Elastomer technology solves tricky engineering and environmental problems for pipeline and industry projects. Light and flexible Elastomer products are employed in Australia to overcome difficulties encountered in stormwater, groundwater, pipeline and civil, municipal and industrial engineering projects.
The inflatable lifting cushions, pipe stoppers and emergency spill prevention and storage technology from Elastomer engineering company, Pronal, are distributed by Air Springs Supply . Air Springs Supply observe that Pronal made the deep sea flotation tanks used to raise wreckage from the ocean liner, Titanic, 4000 metres beneath the icy North Atlantic.
According to Air Springs Supply, the tough Pronal cushions safely handle tricky lifts where there is limited space in which to work, raise loads ranging from heavy vehicles, pipelines and plants through to beams, bridge components, building components, machinery and resource development structures.
Mechanical or hydraulic jacks concentrate their energy into a small contact area, lifting bags to distribute over the entire surface area of the bag for safety and minimise the risk of damage to the pipeline or other objects being lifted.
Pronal lifting cushions also have a low uninflated thickness. This allows lifting cushions to be deployed and operated under a wide range of loads. In addition to providing easy access, they are tolerant to conditions around the load (which may include trenches and different terrain surfaces).
The cushions’ lifting capability was demonstrated on an Australian pipeline project, the Simpson’s Creek gas project, which involved delicate vertical movements.
Jack Walsh, Nacap Construction Superintendent on this project, said the reason the cushions were used was to give absolute control of the lift and therefore better safety and security of supply. Hydraulics might provide a half an inch of concentrated movement, when only one millimetre is needed.
One of Walsh’s larger lifts, using five bags, involved 238 metres of pipeline passing through a gully. There was quite a lot of weight involved. The pipeline was repositioned to obviate the effects of slope and ground subsidence using a diesel 180cfm compressor, load sensors and the gauges and valving provided with the bags.
Walsh notes that they focussed on security of the workforce, the infrastructure and the supply of the contents of the pipeline.
Safety in lifting is enhanced by the recent Pronal inflatable lifting cushions, the largest of which is capable of handling up to 65 tons and incorporates the strength of Kevlar textile. The Kevlar textile is a tough fibre used in body armour, racing tyres and racing sails.
Air Springs Supply opine that Kevlar textile is an alternative to steel and is suitable for repetitive work in harsh environments, including construction, energy, industrial, resources and civil engineering sites.
Advantages of the Pronal inflatable lifting cushions include non-slip surfaces for maximum friction when stacking two cushions, cross-marking for easy centring under load and inscription of basic safety rules on the product.
A range of accessories is available for different fields of application, including simplified inflation controller, control panel and air pressure relief valves. Pronal inflatable pipe stoppers up to 3000mm in diameter are made from quality fibre-reinforced Elastomer.
These inflatable pipe stoppers are used to:
- Test pipes for leaks under pressure (joint testing)
- Isolate pipes for maintenance (inspection stoppers)
- Temporarily seal pipes to avoid runoff of toxic materials (pollution stoppers)
- Provide portable and re-usable medium and high-pressure stoppers for offshore use
- Provide high-pressure, self-contained stoppers for specialised uses, including power and water utilities
According to Air Springs Supply, inflatable pipe stoppers are suitable where water flow needs to be stopped. These pipe stoppers stop the water flow to enable professionals in different industries to do their jobs and resolve the situation by creating an airtight seal within the pipe.
The Pronal inflatable pipe stoppers can also be used in testing air and water pressure, locating leaks, and allowing the injection of chemicals into a pipeline without a hazardous backup.
Advantages include suitability and speed of installation and being completely leakproof and safe to use. Sturdy with a long service life, the Pronal inflatable pipe stoppers are suitable for a variety of pipes including concrete, cast iron, steel, stainless steel and PVC.
The diversified stopper range includes either standard or made-to-measure models for low pressure and high pressure (over 100 bars) applications with a choice of shapes (cylindrical, ovoid, square) and specific models to comply with particular specifications including:
Standard low pressure Vari plugs from 45 to 1500mm with blank stopper, bypass for water tightness tests and rod for mini pipes
High pressure OPV plugs from 70 to 220mm for use when back pressures of up to 3 bars are encountered in gas and water lines
Uni-Plug collapsible pipe stoppers from 20 to 3000mm that fit around obstacles, corners and into inaccessible areas of surface, underground and underwater pipelines.
Pronal have developed solutions dedicated to risk prevention to protect the environment. Specifically designed equipment ensures that in emergency situations, work is carried out quickly, efficiently and in total safety. A range of products is offered for:
- Storing and recovering water and effluents (flexible tanks)
- Sealing (inflatable stoppers and seals)
- Retention (flexible booms)
Anti-pollution (including permanent stoppers) such as Pollu-Plug anti pollution stoppers permanently fitted in stormwater and sewerage lines ready for rapid inflation by remote triggering as soon as an emergency occurs are also available from Pronal.
Pronal leak sealing systems can be applied externally to pipes and tanks to provide immediate assistance in the event of accidents or emergencies.