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World’s first Academy of Joint Integrity is launched by sealing industry leaders

03 February 2011

The $100m turnover FDS Group (Flexitallic, Novus Sealing, Siem Supranite and Induseal Gaskets), has launched The Academy of Joint Integrity with facilities in Aberdeen, Teeside/Humberside, West Yorkshire and globally in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, Nigeria, Thailand, China, Middle East and Kazakhstan. The Academy’s training programmes address the lack of standardised qualifications for bolted joint assemblers, identified as a leading cause of joint leakage.

The FDS Group has created The Academy to provide accredited and awareness training courses in joint integrity and flange management processes, underpinning the importance of certified bolted joint assemblers to achieving and maintaining a leak free bolted connection.
The Academy training programmes recognise the important role sealing technology plays in the safe operation of a bolted joint. Significant advances in gasket technology in recent years have allowed great improvements to be made in the specification of gaskets for industrial applications, minimising the likelihood of joint leakage and resulting in reduced operating costs. Academy courses include modules on sealing technology and also provide practical identification, handling and removal of gasket.

Gary Milne (pictured) manages the Global Client Training Division of the FDS Group and will head up the new Academy.  Gary has extensive technical experience and in depth knowledge of the sealing industry and Joint Integrity Products and Services together with involvement and representation on a number of UK and International Committees. Within these committees he promotes and advises on Industry Best Practice to ensure Joint Integrity Issues and new technical solutions are transparent to end users.

ASME has commissioned Gary until 2012, as an independent consultant providing technical input in the re-write of ASME PCC-1-2010 and formulation of Appendix A which will include Training and Qualification Procedures for personnel assembling and tightening bolted flanged connections.

Gary commented, “Welders are able to train and become certified to industry standards, but bolted joint assemblers have no such system, despite assembling pressure boundary joints on the same equipment as welders. 

“This is a great opportunity to introduce much needed symmetry in training and qualifications to ensure personnel are adequately trained, and transparency for the industry.  It is a brave move by FDS to introduce an Academy which is not revenue generation led – integrity is central to our mission to deliver quality training.

“We are actually addressing the age-old questions posed by engineers dealing with pressure vessel and piping bolted joints of what assembly bolt load should be used and why the joint leaked, in PCC-1-2010.”

The Academy offers accredited training to International Standards including ASME PCC-1-2010 and EN 1591 part 4.  Training will be delivered in a variety of ways; at the Academy’s purpose built training facilities, at client’s premises utilising mobile training rigs and equipment, through “Blended Training via a web based learning portal using a unique e-learning programme.

Both the ASME PCC-1 and CEN EN 1591-4 provide a structured, back to basics methodology to training and certifying personnel involved in the assembly of bolted joints which is the approach adopted by The Academy of Joint Integrity. Training provided by the Academy is designed to equip personnel with necessary competence to ensure leak free connections throughout the lifetime of the joint without the need for intricate software solutions.

The courses, delivered by industry experts, utilise a combination of practical and theoretical training and assessment and are accredited to International Standards including the ASME PCC-1 and the EN 1591 part 4.

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