Importance of Bolting Systems

Importance of Bolting Systems

So many components make up a successful oil rig or onshore well structure. It’s hard to place value on which piece of equipment is the most crucial. However, a betting man may say that the bolting system would be the most important mechanism and because of that, it is absolutely necessary to have the most reliable equipment possible to ensure those bolts are adequately secure. Bolt failure could result in oil, drilling fluids or natural gas leaking into the environment. In addition to the environment being affected, personnel could also suffer, as torque wrench accidents and even fatalities are possible when dealing with bolts and machinery of that magnitude.

HYTORC is the world’s largest and oldest manufacturer of industrial bolting systems. This year, they were one of the recipients of OTC’s “Spotlight on New Technology™” award. The award was given for their LITHIUM SERIES®II Tool, a ground-breaking innovation with TorcSense™ Technology, an all-new method of direct torque measurement and closed loop control to provide more repeatable bolting performance. The tool has a new brushless 36V motor coupled with a more robust gearbox optimized to deliver increased strength and control in heavy industry operations. It has up to 5000 ft-lbs capacity and is compatible with conventional sockets, the HYTORC washer and the HYTORC Nut.

“HYTORC has a deep history of providing innovative bolting solutions that provide our clients with greater safety, convenience and productivity,” HYTORC President Eric P. Junkers said. “With the launch of the LITHIUM SERIES II Tool, HYTORC continues to set the standard with technology and innovation that provides customers with the most accurate, efficient and safest bolting solutions available.”

The torque tool has new features, like the sliding directional switch, snug function, user access levels and advanced bolting. The nickel plating improves corrosion resistance and overall durability. The gearboxes are redesigned for 20 percent greater strength and reliability. The user interface and menu structure is remodeled for ease of use, while presented on a high resolution display. It is standard with Bluetooth wireless technology and makes data acquisition and firmware upgrades easier than ever. It enhances the overall safety and productivity of bolting.

“These advancements will keep HYTORC ahead of the competition in the portable industrial torque tool space.” said Product Project Manager Kunal Rana, who is managing the product launch. “We are excited to get the tool into the hands of our customers so they can experience this revolutionary new product.”

The sheer volume of hand and finger injuries is shocking. The IADC (Industrial Association of Drilling Contractors) reports that 43 percent of all oil and gas injuries occur to workers’ hands and fingers. Post-injury investigations may impact work productivity or even shut down a factory or refinery for weeks, even months. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average hand injury claim has now exceeded $6,000, with each lost-time workers’ compensation claim reaching nearly $7,500. In addition, a factory or refinery shut down that is the result of a hand injury investigation, could cost up to one million dollars.

HYTORC is also extremely involved and aware of the importance of hand safety. They recognize that it’s a major concern in industrial bolting operations, especially when using outdated tools and methods that create hazardous pinch points. Because of this, they’ve developed the HYTORC Washer, which is the only bolting system that reduces the risks of hand injury by completely eliminating pinch points. This is a game changer when it comes to safety, as the hands are the most at risk for injury and suffer the most abuse.

The HYTORC Reaction Washer features a smooth side to reduce the friction of the turning nut, a knurled side to keep the Washer from rotating, and outer lobes to brace reaction forces, thus eliminating the need for reactions and completely eliminating dangerous pinch points.

The HYTORC Backup Washer features knurls on both sides to keep the backup-nut from rotating, thus eliminating the need for a backup wrench and completely eliminating dangerous pinch-points on the opposite side of the flange.

From a safety standpoint and an efficiency standpoint, industrial bolting methods are of the utmost importance. It’s crucial that companies recognize the new technologies available that make bolting faster, safer and more accurate. As a result, in the long run, will reduce expensive errors and prevent accidents. There are training sessions available which will make the user more educated and comfortable with the tools at hand. The tools are out there to improve performance, in less time, with less accidents. Bolts of that caliber hold extremely important assets in place and need to be installed and treated with the utmost precaution. 

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Sarah Skinner is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in English. She has been a technical writer and editor in the oil and gas industry for over ten years in Houston and in Louisiana. She currently works as a technical writer for a pre-cast concrete construction company in Louisiana that builds blast-proof buildings for petrochemical plants. 

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