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Simulating subsea conditions with energy chains

Tech Talks by igus helping solve design engineering problems with motion plastics

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Learn more at Simulating subsea conditions with energy chains ® from igus ® Sailing into open water is not the only way to observe ocean depths of more than 20,000 feet. Hyperbaric testing simulates deep-water conditions, and effectively assesses subsea equipment with hydraulic and electrical components at depth. Master Flo Valve Inc. is home to one of the largest custom-built hyperbaric test systems in the U.S. The system simulates sea water pressures equivalent to 23,000 feet below sea level (10,000 PSI/690 bar) and temperatures below freezing. "There are not many systems like this in the world," said Frank Koeck, General Manager of Master Flo USA. "Master Flo has one of the biggest size and pressure rating combinations." The Master Flo system is most often used by the oil industry for subsea equipment that needs to be tested in conditions similar to those which it will be installed. Other industries have also expressed interest. "All major subsea operators have equipment that has been hyperbarically tested," said Koeck. "But there's also submarine equipment, buoy systems—many different businesses can use this." The test chamber can handle subsea equipment up to four tons, five feet wide and eight feet long. Test pieces are automatically guided into the chamber, and the chamber is closed and filled with a fluid to simulate sea water immersion. Environmental conditions in the chamber are regulated from inside a control room, and various hydraulic and electrical control options are available. Since the Master Flo chamber is such a confined and potentially dangerous space, personnel cannot go inside of the vessel for equipment preparation or setup. Thus, test pieces are connected with electrical cables and hyrdaulic hoses, and are then loaded into the bottom of the vessel with electrical cables. Simply dropping the connected cables and hoses into the chamber, however, can cause them to dangle or become damaged. A cable management system was required to prevent this from happening. Chamber of the Master Flo hyperbaric test system (Source: Ormond Energy Innovations Inc.)

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