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Find the correct drivetrain for your oil and gas application

For extreme environments such as the oil and gas industry, having products that are reliable and can withstand the harsh conditions associated with this industry is vital. In this article, Fredrik Lindner, Global Market Director at Altra Industrial Motion takes us through how you can ensure your power transmission products can perform to the highest standard.

Solutions for the oil and gas industry

Twiflex, Wichita, Stieber, Svendborg Brakes and Stromag, all members of Altra Industrial Motion Corporation, provide technically advanced solutions that can satisfy the complex and challenging needs of offshore E&P. Each brand has decades of experience in engineering and manufacturing specific product categories for harsh environments and applications – giving Altra a unique ability to integrate solutions for complete powertrain systems.

Resistance to corrosion

One of the issues that continues to plague offshore oil and gas platforms worldwide is corrosion. This is promoted by the hostile marine environment, which causes a gradual degradation of the equipment. This results in the early failure of the structures and costly, unscheduled downtime. Products that carry out day-to-day functions need to provide extraordinary performance, durability and reliability.

In particular, the breakdown of power transmission components such as clutches, brakes and motors can compromise a number of key offshore applications, e.g. drawworks, winches and cranes.

To prevent or minimise damages from corrosion and extend the service life of the machinery used on offshore E&P platforms, it is important to choose power transmission solutions with optimal performance, durability and reliability that adhere to the highest standard.

How to use preventative maintenance to preserve power transmission components

Further to offering a greater level of support during design and installation, power transmission manufacturers that specialise in E&P platform applications are able to provide indications on how to use preventative maintenance to preserve power transmission components and avoid corrosion issues and premature failures. When a rig has been stacked, for example, brakes, clutches and other moving parts remain inactive for long periods of time, corrosion may take its toll on the equipment leading to failure when brought back into service. By routinely cycling brakes during periods of inactivity, corrosion damages can be reduced or prevented.

Specifying the most appropriate component designs for a power transmission application can go a long way to reducing maintenance activities and replacement costs; however, these will never be completely eliminated. When it is necessary to conduct responsive maintenance, the choice of field service providers is crucial. Responsiveness, expertise, time and cost-efficiency are key parameters.

Innovations for economic operation

There are many power transmission components that have been designed specifically for operation on E&P platforms. While these will undoubtedly serve the market well, there may be times when a more cost-effective product would work. The exact location where the component will be installed will impact its exposure to corrosive environments. For example, a winch located on the lower deck with no protection from the elements will be at greater risk than a coupling located within an IP68 housing installed on a drawworks.

Where specialist equipment is deemed to be necessary, there are a number of innovations that allow the end-user to benefit from not only extended operational life, but also improved economic operation.

For example, when an offshore platform customer asked for a solution to cool tensioning brakes with seawater, Wichita Clutch engineers developed a cutting-edge product inspired by aerospace technologies. The resulting AquaMakks seawater-cooled brake and clutch products offer a number of benefits. Using flowing seawater instead of re-circulated fresh water as a cooling medium is economical. Also, the innovative solution is more efficient in cooling the equipment, extending the service life of brakes and clutches.

Of course, by introducing seawater into the internal operations of the component there is a greater risk of corrosion, which could cause early failures of the brakes. Wichita Clutch engineers countermeasure this by adding a sacrificial anode that would corrode in place of the internal parts of the brake. In this way, the operational life of the equipment is maximised while maintenance costs are reduced.

Contact Altra Industrial Motion

The demanding conditions of oil and gas applications require certified, high-quality, durable power transmission products. In order to achieve that, it is necessary to choose an experienced drivetrain specialist that is able to assess the specific challenges and, if necessary, modify and customise existing solutions. For further information about drivetrain solutions, contact Altra Industrial Motion today.

Company Profile

Altra Industrial Motion

Altra is a leading global designer and manufacturer of quality power transmission and motion control products utilised on a wide variety of industrial drivetrain applications.

Altra clutches and brakes, couplings, gearing and PT component product lines are marketed under 23 well known manufacturing brands that have each been in existence for over 50 years. Each of these businesses is committed to the guiding principles of operational excellence, continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. Highly-engineered Altra solutions are sold in over 70 countries and utilised in a variety of major industrial markets, including food processing, material handling, packaging machinery, mining, energy, automotive, primary metals, turf and garden and many others.

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