3 Considerations Before Using Hot Tapping in Steel Factories

If you manage a steel factory, hot tapping has definitely crossed your mind. And why wouldn’t it? It can be cost-effective, more environmentally friendly, and prevents a total shutdown.

However, it’s not as simple as making the decision to hot tap and running with it. There are some important considerations for steel factories to make to ensure that the job gets done safely and correctly.

Check out these top three considerations before using hot tapping.

1. Is Hot Tapping Cost-Effective?

A massive benefit of hot tapping is that your system doesn’t need to be shut down in order to connect to in-service pipelines. This seems like it would make hot tapping the more affordable option because it saves time that would otherwise be billed to the operator.

While there are gas-saving and elimination of venting benefits of hot tapping, it isn’t necessarily the more affordable option for a steel factory. Hot tapping requires skilled labor, additional accessories, and specialized machinery which all add to the cost.

The best thing for a steel plant manager to do is to do a bit of research into company data to determine the costs of a shutdown compared to the cost of hot tapping. This way, you can decide if hot tapping is economically viable through a cost-benefit analysis.

2. What is the Current Condition of Existing Line?

It’s important to examine the current pipeline to identify crucial metrics before beginning the hot tapping process. An operator will perform an audit to gather information about the maximum operating pressure, the pipe material, and the condition of the parent pipeline. For example, to determine whether there is corrosion on the parent pipeline and what the wall thickness is.

Hot tapping is only possible when the parent pipeline is in good condition. This audit is extremely important for safety concerning under pressure drilling and on-line leak repairs

Beyond the audit, it’s important to consider the surrounding environment. For example, where nearby valves are located in order to prepare for an accident that requires emergency isolation.

3. Are You Meeting Industry Standards?

An industrial production manager needs to ensure that industry and federal codes are met and adhered to. These codes determine the minimum standard for engineers during every part of the hot tapping process.

This requires thorough research in order to understand procedures and standards. Before getting started it is recommended that you get a couple of important documents in order. These include detailed engineering calculations confirming suitability for hot tapping, thickness measurements, detailed welding procedures, and detailed risk assessment.

Is Hot Tapping Right for Steel Factories?

The appeal of preventing a shutdown or an interruption to critical plant operation is too tempting to pass by. But is hot tapping right for steel factories? It certainly can be when the parent pipeline is in good condition and the cost-benefit analysis shows that your budget can cover operating costs. Of course, it’s also much better for the environment.

Rak Industrial Services Inc. is a full-service industrial maintenance company and we specialize in on-line leak repairs and composite repairs. Contact us today for all your industrial service needs.

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