How Mechanical Fasteners Save Money on Pipe Sections
Steel pipes can be connected using several methods, such as welding, threading and making use of mechanical fasteners. Each of those applications may be suitable for a wide variety of applications. It may therefore be hard for an inexperienced facilities manager to select the best way to connect pipe sections. This article discusses some of the ways mechanical fasteners can reduce project costs.
Less Skilled Labour Is Required
Some joining techniques, such as welding, may require highly skilled technicians to execute the joining operation. For example, you may need to hire a welder who has a special licence that allows him or her to weld steel pipes that carry flammable substances. Such a technician may charge a higher hourly rate than another welder who doesn't have that special licence. Using mechanical fasteners eliminates the need for such highly skilled technicians. The licence isn't needed because the process of connecting the pipe sections doesn't generate any sparks or flames that can start a fire in an environment with combustible materials. Thus, hourly labour rates will be reduced due to the lower skillset necessary to perform the work.
Less Sophisticated Equipment Is Needed
Using mechanical fasteners to join steel pipe sections is also cost-effective because it doesn't need sophisticated testing equipment to ascertain the soundness of the connection. The connection is deemed to have been sealed once the two flanges on the different pipe sections have been joined together. Other methods, such as welding, often call for the use of X-ray machines to inspect the weld seam in order to confirm that the seam is sound. Such equipment can increase the cost of the installation because energy is used to operate the equipment. Operators also have to be paid to use that sophisticated equipment. Mechanical fasteners save you from incurring those extra costs.
Fewer Workers Are Needed
Threading and welding require extra workers to be deployed during the process of joining steel pipe sections in hazardous environments. For example, someone has to keep watch in case a fire breaks out during the installation process. These extra workers increase the labour cost of the project. The use of flange connections eliminates the need for extra workers because the process doesn't create any hazards in environments where fire is likely to break out.
Note that each joining method has its own drawbacks. For instance, the mechanical fasteners (flanges, for example) have to be inspected at least annually in order to tighten those that are loosening. It is therefore prudent for you to talk to a steel pipe expert so that he or she can advise you about the suitability of mechanical fasteners for your project.