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Hydropower: Relying on Superbolt for 30 years

1 November 2017
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Text: Chad Henderson

photo: John Kelly

When it comes to long-term Superbolt users, American Mike Bruno is hard to beat. More than 30 years ago, he was involved in one of the earliest installations of Superbolt tensioners in a hydropower turbine. Today, he continues to praise the performance of these tensioners. Here, he shares some inspirational insights.

First published in Bolted #2 2017.

You first worked with Superbolt tensioners at Diablo Dam in 1984. How did that come about?
“I was a machinist working at Seattle City Light, the electric utility for Seattle. We worked out of the machine shop down there, and we would go up and be labour support at Diablo Dam. In 1984, they were doing a stator-rotor inspection on the turbine, so they had to remove the rotor; that involves taking the thrust bearing apart, which is mounted on the turbine shaft. It is very important that the thrust block is perpendicular to the shaft within less than one-thousandth of an inch. Otherwise, it will have run-out and wobble.”

How did the Superbolt tensioners help with that?
“Back then, to get the right tension in the bolts, you had to heat the bolts so they would elongate, do the installation, and then wait for them to cool overnight. If the thrust bearing wasn’t sitting right on top of the shaft, you had to do it all over.

“The engineers at Diablo Dam had been in contact with Superbolt, and they modified the bolts so you didn’t have to go through this long process. Instead, we could tighten up those little bolts. If the thrust bearing wasn’t exactly perpendicular, you just tweaked the bolts on the opposite side. It was a very labour-saving modification.”

Today, you work at Wells Dam. What do you do there?

“I’ve been with the Wells Hydroelectric Project for about 17 years, managing and monitoring the project. What I’ve always enjoyed about my work is that every day there are new challenges or something that you’ve got to fix. We’ve got air systems, electrical systems, mechanical systems, hydraulic systems – all these different auxiliary systems that feed the turbines that run 24 hours a day.”

How has the dam been modernized over the years?
“One of the ways that it has been modernized is that we have installed PLCs on the majority of our alarm systems. Today, we have over 2,500 alarm points on different systems. This allows us to set more parameters for the alarm points, and we can also trend over time and compare with different machines. If something is starting to fail, you can set up a parameter to get an alarm so you can look into it before the failure actually happens.

“We are also using Superbolt tensioners when rebuilding our turbines. They’re being used in the load screws that hold the turbine bearing shoes in place, and in our turbine’s outer head cover, where you can’t access the bolts with a big wrench because it’s close quarters. They’re very reliable.”

FACTS: MIKE BRUNO
TITLE: Project Superintendent, Wells Hydroelectric Project, Douglas County Public Utility district
AGE: 60
LIVES: Chelan, Washington
BACKGROUND: Has a degree in industrial technology from Shoreline College; also studied at Cogswell College. Worked at Seattle City Light as a hydro machinist and foreman until 1990, then as a mechanical supervisor for the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project until 2000. Since then with Wells Hydroelectric Project.
PASSION: Married with three grown daughters, two granddaughters. Enjoys bow hunting and playing golf.

Hydraulic tensioning tool for nuclear reactor pressure vessel

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction required a bolt tensioning solution to tighten nuclear reactor pressure vessel stud bolts. Boltight was contacted to design a hydraulic tensioning tool to achieve a predetermined bolt elongation, without exceeding the reactor head’s maximum allowable bearing stress.

The required bolt load was critically high (14,500 kN), and the space envelope was very small – the radial space available to install and operate the tensioner was particularly tight.

A tensioning system was designed to accommodate this high preload capacity within the space available. In realising these tools, Boltight engineers also incorporated a hydraulic piston retraction function into the design; to enable the equipment to be reset quickly, reducing operator fatigue. To compensate for dynamic joint behaviour, a spherical reaction nut and piston interface was integrated to accommodate any bending effects in the event of flange rotation.

Various safety mechanisms were incorporated to protect both the tools and the operators. Pressure relief valves were installed, and a floating gearbox design was engineered to avert damage should nut misalignment occur. The gearbox directly interfaced the geared nut which negated the need for a costly, heavy socket, and provided the necessary torque to rotate the nut.

Boltight were able to supply a complicated, bespoke design to exacting standards and achieved the tight delivery period set down by the client.

► Watch: Installation of Boltight bolt tensioner

Superbolt: Improving steel mill safety and productivity

18 October 2017
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Text: Keisuke Okada & Nic Townsend

First published in Bolted #2 2017.

SAFETY. The JFE Steel Corporation’s West Japan Works is one of the largest and most advanced steel mills in the world. Like all steel plants, the operating conditions are exceptionally demanding on machines and equipment, and potentially hazardous for personnel – especially the hot rolling mill, where molten steel is flattened and stretched into thin sheets. The temperature of the steel will reach at least 450°C (842°F).

Until recently, the fasteners that connected the decelerators and pinion stands on the hot rolling mill, were tightened using a 300-kg weight, which was suspended from the ceiling via a crane. The weight would be pulled from a makeshift scaffold, before letting it hit the wrench like a hammer. Overall, the procedure involved five people: three to pull the weight, one to fasten the wrench, and one to operate the crane. It took an hour to tighten each bolt, and the multiple safety risks for the personnel involved were considerable.

Switching to Superbolt multi-jack tensioners has turned one of the riskiest maintenance tasks in the plant into one of the safest. Each connection can now be secured by one person in just 15 minutes. With eight bolts on each mounted application, the overall reduction in downtime and increase in productivity is significant.

In fact, Superbolt multi-jack tensioners have proven so successful that they have been implemented in JFE Steel’s other hot rolling mills in Fukuyama and Chita.

Watch: Superbolt multi-jackbolt tensioners explainer video

Creating big opportunities for small distributor

11 October 2017
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Text: Alastair Macduff

photo: Nord-Lock Group, Viggo Bendz

Danish company Viggo Bendz has recently started supplying Stena Recycling with the Expander System for their grab machines - a potentially lucrative development for a small independent operator.

First published in Bolted #2 2017.

As prices continue to be down in the steel and metals industries, developing a successful partnership with a major customer can go a long way to securing profitability for a small business. The Danish company Viggo Bendz is based in Høng, on the west coast of Sjælland, the largest and easternmost of Denmark’s islands. The company employs eight people and delivers solutions and equipment for crushing, demolition and sorting. Poul Erik Jakobsen is owner and CEO. He took over the running of the business in 2006, just three years after it was formed. “When I started,” he says, “we were mainly dealing with excavators. Then one day I had a realization that the company would not survive in the future if we only sold certain kinds of bolts. We needed to expand our range in order to compete.”

The ability to anticipate change has been important to Viggo Bendz from the outset. Currently, one half of their business is parts for excavators such as teeth, buckets, cutting edges, hydraulic hammers and grabs. However, the other 50 per cent of their turnover comes from machines and complete plants for the environment and recycling business. Contractors are the main users of the Expander System bolts that they distribute, yet they have been well aware of Expander System’s potential in the recycling business, where Stena Recycling is one of the main players.

Located in five markets – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Poland – Stena Recycling is committed to sustainability in their business practice. The two companies have had a long relationship, with Viggo Bendz supplying standard bolts for over a decade. However, they recently offered Stena Recycling the Expander System to test on their so-called ‘orange peel grabs’ (see picture). With this kind of machinery subject to wear and tear through constant and prolonged use, Stena Recycling have now taken the opportunity to employ a solution that will reduce the need for maintenance and will increase the safety and machine life cycle, Jakobsen believes. He says that, “By introducing the Expander System, Stena Recycling is saving money. Because of the quality, it represents a long-term investment for them. The industry is tough at the moment, due to the market price for steel and metals. Longer machine life obviously means both greater sustainability and profitability.”

The importance of supplying a sustainable solution to today’s market is something that Viggo Bendz knows well. The waste recycling business is one segment that is at the forefront of sustainable work practices, as companies increasingly focus on resource management and turning waste into new raw materials. More organizations are looking toward employing technology that en­ables this process and fits in with their sustainability strategy. Being able to supply a pivot solution that improves the durability and longevity of moving mechanical parts, means contributing something vital to the business of customers and to the environment as a whole.

As for being a smaller independent company in the current business climate, there are significant advantages according to Jakobsen. “We are focusing on quality products, which means that it is not always the cheapest solution for the customer. It is vital to us that we provide excellent service. Because of our size, we can be flexible and change direction quickly to help our customers and our own business if we need to.”

Being a distributor for the Expander System suits Viggo Bendz’ business model. They have a market presence all over Denmark, covering industries such as construction, mineral and scrap recycling. Currently Expander System accounts for around 200,000 euros of their annual turn­over. Like almost every modern business, raising the company’s profile nationally has meant increasing their online presence. “We are focusing a lot on social media now,” continues ­Jakobsen. “Once a week we try to upload a case story to Facebook. Every time we upload an Expander System case, we get a couple of new customers. This is something that we must continue to use to our advantage.”

With pricing being crucial to compete succesfully in the market for the foreseeable future, Viggo Bendz is both positive and pragmatic about its current position. “Yes, it is all about price,” Jakobsen says. “However, with Expander System we do not have so many direct competitors. Being able to offer reliable, long-term solutions gives us the chance to target customers in waste recycling and other sustainable businesses. Even travelling around locally, you see how many grabs and different machinery are in operation. This potential is exciting for us.”

FACTS: THE SOLUTION
CLIENT: Viggo Bendz.
END CUSTOMER: Stena Recycling.
LOCATION: Denmark.
PROJECT: To provide solution for pivot wear on grab machinery.
NORD-LOCK GROUP PRODUCT: The Expander System.

BENEFITS GAINED:

  • Longer machine life.
  • Less maintenance.
  • Improved reliability.
  • Increased uptime.

 

The Expander System: cost-effective and sustainable

With its focus on sustainability and cost-efficiency, the waste recycling industry is tailor-made for long-term bolting solutions. Grab machines work constantly and repetitively, collecting, sorting and distributing waste of all kinds. Naturally, they develop pivot wear over time. Standard bolt fittings and joints become worn, leading to enforced machine reparations, which in turn lead to downtime.

The difference with the Expander System is that it is installed directly into the existing mounting on the machines, and involves a simple process which avoids welding and line boring. As well as being cost-effective in terms of longer machine life and increased uptime, it also adheres to sustainability principles, requiring less equipment and repeated repairs. By prolonging the lifetime on cylinder rod ends and moving mechanical parts, Expander System contributes to the increased safety and productivity of hard-working grab machinery.

The Expander System is installed on over 10,000 types of machines, covering more than 80,000 different pivot applications so far. The most common industries where they are being used are construction, manufacturing, oil & gas, mining, marine and agriculture.

Within waste recycling, The Expander ­System is not the only Nord-Lock Group solution to be hard at work. Several companies currently employ Nord-Lock Group products, including large UK waste services company Biffa. They have been using the wheel nuts on all their Mercedes trucks since 2012, having found them safer, more reliable and cheaper to source than standard locking wheel nuts.

Find out more about Expander System

Watch: “Are you getting the most out of your machinery?”

 

Bespoke bolt tensioners secure deep-water pipelines

20 September 2017
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Text: Alastair Macduff

First published in Bolted #2 2017.

CUSTOMER: SUBSEA INNOVATION, UNITED KINGDOM
LOCATION: AUSTRALIA
APPLICATION: OFFSHORE STRUCTURES
BOLTIGHT PRODUCTS: 14 UNITS OF M120 AND 10 UNITS OF M150 BOLT TENSIONERS
PROJECT: STRUCTURAL PIPELINE REPAIR CLAMPS FOR EPRS

Boltight solutions continue to be employed on more and more specialist applications in a multitude of markets worldwide. One example of this is Subsea Innovation, a UK-based company that serves the offshore industry. This company has been supplying subsea structures for over 25 years, and recently secured a multi-million-pound contract in Australia.

For this project, Boltight has supplied tailormade bolt tensioning equipment for structural split repair clamps. These are part of the Emergency Pipeline Repair System (EPRS) for gas pipelines off the north and northwest coasts of Australia. Boltight designed and produced two sizes of tensioner to suit M120 and M150 bolts. These tensioners are used to tighten the main bolts located around the clamp body and are activated remotely using a hydraulic control system.

The tensioners have been designed as per Subsea Innovation’s specifications, with Boltight adding its experience of supplying such solutions. The long-stroke, double-acting design means that they operate in both directions, so they can be reset without recovery to the surface. They are ideally suited for subsea use.

Boltight worked with Subsea Innovation to agree on testing and operational specifications, ensuring that the applied bolt tension is correct and that the overall EPRS system operates properly when called upon. All parts were supplied by Boltight within a strict delivery window.

The EPRS in Australia will act as a contingency if the main lines transporting gas need to be repaired.

Watch: Boltight subsea hydraulic bolt tensioners

Focus on security in windy and vibrating environment

23 August 2017
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Text: Alastair Macduff

photo: Akkadia, 06photo

First published in Bolted #1 2017.

THE CHALLENGE
Dutch company Akkadia manufactures specialist CCTV systems for demanding situations in various industries. Its cameras can be found everywhere, from offshore, to polar regions and deserts.

Since 2010, Akkadia has had a contract with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (IenM), providing CCTV technology in tunnels throughout the Netherlands. Tunnel cameras must be particularly durable, as the vehicles that constantly pass close by create huge wind pressure. Standard security cameras normally don’t last more than a year and a half.

THE SOLUTION
Akkadia developed a specific camera for tunnels – the PTZ – as a stainless steel, vibration-resistant application, built to last more than ten years. To create and maintain such robust technology requires a high-quality locking solution.

The IenM were keen to use its usual self-locking nuts, but Akkadia were already employing a product that would ensure the ability of its cameras to provide long-term, trouble-free traffic surveillance.

Akkadia had entered into partnership with Nord-Lock and fit its washers in the CCTV camera technology. The IenM was subsequently won over by convincing evidence presented by Akkadia about the quality of the Nord-Lock washers, including test reports from TÜV in Germany. The PTZ tunnel camera utilises NL6 and NL8 steel and stainless steel washers on the inside, and NL10 stainless steel washers on the mounting and base.

THE RESULT

All moving parts and internal connections on Akkadia CCTV systems are secured by Nord-Lock washers; from the housings to the base plates.

No problems have been reported in the six years that Akkadia has supplied tunnel cameras to the IenM. Akkadia has now manufactured around 800 systems featuring the Nord-Lock solution. Currently, over 400 PTZ tunnel cameras cover two large motorway projects in the Netherlands – the Amsterdam Orbital, and the Maastricht motorway near the Belgian border.

The success of Akkadia’s tunnel cameras highlights the importance of total cost of ownership. In thinking long term, the IenM has saved money on the cost of maintenance and replacing broken cameras.

Washers keep airplanes in the air

First published in Bolted #1 2017.

Look up into the sky in the coastal city of Miri, in north-eastern Sarawak, Malaysia, and you may see Nord-Lock washers in action: inside a radio-controlled aircraft. These hobby airplanes are sold by Byond Horizon, a business that otherwise uses drones to take aerial photos and videos for companies.

“Unlike our drones, these recreational aircraft use gasoline-powered engines,” says Mr. M. Fadzly of Byond Horizon. “These engines cause a vibration problem. Since the frame is made of wood, which is soft, and the engine and its mounting are made of steel, the bolts holding them together can come loose after only four or five flights.”

Fadzly says that it can be difficult to access the plane’s engine, so the loosening is a real problem. A friend of Fadzly’s, however, works at Mayura Engineering and is a supplier of Nord-Lock washers.

“I ordered a box, tried them out, and now I recommend them to all of my customers when we are assembling their airplanes,” says Fadzly. “The Nord-Lock washers never need to be retightened, and they also make sure the engine stays in place. It would be quite dangerous if the engine were to fall out during flight.”

Fadzly not only sells the radio-controlled airplanes, he flies them himself. “I’ve been doing it since 1997,” he says. “It’s a passion, and a fun thing to do on the weekend. It gives you the feeling of flying a real airplane.”

►► Contact us to receive more information about Nord-Lock washers

No downtime with innovative pivot pins

15 June 2017
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Text: Alastair Macduff

photo: Rambooms

First published in Bolted #1 2017.

Customer: Rambooms
Range: >40 models from 450 kg to 20 tonne
End-customers: Crusher manufacturers and mines
Product used: Expander System Pivot Technology
Applications: Breaker boom systems

Rambooms Oy is a global supplier of breaker boom systems to crusher manufacturers and mines. Based in Finland, its products are used to break oversized rocks.

Pivot wear on these applications is a natural occurrence through time and repeated use, and the company had previously been using its own solution to prevent this. This solution, with a basic conical locking, had caused some issues. Rambooms’ own pins also arrived at its factory in pieces rather than assembled, which meant extra repacking work for personnel when sending the pins on as spare parts.

In 2009, the company took the decision to test the Expander System pivot technology and has been extremely satisfied with the results. The Expander pivot pins are already fully assembled when they arrive. This represents a significant time and cost saving in a competitive industry. Technicians have found fitting and locking much easier than the company’s previous solution.

The Expander System has offered Rambooms significant peace of mind, as it has had no customer issues with pivot wear since the company employed it. A marked improvement in delivery times has also been noted, as Expander always has the stock ready to ship.

“Our customers recognise the fact that the Expander pivot technology means good quality. This reflects well on us and our business,” says Samppa Varhomaa, Product Manager at Rambooms Oy.

The Expander System is locked into the pivot on the machinery when fasteners are tightened. The double-sided locking increases safety and stability, while both fitting and dismantling is simple.