on a better delivery date (any ASME code vessel will require the same QA QC and inspection).  The cost of lost production is much more expensive than a few thousand dollars in added cost or even shipping, yet procurement specialist and project managers turn to the same companies over and over again without looking at the competitive advantage they may have by using a new vendor with better delivery times.  As dollars are wasted waiting for equipment it seems more logical to strike up new business relationships based on better delivery schedules. Give us a call and see if we can get you to revenue quicker than your go to guy, you might be surprised!

http://www.precision-pipe.com

Natural Gas Processing Equipment

304 Stainless deethanizer tower

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It wasn’t too long ago that I walked onto a refinery job site that Precision Pipe was supply equipment to.  At this site I saw an interesting event about to transpire.  A welder who was not associated with our company was getting ready to light a torch next to a vessel we had just delivered the day before. It appeared to me that he intended to cut into the vessel. Surprised to be seeing this, I quickly made my way over to him to see what he was doing.  He informed me that the construction manager (from a well respected and large engineering firm) instructed him to make a modification to the pressure vessel as a solution to a piping problem.  I asked him to stand by for a second so that we could discuss with plant manger the implications his modifications might have.

The welder became rather irritated with me and informed me he had his directions and he intended to follow them.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with the ASME code, let me explain the implications of this kind of modification in the ASME code world. First, if the welder had actually brought his torch to the shell of the vessel he would have undone the ASME certification on that vessel.  In other words the vessel would have no longer been a certified ASME pressure vessel and the customer would have wasted several thousands of dollars on that pressure vessel.  As the manufacturer I would have been required to remove the name plate from that vessel the moment I saw the flame come into contact with it. Second, that vessel would have no longer been acceptable to use on the job site as it was being implemented at a refinery in an ASME mandatory site and State.  Lastly, Precision would have likely had to of retaken possession of that vessel, repair it according to ASME standards, re-certify and qualify the vessel as meeting the ASME code.  The vessel would have also required a second name plate identifying it as an “R” or “Repaired” pressure vessel.

The reality of the situation was, the construction manager was under immense pressure to complete the project and at that point he was willing to cut corners.  What he didn’t anticipate was getting caught in a major blunder which would have added greater delays and expense to his project.  Anything worth doing is worth doing right and this is especially true for engineered products like ASME vessels. Knowing what the proper proceeders are for welding and modifying an ASME pressure vessel is imperative.  In this situation, the only way to modify the vessel is following the ASME code by using a qualified ASME shop with an “R” stamp.  Any welding or cutting on an ASME pressure vessel must be performed by a qualified shop that is in good standing with the National Board.  The pressure vessel will have to be reinspected by a third party authorized inspector and may need to have X-ray and hydrostatic testing to keep the ASME certification and name plate.

As an ASME qualified shop we encourage anyone to use us or another code shop as a resource to answer any question you may have on qualifications, modifications, and inspection of ASME pressure vessels, Heat Exchanger, or Boiler’s.  We would rather take a few minutes to understand and explain what your options are according to the code then risk an accident or injury .  In addition, if we can simply answer your question this a a free service we offer to any prospective customer.  If you are a plant manager and you are unsure if you can use any certified welder?  Give us a call and we can walk you though what it takes to maintain your ASME certifications.  If you have an ASME pressure vessel, Heat Exchanger, or Boiler that needs work or an addition of a nozzle or coupling.  Call us we can tell you what you must do to add the new components in a safe and code qualified manner.

As it turns out I was able to get the welder to wait a minute.  Explaining to him the consequences of his modification calmed him down long enough to bring in the decision makers.  The plant manager, the construction manager (having tucked his tail between his legs), and I all discussed the changes that were necessary and it was ultimately decided a ‘T’ in the process piping was the most effective work around for the problem.  Having an ASME specialist onsite that day saved thousands of dollars, countless hours, and potentially the integrity of the plants operational safety in the future.  Don’t be shy to email or call us or any other ASME qualified shop to discuss your project or equipment with ASME name plates. Your local rig welder or fabrication shop may be good, they may be able, they may even have a piece of paper that  say’s they are certified to make a weld. However, it is imperative you at least speak with a shop that is ASME qualified before you make any welds on a certified ASME pressure vessel.

http://www.Precision-Pipe.com

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When it comes to kicking off a project we usually focus most of our attention and energies in moving the project from beginning to end.   For some of us, there is excitement in the start of a new project and a sigh of relief when the project ends (with a whole lot of hope and nail biting in between).  Not long into the life of a project there comes a sobering reality of the tedious tasks that are required to make a project successful.  Our follow through with these tasks are principal to the outcome and overall success of the project and ultimately how customers perceive us.  Follow through is best achieved within a team environment where every member of the team is using their strengths to maximize the effort given towards the project.   Within a team there is a greater level of accountability and creativity that leads to effective communication and clear direction.  Clear direction leads to efficient work flow and easy identification of bottle necks and other potential problems making your project economical and creating greater margin within your business.

Don’t forget to conduct follow up meetings regularly to track progress.  These brief meeting should be done at the beginning of the day, be brief, and cover what top tasks each team member has to accomplish that day.  Above all, have fun!  The more you enjoy your team and project, the greater strength you have to complete the tasks you have throughout your day.

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