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Hot tapping is the process by which specialised tools are used to cut into an existing pipeline, while it is still in operation. It may contain liquid or gas and will still be under pressure, so it comes with many potential hazards. Essentially, hot tapping is used to reduce downtime, fix costly and damaging leakages, and save the firm money by enabling maintenance and repair while the pipeline is still operational.
Without hot tapping, companies would otherwise be forced to shut down production at the source to work on the pipes. Pressure build-up in pipes takes a long time, so it is not a viable option to drain them. You can imagine the disruption this could cause, not to mention the amount of time and money it would cost to undertake such an operation.
Plus, you would then have the extra cost of bringing the whole system back online. All of which are reasons why hot tapping is becoming more common across the globe.
Hot tapping equipment is used in a variety of different situations, whether it’s fixing existing problems such as leaks or adding a branch line, when shutting down is not an option. It is also used when you need to service the main shut off line, by creating two hot taps around the area in question.
Of course, it is complex, specialised, and very dangerous work which requires specialist knowledge, training, and tools to achieve the hot tap. Companies that specialise in portable machine tools are increasingly specialising in hot tapping equipment, providing their services to companies who might otherwise have to shut down the plant. In that sense, it makes financial sense to opt for hot tapping.
Hot tapping experts can handle piping made from a variety of materials, including steel, cast iron, copper, brass, and plastics. A hole is cut and hot tap valve located. This then fills before the valve is switched off. It sounds simple, but it requires specialist skills to undertake it safely and effectively.
There are many benefits to hot tapping. The most obvious is removing the need to shut off the system. Without major disruption to working procedures, other than when undertaking the hot tap itself, the process can save vast amounts of time and money.
It’s pioneering technology like this that is improving efficiency and reducing the impact of minor and major repairs.
Author Bio: Alan Dillon is a business advisor from the Southeast. With over 8 years experience advising engineering businesses on how to streamline their costs, he now contributes regularly to blogs by commenting on the role of processes such as hot tapping and how they can save businesses the valuable commodities of time and money.