Trelleborg, has launched its latest innovation, Flexspacer.
This unique product has been specifically developed to effectively create an air gap between topside pipelines and thermal insulation, thereby avoiding the corrosion that can occur when using traditional insulation systems such as mineral wool. By stopping direct contact between the insulation material and the pipe, Flexspacer prevents any damage to the corrosion protection on the pipe, helping to guarantee thermal performance.
Historically engineers have made air gaps between the pipe and thermal insulation using an additional sheet of metal applied in a wave pattern. However, this method can cause undesirable side effects including corrosion of the metal sheet and injury to engineers during work due to its sharp edges. Compared to these traditional methods, Flexspacer provides quick and easy installation, without the need for hot work or special tools, in turn reducing downtime and improving safety.
Oivind Eriksen, Rubber Components Director at Trelleborg Offshore, commented: “When it comes to the insulation of topside pipes, air gaps must be introduced between the insulation and pipe if engineers are to avoid damage and a significant reduction in thermal performance. We wanted to provide a high performance product, which not only provided a reliable solution, helping to guarantee thermal performance, but one that eliminated the undesirable effects that comes with traditional methods of creating an air gap.
“Flexspacer is a new rubber-based solution which provides a one to two centimeter air gap between the pipe and insulation, ensuring that no corrosion occurs. It can be easily installed without using hot work or special tools, and can be connected and split to the desired length using just a pair of scissors, making the installation quick and easy and without any additional safety actions.
“With the offshore industry heading towards even more challenging offshore applications, the need for high performance, durable and reliable products, has never been greater. We are confident that our latest innovation, which is unique to the market, will provide a reliable and extremely durable solution to a common problem within the offshore topside insulation market.
Furthermore, its rubber construction means that it will last the life of an offshore project, as well as being maintenance free, providing reassurance to the offshore engineer.”
Trelleborg has undertaken extensive testing on Flexspacer to ensure that the product is qualified for lifetime performance; it has been qualified for use up to +302 °F / +150°C continuous service temperature, for more than 30 years. Leading oil and gas production company, Statoil, has already made Flexspacer a preferred product in their future specifications.