Trelleborg Slashes Downtime with Innovative SealWelding Technology
Manufactured from Trelleborg’s well-established seal material, this technology will massively reduce the downtime and associated costs that come from maintaining an FPSO swivel stack. Currently, swivel stack maintenance requires a vessel to travel back to shore so that components can be completely disassembled and seals replaced.
Meeting the challenge
Henk-Willem Sanders, Technical Manager responsible for SealWelding at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, says: “With seals playing a vital role when it comes to ensuring the continued efficient and safe operation of an FPSO swivel stack, the industry has been looking for a way to solve the issue of onshore maintenance by developing a practice which would allow operators to remove and replace the seal on the FPSO offshore. I am pleased to announce that with our new technology, we have more than met the challenge.”
By optimizing billet welding, Trelleborg’s new SealWelding technology is able to weld the original seal material in-situ. In a controlled manufacturing area, Trelleborg starts the process by producing a seal which has been cut in one place using a specially designed tool. The product is then packed so that it is well protected and avoids any damage in transit.
Safer, easier and improving the bottom line
Onboard the FPSO, the seal is unpacked and installed onto the swivel by highly trained personnel from Trelleborg’s service team; the engineer installs it in the weld head enclosure (part of the welding machine) which, certified to ATEX zone 1, is then pressurized so that the welding can take place. Fully enclosed, production on other swivel stacks can continue without risk.
A control cabinet, which is purged and also certified to ATEX zone 1, ensures the smooth running of the process, as well as monitoring and logging all data. After the process is finished, the seal is safely removed from the weld head enclosure before it’s polished and checked. If the values from the recorded data are satisfactory, the seal will be released for installation.
Sanders continues, “We are confident that our new fully tested and portable system is not only set to make life for the offshore operator safer and easier but also dramatically improve the bottom line for the oil company.”