Metallic Expansion Joints Provider and Manufacturer Cardwell Ltd Installs Clamshell Bellows

Top Quote Cardwell Ltd Metallic Expansion Joints Provider and Manufacturer Installs 2 DN 1000 Clamshell Bellows at Redcar Blast Furnace. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) September 14, 2014 - Cardwell Ltd installed 2 DN 1000 clamshell bellows at Redcar Blast Furnace at SSI UK's steel plant in the North East of England. These clamshell bellows were installed on the coke oven gas main which feeds the hot air stoves.

    We were contacted by SSI UK as during a scheduled inspection they had discovered localized deep pitting in two of the three bellows situated in the line; we had previously supplied a replacement for the third position during the furnace restart. From conducting a site inspection the bellows were found to be approaching the end of their life cycle and had to be replaced. A scheduled outage was in plan to which the work was to be an element.

    Two options were discussed with the plant engineers; the first was to completely cut out a section of pipe encompassing the old bellows and then refit a new pipe section containing a new bellows element. The second was to use clamshell bellows and leave the pipe untouched.

    A risk assessment was carried out to determine the remedial work required and method.

    Initially the preferred option by the plant engineers was to cut out the old section and weld back in a new one; however the outage was only scheduled for two and a half days which would leave too little margin for unforeseen problems.

    During the hazard identification process, some of the main concerns were the nature of the flow medium and age of the plant. Coke oven gas is both extremely flammable and very toxic, so even with the line being water jet cleaned then purged with nitrogen there still remained a danger that the sparks generated by cutting the old sections out could cause an explosion. With the plant being over30 years old we were concerned that once a section of pipe was removed, being able to realign it with the ends of the new section would be difficult, especially as the location of the bellows were over 15metres above ground level.

    It was therefore decided in mitigation of the above hazards , fitting a clamshell at each location would be the safer solution as there would be no sparks generated inside the line and the original pipe would remain uncut giving no alignment issues.

    Installed in four days

    The customer required a detailed programme to ensure the shutdown was within schedule. Our group service team arrived at the site on the Monday morning to conduct the required site health and safety training and set up each of the work areas ready to start work the following day at the beginning of the shutdown.

    The shutdown was to run from Tuesday morning through to Thursday evening, though we had to complete the job by Thursday afternoon to allow plant engineers time to reconnect the pipe into the system, giving us a two and a half day window to fully fit the clamshells.

    The initial isolation required the line to be purged with nitrogen to mitigate the risk of an explosion due to the heat generated by welding on the outside of the pipe. This reduced our window of work and to compensate the team worked extended hours to meet the planned time.

    The initial work involved cleaning the outside of the pipe to allow a clean weld for the packing rings. The packing rings are designed to stand the clamshells off the pipe by a set amount, meaning the new clamshells wouldn't foul on the old bellows underneath. Once these had been fitted, the site non-destructive testing engineers conducted magnetic particle examination of all the welds.

    The clamshells were fitted next; this was where careful positioning and time spent aligning the packing rings paid off as the clamshell pieces fitted almost perfectly with very little adjustment being required.

    Through careful planning and preparation together with an experienced service team we were able to hand back the pipe for reconnection Thursday morning, several hours before our given deadline.

    Experienced onsite team

    Our Group has an experienced onsite service team of skilled and certified welders that expertly assist our customers on installations, replacements, refurbishments and inspections worldwide, across all industries and they are accustomed to working with the prevailing general site health and safety procedures. The need for compliance with international, industry and customer-specific regulations is recognized and of course always adhered to.

    Data on the expansion joints

    Dimension: DN 1000 | Installation length: 600 mm | Medium: Coke oven gas | Design temperature: 100C | Design pressure: 0.68 barG | AX: +15/-35 mm | Bellow: 2.4858 | Welding ends: 1.0425 | Packing rings: 1.0425


    Cardwell Limited are Designers and manufacturers/providers of Metallic expansion joints, compensators, and bellows in stainless steel, and nickel alloys. The company was established in 1984 with the objective of providing good technical response supported by manufacturing capacity for bellows and expansion joints.


    Steve Cawley

    Cardwell Limited.

    Unit 2, Mackenzie Industrial Park, Bird Hall Lane, Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire, SK3 0SB

    Email: sc ( @ ) cardwell-limited dot co dot uk

    Phone: +44 (0) 161 491 5515
    Fax: +44 (0) 161 491 2354

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  • Steve Cawley
  • Cardwell Limited
  • Cardwell Limited., Buildbase Way, Bird Hall Lane, Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire, SK3 0SB, Unite
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