There are no shortcuts in the pipeline industry being that equipment inspection requires meticulous and ongoing supervision. Equipment safety is one of the most important factors when successfully pressure testing a pipeline system. Hoses, piping, and other connected equipment that carry oil from one place to another can weaken over time from lack of maintenance or average devaluation due to use. If a system goes too long without being tested, weak spots can rupture and cause a spill.
The Dangers of Pressure Testing
Pressure testing is dangerous work. Flying pieces of valve and pipe components, as well as leaking fluids and gases, can cause injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, contusions, internal trauma, electrocution, and even asphyxiation during a pressure test gone wrong. Pressure testing piping systems safely can be challenging, but can be performed with minimal risk when a knowledgeable crew is hired for the task. Although hydrostatic testing involves less risk to workers than other pressure testing methods, having a crew that has substantial experience with equipment and potential hazards is imperative to performing a safe and successful pressure test. Correctly operating hydrotest equipment is critical because one wrong application can result in fatalities. When performing a hydrostatic test, it is important to have a checklist of the equipment that is needed to accurately measure performance because pressure build-ups can cause explosions. Over pressurizing the system, improper pressure testing equipment, failure to properly isolate equipment from the piping system being tested, and failure to isolate the parts being tested from other parts of the system are just a few of the common mistakes made that can result in a pressure testing failure.
The Process and Design of Pressure Testing
The testing pressure must be established in order to avoid over pressurizing the system. The design pressure for valves, gauges, fittings, and any other components need to be considered when using formulas to determine the test pressure. Every valve on the equipment must be rated more than the pressure on the line. For instance, applying a pump capable of 10,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) to a pipeline capable of only holding 5,000 PSI is an improper application. Water, metal, and atmospheric temperature are also critical elements to consider when hydro testing. It is even possible for temperatures to fluctuate during the test which can result in the pressure rising or dropping.
Why Pressure Testing is Important
In conclusion, pressure tests are essential to the continued safe operation of any vessel under pressure. At the same time, the tests themselves must be conducted attentively in order to keep everyone involved safe. Checklists are necessary to utilize before, during, and after the pressure testing process because any mistake can result in serious injury or even death. Combining a certified crew that is experienced in both pressure testing and the equipment involved with a vessel in acceptable working condition can result in a safe and fully functional vessel for many years.
Hydrotest Pros specializes in hydrotest services as well as pressure testing equipment safety, drying, pigging, de-watering, chemical cleaning, and commissioning. Our experienced operators have been trained to diagnose any issue and resolve it quickly, saving you time and money! We serve industrial companies across a range of industries, such as chemical production and oil & gas businesses, with a process that’s complete, proven and designed to save you time and money. Give us a call at any time and let us help you conduct a safe and professional hydrostatic pressure test!