The hot expansion process benefits from the efficiencies of the induction heating, and allows for seamless pipe to be made available at larger diameters.
This workstation is the hot forming process, and increases the pipe diameter by several inches and refines the wall thickness to the specification requirements. The pipe is heated by induction heating, which is considered a “environmentally-friendly process”, which consumes only electricity, and which does so very efficiently. The heating and expansion occurs through-thickness within minutes, and results in a microstructure and mechanical properties that are consistent with a furnace normalizing heat treatment.
Each pipe is tested as it comes off the expanders to ensure that the diameter and wall thickness are in conformance with the specification tolerances.
“Have you ever heard of the elusive pipe stretcher. We have joked about this for years – being able to change a pipe to a different size to fill an order! We now have the technology!”- Brian Duchscherer ( Vice President )
Pipes are assessed using a laser measurement system, and corrected with a 3-point hydraulic press. Pipes are also inspected for diameter, ovality & flare.
Straightening of the pipe after expansion is often necessary. API 5L tolerance of 0.2%L (or approx. 7/8 inch over 40 ft) is generally excessive, so Bri-Steel works to a straightness of ¼ inch per 40 ft whenever possible. This workstation also measures flare, diameter and ovality on each pipe.
“We have developed a straightening process in house that exceeds the API standards by 50%. This has been well received by industry, especially in applications such as cement lining which require strict tolerances on straightness. If clients want a tighter degree of straightness, it can be requested at the time of order. “- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
The crop saws provides a square cut that is perpendicular to the pipe axis.the Crop saws also take samples for lab testing.
Cropping of the pipes at this point is necessary as sampling for the destructive testing in the lab, and so that there can be a good seal at the hydrotester. Bri-Steel has three 1000mm drop saws for cropping and sampling.
“If you’ve every been to a small-diameter pipe factory, the flying cut-off saw is the most exciting part of the tour. Bri-Steel’s crops saws are pretty laid back by comparison, but they get ‘er done.”- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
the specifications are strictly followed to test tensile specimens, chemistry heat analysis, impact testing and hardness testing.
The samples taken at the crop saw are machined and tested according to the applicable specifications to determine conformance with the mechanical and chemical properties. Bri-Steel’s chemical lab is equipped with a Thermo OES spark spectrometer, polishing equipment, etching fumehood, inverted metallurgical microscope and digital image capture software. The mechanical testing lab is equipped with Rockwell and Vickers macrohardness testers, CVN (cooling bath, broach and impact tester), DWTT (cooling bath, notcher and impact tester) and a universal test frame (for tensile testing and flattening tests).
“We recently had a tour of industry professionals representing 150 years of experience in the pipe business. None had ever seen a Charpy test. We were happy to perform the CVN test demonstration (and a tensile test, and a drop weight test). At the end of the tour, they were giddy like kids in a candy store.”- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
After cropping, the pipes are passed through an outside-cleaning booth, where the surface mill scale (iron oxides) are removed by wire brushes and sanding belts. The resulting surface is ideal for ultrasonic testing.
“Sometimes, the appearance of a product is as important as its reliability. We clean the outside of our pipes so that we can present excellent workmanship to our clients. Not a very exciting piece of machinery, but with a very important job.”- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
Pipes are tested with eddy current and ultrasonics. The ET system identifies surface irregularities. the UT system measures 100% of the wall thickness & looks for flaws deep in the pipe.
Immediately after the outside-cleaning booth, the pipes pass through the semi-automated ultrasonic testing workstation. Bri-Steel’s ultrasonic tester was custom built in-house using an Olympus QuickScan probe driver. The system is capable of 100% coverage for wall thickness testing, clockwise and counterclockwise flaw detection (of longitudinal flaws), and upstream and downstream flaw detection (of transverse flaws). The data is interpreted by Olympus QuickView software and ASNT/SNT/CGSB trained technologists.
Visual inspection of the pipe occurs at the same time, and any observed visual imperfections are assessed. Disposition (by cropping or grinding) is performed, which is followed by manual ultrasonic testing of the assessed area.
“The guys at the NDT workstation are surrounded by their calibration pipes. We have a cal pipe for each pipe size that we make, and several calibration panels for alignment and setting up the equipment. Our UT system was designed and built in-house with the brains and fingertips of Olympus QuickScan – the best the world has to offer in conventional automated UT. The existing 30-probe unit is the 4th generation of UT systems, and we are always making improvements.”- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
High-Volume & high-pressure pumps pressure each pipe up to a required fraction of the burst pressure. The pressure is held while the pipe is inspected for leaks & deformation
Bri-Steel’s hydrotester is capable of up to 3100 psi of internal pressure. Every pipe is pressure tested in accordance with the specification requirements, which is approximately twice the pressure the pipe will ever see in operation. Digital records of the test are created with a state-of-the-art Crystal NVision pressure transducer.
“One of our clients recently said in a tour… “I’ve been all over the world and this is the first working hydrotester I’ve ever seen.”- Brian Duchscherer ( Vice President )
Bri-Steel is known for the top workmanship of the bevels. A chatter-free 35° bevel, with a consistent 1/16-inch root land, and no sharp edges makes for a happy welder on your site.
Beveling is performed by default on all pipes with thickness 0.500 inches and thinner. Above this thickness, beveling can be done according to the customer requirements. Bri-Steel’s bevellers are capable of almost any angle (though 30 to 38 degrees is typical), and can be programmed for compound bevels and pipe OD tapers. Beveled pipes will have a 1/16 inch land, and all sharp edges are deburred.
“A visitor who owns 5 pipe factories in Asia was on a tour of our mill. When he saw the quality of our bevels, he stated that these were the best bevels he had ever seen – even better than what his factories could make. “- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
Bri-Steel’s matte black coating has been developed and is manufactured in-house to be non-toxic, durable and colour-fast. Because the coating is mixed immediately prior to use, toxic known cancer-causing preservatives such as benzene and hexane are not required. Bri-Steel’s coating is considered safe, even when exposed to the heat of adjacent welding. Our MSDS is available upon request.
The colour of the coating is designed to provide superior contrast for the stencil information. The coating has been observed to endure beyond 3 years in aggressive environments, such as Houston, where the harsh heat and salty air are known to attack pipe coatings and stencils on pipe products.
“Bri-Steel’s President (Neil Rasmussen) was in Houston visiting a client site. There was some overstock product of Bri-Steel pipe in their yard that had been there for 3 years or more. It looked rusty, so he walked up to it. As he got closer, he found that it was just dusty, and after wiping off the dust, the pipe was still black with very easy to read stencils.”- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
Each pipe has a continuous line stencil with clean markings as required by the industry standards. the colour contrast with the pipe coating makes for Long-term traceability, and therefore less stock-aging losses.
Bri-Steel’s pipe markings are applied by a 32-dot DOD matrix print heat. Two lines of 2” tall characters are written continuously along the pipe, with info generally repeated four times over a pipe length. Bri-Steel’s production software assesses all of the data for the heat of pipe, and only allows the stenciling of the specifications and grades for which all requirements have been met. Our marking inks are also developed in-house to be non-toxic, durable and colourfast.
The marking station also performs a final visual inspection of the OD and ID of each pipe, and measures the residual magnetism.
“The markings are clean and easy to read, but that’s not the best part. Clients look forward to seeing a variety of Canadian images on our pipes from hockey sticks, inukshuks and igloos to maple leafs, moose and canoes. The image is changed every few months. Become a stockist today – try to collect them all!”- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
During production, controls are in place on standard procedures, training, calibrated equipment, internal audits and management reviews. The data from each pipe is reviewed prior to release for sale.
We have developed an in-house production software that is used to provide work instructions to the staff and allows for real-time data collection. The data entered at any workstation is immediately assessed with respect to the requirements of the product standards. The status of any pipe in the factory can be known at any time.
The digital information of each pipe length is assessed by the QA management. If the data meets the requirements of the applicable specifications, and if all non-conformances have been completely addressed, then the pipe is released digitally for shipment to the client. Mill Test Reports are generated after the pipes have been approved.
“We often use the word CREW at Bri-Steel. This was an acronym coined by one of the guys on the shop floor when he was asked to remember the Quality Policy. The last line of the Policy says that we aim for our product to be Consistent, Reliable and with Excellent Workmanship.”- Kenton Dechant ( Manager of Quality and R&D )
Bri-Steel’s logistics staff works with our clients to deliver shipments where you want them when you want them. Just in time delivery is an option. Bri-Steel logistics specialists can arrange for shipment by ocean vessel, train or truck to your destination around the planet.
“Our customers have said that eliminating the need for a marshalling yard has been a tremendous value-add to their competitiveness and project execution. Bri-Steel can tailor production scheduling for a just-in-time delivery.”- Brian Duchscherer ( Vice President )