In industrial applications, the operation of control and stop valves is often a challenge because of dangerous areas or difficult places of installation – Flexible Reach Rods are the solution.
The Hamburg-based company Armaturen-Wolff Friedrich H. Wolff GmbH & Co. KG, specializing in valves and system technology for the maritime and processing industry, manufactures Flexible Reach Rods under their brand tramistec for the manual remote operation of valves, mostly in accordance with specific customer requirements. The specific requirements are as diverse as the fields of application, so that practically no Flexible Reach Rod is the very same. Technicians work with their minds focused on the specific solution.
In maritime application areas such as offshore units, on oil and gas platforms or in shipping, the remote control of valves by means of Flexible Reach Rods facilitates operation substantially where automation and auxiliary energy does not make sense or is not suitable for different reasons. Decks and bulkheads can be passed through and it is possible to reach far into places difficult to access. This includes compartments permanently or temporarily flooded. Thanks to its design, the products are suitable for physical impact (friction / motion) as well as contact with abrasive and corrosive media without being impaired in service.
The encasement is a corrosion and wear-resistant rubber with a flexible metallic hose protecting the heart, a torsionally stiff steel wire. The special winding of this core enables a transmission of forces between the point of operation and the valve over long distances and without loss. According to the specific requirement, the configuration may vary in respect of the length and the protective cover - to guarantee the most durable and efficient solution. Watertight sleeves of different designs secure passages and penetrations. The operator is free to combine various components like hand wheels and cranks handles among others. An example from a Navy application illustrates the potential of what kind of conditions may be covered by the Flexible Reach Rod: Products from the tramistec line are successfully installed at the outer hull of a South Korean submarine. The operation of a ball valve works in a reliable manner even at diving depths of up to 250 meters and corresponding pressure (25 bars). Neither does the corrosive seawater have a negative effect on its operational dependability. Customers include companies like Abeking&Rasmussen Schiffs- und Yachtwerft SE, MEYER WERFT GmbH & Co. KG and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems GmbH. The Flexible Reach Rod is frequently used in marine vessels, where the system may be installed for the purpose of an emergency hand operation. Likewise, Flexible Reach Rods for various valves can be combined and run together in a single location like the pump control room, from where they are conveniently operated.
Torque Transmission of up to 110 Nm
In the case of the submarine, the required torque transmission is 110 Nm, due to the high water pressure and the specific design of the ball valve. For such applications, or in case of valves with a high nominal diameter requiring high break-away torques there are High-Performance Reach Rods available. Here, welded steel links loosely toothed one into the other and guided by a flexible steel wire duct, transmit the torque. For this version it is just as well possible to adapt the outer protection to customer requirements, for instance in the form of pressure-tight design or resistance against aggressive media.
The special features of the Flexible Reach Rods include maintenance free as well as a remarkable robustness and uncomplicated installation. They are possible to refit at any time and can be easily integrated into the existing layout. All these are substantial advantages to rigid transmission bars with joints and gears.
Later system integration possible
Since the conditions and requirements in process industry are actually largely identical to the maritime sector, tramistec products are equally to be found in chemical and petrochemical industry as well as in construction of tanks. Special alloys make it possible to realize solutions to withstand extremely high or low temperatures, or as entirely amagnetic installations. An important aspect is the operational safety of a process plant, as the danger of casualties is significantly reduced by the use of the Flexible Reach Rod, as critical areas may not be required to access physically. This is the essential purpose of using the Flexible Reach Rod in a gas decomposition plant, for instance, where it is an integral part of the safety concept: In case of an emergency, possibly in conjunction with fire, the availability of auxiliary energy may be affected, so that it may not be possible anymore to secure the system automatically. Here the Flexible Reach Rod is the perfect solution to manually close the endangered pipelines remotely from a safe position.