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Miniature valves chosen for innovative pipeline isolation plug

18 December 2018

How do you isolate, or plug an oil or gas pipeline safely and securely to enable repair or maintenance work to be carried out in-situ with a device which meets the toughest safety standards?

There are very few companies in the world that make autonomous isolation plugs and those that do tend to make tools for large pipes, up to 56” in diameter. However, the UK based Safer Plug Company has successfully developed, patented and built, a pipeline isolation plug for 6” pipeline sizes which comprises an innovative titanium gateway manifold manufactured using the additive manufacturing DMLS process (Direct Metal Laser Sintering). Among the key components used in the manifold are those supplied by The Lee Company. 

More than 20 Lee components were chosen for the Gateway Manifold primarily due to the very small space envelope into which they have to be packaged, along with Lee’s reputation for high quality and reliability in the most challenging applications. Parts included are; Lee plugs, AFO plugs, check valves, relief valves, shuttle valves and 6 special 250 series solenoid valves, (based on those used in Formula 1 racing cars). 

The Gateway Manifold achieved Lloyd’s Register (LR) certification in September 2017. This is acknowledged as an industry milestone as it was the first titanium part made using the additive manufacturing process certified for use in the oil and gas industry. The manifold was designed by The Safer Plug Company and manufactured by the AM production specialists 3T RPD using powder bed fusion techniques. The entire process was overseen and certified by LR using its framework, an industry first that guides manufacturers on AM processes to certify components.

Read the full article in the January issue of DPA

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