Double Automag AM6 magnetic filter from Eclipse Magnetics.
Double Automag AM6 magnetic filter from Eclipse Magnetics.

The Double Automag AM6 magnetic filter has significantly improved Vallourec’s production of steel pipes, reducing their maintenance time and saving them money in the process.

Stopping and starting

Due to the tight tolerances required by the off shore industry, it is imperative that the quality of the pipes is 100%. However, Vallourec were experiencing problems with their quality testing procedure when water contamination affected their ultrasound readings. 

Contamination was causing slow cycle times due to re-scanning, and causing a build up around the axles on the heads which rotate the pipe line, making them to seize up. The process previously required the use of a sand filter, two bag filters and hydrocyclones, which needed cleaning and changing twice in every shift. Changing this equipment when it became clogged with contamination caused the pressure to drop constantly, resulting in the line coming to a stop so that maintenance could be carried out. To put this into perspective, downtime costs the plant £60 per second.

Vallourec were, therefore, faced with the challenge of retaining sufficient water quality for the process by recycling the water. They opted for a fresh mains water supply, which resulted in the use of approximately 1000 cubic metres of water, at a cost of over £1000 per week. However, the continuous stopping and starting of the process for maintenance due to contamination caused air bubbles, which were also a problem.

Cutting costs

The magnetic filter supplied by Eclipse successfully removes contamination in the water. This has eliminated the possibility of a good product being rejected and allowed them to use recycled water, saving a significant amount of maintenance time and money. 

Vallourec’s Principle Engineer Kenneth McRae commented “We are delighted with the Automag installation; it’s solved all the problems we were having previously with downtime and maintenance costs. The filter means that we are able to use recycled water, which is saving us £1000 per week!”

Based in Glasgow, Vallourec designs, develops, and manufactures a comprehensive range of products for the offshore oil and gas industry, including steel pipes to be used as drill collars. The plant processes 3500 units of carbon steel pipe per week, which include pipes of anything from 4” to 16” in width, and up to 14.7 metres long.

The Double Automag AM6 magnetic filter from Eclipse Magnetics is a fully automated unit ideal for 24/7 machining operations such as this. With high contamination collection capacity and an ability to handle high flow rates, Automag is widely used on high volume production lines, and its double feature means that there is always a failsafe back up.