Specialist Seals for Critical Offshore Project

One of Apex Hydraulic’s valued clients is a multinational company within the offshore industry. They use innovative techniques and the most advanced of technologies to build and decommission subsea oil and gas wells.
As with all offshore work, safety is paramount, with intervention being a key aspect of their work; ensuring that tools are in place to respond to any issue that may arise.

The client commissioned Apex Hydraulics for a set of hydraulic cylinders that were to be part of an important well intervention tool. Critical for site safety, this tool was to utilise the most sophisticated technology, with numerous fail-safes; over engineered to advanced specifications. While it was hoped that the tool would never be used, it had to be in perfect condition; a fail-safe that would work without fault if required. It was to stay on the vessel unless needed.

They gave Apex Hydraulics the parameters that they required; the available space and the push and pull forces. Apex engineers designed the cylinder within the client’s specifications.

The client had requested that the rod should be made of Inconel. Inconel is commonly used in the offshore industry for parts like valves or manifold blocks, as it has non corrosive properties. However, it is unusual to make an entire cylinder rod from the material. In addition, the cylinder rod and bore were chromed.

The hydraulic fluid was to be a specialist, environmentally friendly subsea fluid, chosen so that in the unlikely case of subsea leakage the fluid would not cause damage to the surrounding marine life. However, counterintuitively, this fluid can actually damage typical hydraulic seals. The specialist fluid is so thin that seals can absorb it, causing swelling and then additional friction, resulting in eventual seal failure. Therefore specialist seals were selected to withstand the aggressive fluid.
Once complete, the cylinders were painted to Norsok offshore specifications, ready for being fitted to the subsea tool.

The result is a precisely engineered cylinder, ready to fit into a highly specialised offshore tool and designed to stay corrosion free and in perfect working order, regardless of the difficult offshore environment.

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