Fast track testing services provided by RED Engineering have helped to confirm the viability of new rubber coated tensioner pads under development for the offshore energy sector.
The North East-based firm of engineers completed the work for Metflex Precision Mouldings Ltd, which needed to validate the performance characteristics of its new EM range of natural rubbers.
The project has involved a small-scale test rig to complete a set of comparative friction coefficient tests of a 50mm x 50mm x 5mm sample against a polyurethane (PU) section already in use for tensioner track pads.
Initial results have been encouraging and used to validate the improved friction and wear characteristics of the rubber pads, revealing an average increase in friction coefficient value of 19% at high crush loads and 49% at low crush loads.
In the offshore sector, tensioners form a central part of most pipelay systems and are used on-board pipelay vessels to retain tension as the pipeline is being installed on the seabed. Any potential increase in friction properties allows operators to hold higher pipe and cable top tensions for the same crush force on a tensioner.
Metflex believes that its new products, which are part of a drive to expand its capabilities, will deliver a better performance than existing systems, and needed RED Engineering’s tensioner pad testing expertise to help to confirm this.
These new products, developed for back deck tensioner, SURF and submarine cable handling systems, complement Metflex’s existing subsea clamp inner liners, which have been independently verified to meet API 17L part 1 specification.
The next phase will see full scale testing but on the back of initial results Metflex has been able to provide a provisional top tension value to its first customers.
Ben Sculthorp, sales manager and responsible for business development at Metflex, said the project demonstrated RED Engineering’s experience in providing rapid testing solutions.
He added: “Using RED’s expertise and test facility, we have been able to validate very quickly the potential for our products, and confirm the improved performance benefits that it offers to our customers.”