The oil and gas industry is one of the crucial and most important sectors globally, providing energy for all the other industries. Waterjet cutting has innovated the way in which the oil and gas industry operates, opening new possibilities and improving the performance characteristics of conventional operations. This article will explore the applications of water jet cutting for oil and gas industry, along with the benefits of the same.
Overview of Waterjet Cutting Technology
A waterjet cutter pierces through the material with the sheer force of extremely high water pressure generated by a waterjet intensifier pump. To cut hard materials like those in the oil and gas industry, abrasive particles are added to the waterjet system. The process then becomes abrasive waterjet cutting. The waterjet cutting process, both pure and abrasive, is used in a lot of other industries such as medicine, agriculture, defense, aerospace, architecture, fabrication, etc.
How Does the Oil and Gas Industry Use Waterjet Cutting?
The oil and gas industry uses equipment that needs to operate in the most hostile conditions out there, such as out in the ocean or a hundred feet underground. These materials are of the highest standards and conventional fabrication methods are usually unfeasible. However, a waterjet cutter can cut and process any type of material with ease.
What Types of Materials Can Be Cut With a Waterjet?
Abrasive waterjet cutting can cut through a variety of materials for the oil and gas industry. Some of these materials are:
- Inconel: Inconel is an alloy of nickel, chromium, and aluminum. It has very high corrosion resistance and works well in any type of condition. For instance, the separation of various fluids in the production system of natural gas is done by using Inconel equipment. Due to its high strength, other cutting methods do not work well on it. However, waterjet cutting can cut Inconel up to 12-18 inches in thickness.
- Hastelloy: Hastelloy is another nickel-based alloy that has a high resistance to chemicals. It is used to make components of the gas path, such as turbine combustors, pressure vessels, liners, chemical reactors, and pipes. Waterjet can cut Hastelloy in any shape for these versatile applications.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless Steel is an alloy with good machinability, weldability, corrosion resistance, and high strength. These qualities make it useful for making pipes, vessels, separators, heat exchangers, storage tanks, and many other parts for equipment like pumps. Waterjet stream cutting has great workability with steels like SS, providing a smooth edge and cutting thicknesses of 12 inches and even more.
- Copper: Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Due to these properties, it finds extensive use in the oil and gas industry. Copper is usually employed for intricate parts like seals, stems, valves, and wellheads. These intricate parts are made using 5-axis waterjets.
- Titanium: Titanium has a high physical strength and good corrosion resistance, due to which it can withstand the pressure and adverse elements of underwater or deep drilling. Titanium parts in the oil and gas industry include fixtures, fittings, pump components, valves, heat exchangers, and data logging equipment. All of these components are made using abrasive cutting.
What are the Applications of Water Jet Cutting Services in the Oil and Gas Industry?
Waterjet technology finds application in the oil and gas sector in every stage of the process. Some of these applications are:
Research and Development
The oil and gas industry is always focussing on optimizing current parts and tools to support deeper drilling processes. The new parts are often of innovative materials with extremely tough physical characteristics. Waterjet stream cutting helps in the prototyping stage by precisely cutting these parts to the required dimensions and shape.
Mass Production of Parts
Waterjet cutters are used in the manufacturing of many parts used in oil and gas setups. Some of these parts include valves, flanges, gates, and fixtures.
Oil and gas components often accumulate unwanted additional material during casting and forging processes. This material is known as flash, and it is difficult to cut with conventional processes especially when it is in the interior of the parts. With waterjet cutting, flash can be removed from the interior as well as the exterior of parts with ease.
Waterjet cutting can be used to cut subsea tubular structures such as piles, jacket legs, well casings, and well heads. Conventional cutting equipment doesn’t work well in such use cases.
Benefits of Waterjet Cutting in Oil and Gas Industry
There are many advantages of using conventional waterjet techniques in the oil and gas industry. These advantages are:
- Internal Cutting: Waterjet cutting can cut the insides of pipes and other parts, removing flash and sludge. There are not many other cutting processes that can accomplish this.
- No Heat-Affected Zones: Alternative cutting processes heat the edges of the material while cutting, leading to the formation of heat-affected zones. Heat-affected zones alter the physical and chemical properties of the material. However, since waterjet is a cold-cutting process, there are no heat-affected zones to worry about.
- Versatility: Waterjets are not limited to metals and can work on a wide range of materials, including alloys, glass, wood, plastics, ceramics, and many others. This feature gives waterjet the ability to solve multiple uses across the oil and gas supply chain.
- Safety: Due to the nature of the oil and gas industry, alternative cutting processes come with the risk of fire hazards and explosions. Due to waterjet being a cold-cutting process, there are no such risks.
- Environment Friendly: Waterjet cutting has a minimal kerf width, leading to reduced wastage of material. Additionally, all the removed material can be collected and sold as scrap. The water itself is recycled back into the system.
- Precision: Oil and gas parts need to be highly reliable since a breakdown can lead to a disruption of the entire supply. Waterjet fulfills this criterion quite well by offering tolerance as low +/- 0.001″. The parts require no secondary finishing to make them fit.
- Cost Effective: By offering high cutting speed and precision, waterjet turns out to be a more cost-effective option as compared to its alternative. Additionally, a single machine can support multiple cutting heads and can cut multiple sheets of material simultaneously, increasing production rate exponentially.
Where to Find a CNC Waterjet Cutting Machine?
Techni Waterjet is the leading supplier of waterjet cutters for the oil and gas industry. It provides high-quality waterjet cutting machines, rugged enough to handle the tough requirements of the job. Being a reputed brand, Techni Waterjet provides all the parts and spares that users require.
Waterjet cutting has improved the way in which the oil and gas industry functions, adding high-quality and precise parts at a lower manufacturing cost. High-quality machines, like those provided by Techni Waterjet, ensure smooth operation and the capability to eliminate any bottlenecks in the manufacturing lineup. If you are wondering about using waterjet technology for your industry, definitely give it a go.