Corrosion at pipe support contact points create a major challenge in many terminals, refineries and petrochemical plants. Much of the piping that was installed over time was laid directly on the beam. Over time, rust accumulates where the pipe touches the beam, regardless of how good the surface preparation was.
At one refinery in the mid-west for example, 400,000 contact points needed to be considered as possible problem areas. Many of the potential problems are covered in insulation. Corrosion under insulation creates a whole new set of potential hazards. Corrosion that you can’t visually inspect without removing the insulation requires additional work and engineering.
Reasons for needing to lift the pipe off a beam might be for point of contact inspections, sand-blasting, painting, shoe replacement or for I-Rod installation work. In the past there have been typically two methods for lifting pipe off the beam, the use of a crane or attaching chain-hoists to the above piping. Each have drawbacks that need to be considered before use.
The use of a crane can be expensive. You have the expense of the crane, the cost of the operator and the cost of a spotter. Mobilizing a crane to go in to a unit in a refinery is rife with hazards. There are many times a crane can’t reach the area where the lifting needs to be accomplished.
Using chain falls and straps require you to tie-off above the pipe to be lifted. This requires further engineering to determine whether the structure you tie-off to might be compromised. If the chain fall or strap were to fail, potential injury might occur. If the pipe were do drop back on the beam, might there be damage to the support.
Point of contact pipe lifters are the new standard of lifting pipe off the beam. The Pipe Rack Jack is a mechanical point of contact pipe lifter that mounts to the bottom of the beam while the Bobby Jack is a hydraulic point of contact pipe lifter that mounts to the top of the beam. The Pipe Rack Jack is capable of lifting diameters of pipe up to 16” and can lift up to 5,500 pounds while the hydraulic Bobby Jack is capable of lifting 30” pipe up to 12,000 pounds.
Rope access saves plants millions of dollars when scaffolding is eliminated. Rope access technicians can install and lift pipe with the Pipe Rack Jack in as little as 3 minutes they can lift pipe with the Bobby Jack in less than 5 minutes.
In summary, inspecting for external corrosion where piping touches the support beam is essential. Failure to do so could lead to fires and explosions and possible loss of life. Point of contact pipe lifters are a fast and efficient way to save thousands of dollars when pipe needs to be lifted off a beam. Specialty Maintenance Products is your source for point of contact pipe lifters. For rental or purchase information, we can be contacted at (713) 667-4402 or at email@example.com.