It’s like brushing your teeth. Pipeline integrity management (PIM) is one of those things that no operator wakes up in the morning excited to do. But, it’s better than the alternative. So, with little thought and unwavering consistency, you do it every day, in hopes of a healthy future.
With similar commitment, many operators faithfully execute their requisite pigging runs, often several times a day, to optimize the health and wellness of their assets. Whether dewatering, cleaning, batching, or for inline integrity inspection, a dedicated launcher/receiver is the typical point of entry responsible for sending the various pigs on their way. In order for the launcher/receiver to pressurize and function correctly, successfully propelling a tool down the line, it must be fitted with a closure. This is a relatively simple component known to every operator and pipeliner. A closure is just one of those pieces of equipment, dealt with on a regular basis, to help facilitate the maintenance and integrity management of their lines.
The closure, albeit simple and humble, is an essential component, one that must operate quickly and easily, while performing consistently and safely. The industry has come a long way over the past 40 or so years, greatly increasing these non-negotiable qualities. Go to any warehouse supplier or specialty manufacturer, or just spend 10 minutes on Google searching for Quick Closures, and you will find an abundance of “advanced” offerings, all boasting single operator usage in only a matter of seconds, warning locks to avoid operator exposure to pressurized contents, a variety of off-the-shelf standard sizes, positive pressure elastomeric sealing elements, and design to custom specifications and ratings.
Compared side by side by side, it not only becomes difficult to differentiate between closures, it’s nearly impossible. So how does an operator make a choice? Some decide based on who is offering the lowest price at the time. Some choose the closure they see most often in the field. Some are sold on the biggest promises and slickest sales pitch. And then there are those operators looking to avoid, altogether, the time-consuming minutiae of sourcing simple products such as closures.
Demand for Comprehensive Services
T.D. Williamson (TDW) has been manufacturing closures for the better part of a century. In that time, it chose to build an engineering and manufacturing culture of excellence, tasked with producing consistently reliable products that perform up to, and beyond, the expectations of the market. The D-2000 quick closure system is one such offering.
Unsurprisingly, the D-2000 system offers everything the industry has come to expect in a standard closure — safety, ease of use, and reliability. What unique value proposition does the D-2000 posit? The answer to this question isn’t found in the product features or function, but within a wider market trend.
The D-2000 quick closure system is a PIM staple, but it’s just one small component. One component that serves the multiple launchers and receivers manufactured by TDW, which catch and send the pigs designed by TDW, including integrity inspection platforms equipped with some of the most advanced technologies, such as patented SpirALL® MFL and SpirALL® EMAT, which are later complimented by non-destructive evaluation (NDE) performed by highly trained TDW technicians, which is then acted on utilizing the hot tapping and plugging systems pioneered and operated by TDW. Now put subsea or globally in front of most any of these and TDW provides or performs it there as well.
The operator’s core desire is to safely maximize the uptime and profitability of assets. To accomplish this, the market is in need of single-source solution providers, allowing operators to greatly reduce the total number of suppliers and vendors touching their lines. Arguments like a closure open time of 50 seconds versus 60 seconds, or a safety pressure valve located on the top versus the side, are moot. Many operators are looking for a holistic approach to maintain the throughput, integrity, safety and service life of their assets, achieved through an integrated suite of specialized products and expert services. They aren’t looking for closures at all, but rather for partners with comprehensive solutions that keep their product flowing.
Steve Appleton is regional general manager for TDW, responsible for the United States, Canada and Caribbean Basin.