Aug 03, 2012
Rubber company develops new pressure vessel lining methodBack
1st Wear Corrosion Protection Rubber|Africa|Australia|Germany|South Africa|The Netherlands|Chemicals|Cured Rubber|Metal|Metal Fatigue|Rubber|Rubber-lining Pressure Vessels|Uncured Rubber|Andre Van Rooyen|Required Technology
© Reuse this
The method involves putting uncured rubber into the vessel and using the vessel as the curing unit, as opposed to using rubber that has already been cured, or putting the vessel in an autoclave to cure the rubber.
“Uncured rubber is soft and pliable, making it easy to work with and to mould it to the shape of the vessel, as opposed to cured materials, which often require the use of elastomeric fillers at joints.
“Using the vessel as the curing unit has many advan-tages. The rubber bonds better to the metal and forms perfectly to the shape of the vessel, which is important when the vessel is used to hold chemicals that will corrode the metal,” says Van Rooyen.
Other advantages are that uncured rubber is cheaper than cured rubber and, owing to the better bonding properties of the rubber, less repairs are needed. This can also potentially extend customers’ guarantees.
The method was applied successfully to a pressure vessel for an Australian company, which is using the vessel as an acid washing column, in December last year.
“It took me about a month to carry out the tests and ensure this method was possible. I suggested it to the customer. The company was satisfied, so much so that we will soon be lining a second vessel, using the same method.
“The second vessel is in the design phase and should be delivered to us at the end of this year or early in 2013,” says Van Rooyen.
He is hoping to increase awareness of this new method in South Africa, as it will ben-efit businesses that use vessels.
Although the method is suc-cessful, Van Rooyen says there were challenges during the development phase.
“Laws on the use of pressure vessels in the country have become more stringent in the last five years, so much so that a swimming pool pump is now considered a pressure vessel.
“We have government-approved inspection auth-orities (AIAs), which have to certify a vessel and provide a government plate for it before it can be used. If a pressure vessel does not have a manufacturer’s plate on it, you will have to redesign and recalculate that vessel, with an AIA as a wit- ness, as well as with a design engineer to do the recalcula-tions,” he explains.
He adds that redesigning a pressure vessel entails the design engineer doing detailed drawings of the vessel, material identification and X-rays on all welds.
“This can cost anything from R75 000, just for the design engineer’s part of the job. The result is that many vessels are used illegally in the country, which can be potentially dangerous.
“So the method becomes tricky on older vessels, as they will need to be redesigned and recalculated. Factors like metal fatigue and corrosion also have to be taken into consideration when working with older vessels,” says Van Rooyen.
He does not believe in throwing away or destroying older vessels.
“They should be recalculated and downgraded to work at a lower pressure, but many people and inspectors do not know that this can be done.
“We do it all the time at WCP Rubber. We have a vessel that had been manufactured in 1966 that is still fully operational after we downgraded it to work at a pressure of 8.5 bar instead of its designed 10 bar,” he notes.
Another challenge is that many well-qualified professionals in the industry have emigrated to countries like Australia. The few who are left, he says, demand high salaries that rubber lining companies often do not have the budget for.
Van Rooyen believes developing new methods is a way for South Africa to compete with the world.
“Africa has some of the best raw materials and minerals in the world, readily available at all times. We also have the required technology; however, our ability to produce innovative products is hampered by our high labour costs and lack of experts.
“If we use our materials and technology to our advantage, we can fulfill our potential and attract more business to our shores. “This will mean more money and economic growth for the country, as well as fewer strikes and fewer unhappy workers,” he says.
Van Rooyen plans to introduce another new development that he believes will transform the rubber industry.
“I have contacted some people in Holland and Switzer-land, as I plan to develop a way in which a building can be used as a curing unit. “It will be something similar to a bunker that is able to withstand enough pressure to be used as an autoclave. “This would mean any piece of machinery could be rubber-lined and cured,” he says.
He notes that this has been attempted once before in the early 1940s, in Germany, but a conclusion was never drawn and the attempt was unsuccessful.
“I believe it is very possible and it will open doors for the rubber industry. “We may have the funds available to purchase a factory or building of some kind in the future and will hopefully be testing this then,” states Van Rooyen.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Vessels, Heat Exchangers, Tanks and Containers News
African downstream petroleum multinational Engen Petroleum is currently undertaking first-phase revamp work on Beira Terminal, an import and storage facility in the Port of Beira, Mozambique. When complete, the terminal will be able to supply Mozambique, Zimbabwe,...
Global shipping company Maersk Line (ML) has reduced its energy consumption and has registered a corresponding environmental-impact reduction of 105.000 t of carbon dioxide (CO2) for all its vessel operations since its environment-friendly software programme, the...
US-based Technology and engineering company Emerson Process Management announced the release of an integrated Heat Exchanger Monitoring Solution that improves operations performance and reduces energy costs. The solution is part of Emerson’s new suite of Essential...
Updated 11 minutes ago Investment in infrastructure and natural resources will continue to underpin economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa, although capital outflows sparked by tighter global financial conditions pose a risk to growth, the IMF said on Thursday. Inflation looks set to...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...