Pipe expanders are used in the production process of pipes which transport fossil oil from the drilling rig to the factory where it is needed. Fontijne Grotnes in Vlaardingen (the Netherlands) is a manufacturer of hydraulic pipe expanders and E. Schwartz B.V. is the Rotterdam Gates Distributor, who suggested to equip the expanders with flexible MegaSys Pressure hoses improving the design of the machine.
Oil industry in expansion
As there is a constant demand for energy from fossil fuels, new gas and oil resources are continuously being examined, onshore as well as offshore. The transport of fossil fuels is done in pipes, manufactured in large numbers according to strict specifications. Large distances are covered from the drilling rig to the factory where the gas or oil are used for processing in different products. These distances can be up to some hundreds of kilometres, f.i. from the northern part of the North Sea to Seabruges. It goes without saying that these pipes need to be designed extremely accurately. The pipes are manufacured in different parts, which are afterwards welded together to obtain a total length of about 12 metres. If the concentricity is not accurate or the outside diameter of the individual parts deviates, the pipes can not be welded together properly. In order to assure a precise outside diameter, the welded pipes are put on a mandrel and expanded until the correct diameter is obtained.
And that's where Gates comes in...
The hydraulic pipe expanders used in this process are designed by the company Fontijne Grotnes. They consist of a power pack, the actual expanding unit or mandrel and a trolley. The power pack is powered by six electric motors of 125 kW each, which drive hydraulic pumps with a capacity of about 2000 liters per minute. Solid components were needed for the oil flow to and from the expanding unit. Gates' Distributor E. Schwartz B.V. came up with the right products. The oil flow to the expanding unit is assured by three high pressure Gates 32G5K spiral wire hoses and the return oil is transported by four Gates 32G3K hoses. All hoses have SAE flanges. And there is more! Consisting of three parts, the pipe expander can be disassembled in order to be transported. There used to be quite rigid tubes, which have now been replaced by Gates flexible spiral wire hoses with UNF swivelled couplings.
The first machine is being test run at Fontijne Grotnes and will afterwards be disassembled and transported to the customer.