Thursday, 7 May 2015

HANDS ON - AND LOVING IT

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing ... and every so often a customer, new to Enviropeel or Alocit, will read something or hear something out of context and come to impossible conclusions about what we can or can't do. 

It would be great if we could ...

Sometimes it's our fault. Even though both products protect against corrosion, they have very different properties so, when we are at a show for example, a casual visitor will see a picture or video of Alocit being applied underwater, read about Enviropeel ... and then ask us how we spray Enviropeel underwater. Which, unfortunately, is against the laws of physics ... but it would be great if we could. Nevertheless, the most outlandish suggestions may contain a kernel of sense. OK, so we still can't apply Enviropeel underwater but, until recently, we also would tell people that Enviropeel was unsuitable for immersive service ... now we have a system that allows us to protect using Enviropeel underwater.


Testing the wrap system
on the back lot pipe rack
And the reason for this is that, when a suggestion is made, we don't dismiss it out of hand. If there is a good reason to do something, just because we can't do it today doesn't mean it will be impossible tomorrow. The potential to be able to do new things is part of what motivated the original development of Enviropeel and it continues to drive us every day.

Yes, you can ...

This can just be a day-to-day thing like the pipe rack which is set up on the back lot of our HQ. Here, simple suggestions are tried out ... 'can you paint Enviropeel?' Well, it turns out, yes you can but, at this point in time, we are not sure why you would want to.

'What happens when Enviropeel has water pouring over it for long periods of time?' You've seen the answer to that question (Blog 3-12-14) or, if you haven't, you should check it out. In a nutshell, the answer is nothing, it doesn't matter how much water pours over Enviropeel ... it just keeps on working.

Anyway, you get the point, some things are easy to test and having a permanent test bed is really useful ... but not every suggestion is quite so easy to assess.


Test facilities

There are certified labs all over the world with the ability to test products against almost anything. Usually this will be against a specific standard set by organisations such as ASTM or ISO in order to test a specific quality such as resistance to UV. In most cases this would involve a small test plate and a relatively short accelerated test for extrapolation into real-world predictions.


The hot salt fog cabinet at Group HQ is
capable of accepting large and complex test pieces
Different wrap techniques
were assessed to maximise
strength and flexibility
Nothing wrong with that but, if you are dealing with complex structures and complicated ideas, it can be very hard to set the correct parameters ... and paying for long-term testing just to see if something works can be an expensive business. So, as you may be aware, we have installed equipment at our HQ more suited to a test lab than a work shop but it allows us to just make things up and see what happens in real time. It's the best possible way to try things out.

Riser Clamp

I mentioned the Riser Clamp in our last post, but is an interesting insight into our approach to see how we arrived at a solution. When approached by Maersk, we had already completed testing of a range of wrapping materials as part of our development of a submersible Enviropeel system. Working together with our colleagues at Enviropeel USA, as a result of early trials for offshore wind generators in the UK, we arrived at a great solution that gave us just what we needed.

Large complete test pieces could
be tested in the salt cabinet
With this in mind, our Technical Director ... a real 'hands on' engineer who enjoys making things ... decided to have 1/3rd scale models of the clamps created to test different ways of protecting them. The fact that we had a very large salt-spray cabinet in which the models could be tested made a huge difference. Monitored in real time, it soon became apparent what was working ... and what was not.

Several methodologies were tested, different wraps, wrap patterns and top coats as well as adapting spray techniques to meet the requirements of the outer layer - all manufactured and tested without leaving the HQ building.

Any questions?

So, if you need to know whether or not we can make Enviropeel glow in the dark (actually, we can) or apply Alocit  with a toothbrush (probably not a good idea), then let us know ... we may not have a solution ... but we will enjoy trying to find one.

Click this link for more information on A&E testing facilities

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