As many offshore oil and gas platforms, particularly in the North Sea, are approaching 40+ years of production, there is a growing need for operators to repair and future-proof corroded equipment. Extending the life of existing assets can often be a favourable option for operators as opposed to decommissioning. Oilfield supply companies have seen an increase in the demand for field life extension equipment and services, resulting in them calling on manufacturing supply chain partners like Probe to deliver components which are capable of withstanding harsh environments for many years to come.
WHAT IS INCONEL CLADDING AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Inconel is a family of austenitic nickel-chromium-based superalloys. Inconel alloys are oxidation-corrosion-resistant materials well suited for service in extreme environments where equipment is at risk of corrosion or exposed to extreme heat. Its properties make it a popular choice when applying a protective inlay or cladding to exposed parts of oilfield components. When heated, Inconel forms a thick, stable, passivating oxide layer protecting the surface from future corrosion.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INCONEL CLADDING?
- Inconel cladding is ideal for components used offshore and subsea which are exposed to extreme environments as it prevents corrosion.
- Repairing and protecting components which are part of a wider system by means of corrosion resistant cladding can significantly extend the life of that piece of equipment and save the cost of having to buy a complete new system.
- Applying Inconel cladding, as opposed to producing a component in solid alloy, can reduce overall project costs.
- Product surfaces can be rough machined to oversize and then an Inconel weld inlay can be applied over sealing areas. The benefit of this is that the Inconel inlay can then be machined back to the specification dimensions to ensure that the product meets with the required manufacturing tolerances and as a result, the component will be both future-proofed and compliant.
- Depending on project specifications, re-machining an item following the application of cladding is not always necessary as it is possible to achieve a good surface finish.
- Refurbishing products using Inconel inlay prepares them for re-certification and the required testing, resulting in a product which will be fit to use for many more years.
HOW PROBE CAN REFURBISH AND FUTUREPROOF EXISTING EQUIPMENT
Supporting their machining capabilities, Probe have automated welding stations which provide a range of corrosion resistant cladding to their products. Applying cladding to components during refurbishment, as opposed to producing them in solid alloy, is a popular cost-saving choice for Probe’s clients, which allows them to maximise the life of their assets. Probe’s computer-controlled furnace ensures that post weld heat treatment of their products is compliant to third-party approved weld procedures.