Tubular Component Enhancement: Fatigue Life Improvement Applied to an 'Unreachable' Location


The specs for the new design-build of an offshore structure called for enhanced fatigue performance from critical tubular components. A major obstacle of the project was that standard approaches to improving fatigue performance were deemed insufficient due to water depth, pressure and the regulatory environment. Additional challenges lay in the location of the fatigue-critical weldment to be treated by Progress Rail's Ultrasonic Technology (UIT) Division. The weldment was located 35 feet inside of a tubular component too small to fit a Progress Rail technician and too far inside of the component to treat with standard methods.


The situation was further complicated by the fabricatorís doubt that Progress Rail's UIT process would meet specified surface finish requirements.


Progress Rail's UIT Division's Engineering Services team was called in to evaluate the problem and recommend a solution. Throughout the process, the customer, engineering firm and fabricator were consulted in order to refine the solution.


The approved plan proposed by Progress Rail's Ultrasonic Technology (UIT) Division was a novel and proprietary solution. Progress Rail designed and built a unique device that enabled automated, controlled, repeatable, high-quality treatment of internal diameter (ID) surfaces up to 50 feet from the end of the tube. Samples treated with Esonix UIT were sent to the owner, engineering firm and fabricator for surface finish evaluation.


All three approved of the quality of the surface finish, giving Progress Rail's Ultrasonics Division the green light to deploy a certified treatment and inspection team to the fabricatorís jobsite. The Progress Rail UIT team worked around the clock with the fabricator and engineering firm to complete the project within the clientís very tight shipping schedule.




put uit to work