The Australian Pipeliner recently spoke with two companies involved in large diameter pipeline transportation about what the biggest areas for improvement are in the industry and the latest innovations that are facilitating safe and efficient transportation.

NationWide Hire

NationWide Hire supplies equipment for large diameter pipe to be hauled, and has worked on several major projects that have recently been constructed in Australia.

When asked to supply the pipe trailers and prime movers for the QSN3 project, special safety requirements for the trailers had to be met. NationWide worked together with pipeline construction contractor Nacap’s Plant Department and engineers and came up with a specially-designed head board to be fitted to all of Nationwide’s trailers.

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This head board was designed to stop forward movement if the pipe was to shift, preventing it from coming through the cab of the prime mover. All NationWide trailers are now fitted with these heavy duty headboards, and the company has no hesitation in working with future clients to make sure these requirements are met.

All of NationWide’s prime movers and trailers are a part of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme.

A safe skid truck

According to NationWide, over the past several years skid trucks have become an integral part of the logistics of pipe movement and particular attention needs to be focused in this area.

Nationwide Hire is currently further developing its skid truck design so that each project is tailored to what the project client desires as well as improved efficiency and safety.

The design first started off with a centre grab rail, something to hook a harness to. Following on from this development, NationWide has developed a truck, the International 7400 which has the following features: automatic transmission for ease in regular stopping and starting; has walk up front stairs for regular safe access to the back of the tray; has light but heavy duty drop sides to restrain the skids from falling or bouncing off the deck; there is also capability for turning the deck into a side tipper for tipping the skids off.

On-site service and support

NationWide prides itself on onsite maintenance, and when there is a fleet of trucks running around in some off the harshest conditions in the world, you need onsite support no matter whether the truck is brand new or three years old. Trucks do still break, and if somebody is not there to act quickly it can turn in to a major drama and trucks parked up for days.

One of the keys to simplifying onsite maintenance is a strategy NationWide Hire adopted a long time ago is using the same brand and model. When asked to do the supply, the pipe haulage trucks and trailers for QSN3 project were sourced all of the same model truck with the same motor and same running gear that supports premise of consistency and greater spare part support and service.

NationWide Hire has a one-stop-shop when it comes to onsite workshops, offering a variety of services, such as auto electricians that also specialise in air-conditioning, onsite windscreen fitting, tyre fitting and balancing, and of course qualified mechanics and servicemen running the line every day.

In 2012, NationWide is introducing a spare parts and administration co-ordinator on some of its bigger projects, including the Queensland Curtis LNG Project, which will have over 100 trucks. This co-ordinating role gives clients someone to liaise with onsite and keeps parts coming 24/7.

Furthermore, each workshop is equipped with a G-Scan tool – a computer that will plug in to diagnose problems with trucks and perform slow burns on trucks fitted with the new DPD exhaust systems. This removes the reliance on the dealer all the time in remote areas where some of the trucks are 700 km from the nearest dealer and greater vehicle uptime.

Dhatec

Dhatec has operated as a specialist in the pipeline industry since 1992. The company has gathered specific knowledge on pipeline logistics, and has used this knowledge to develop products and services that are aimed to prevent pipes from damaging during all logistic operations in the supply chain. Dhatec provides its knowledge to logistics experts in order to organise for efficient and safe pipe logistics while preventing damage to the pipe and its coating.

The company focuses on delivering logistic solutions to the parties involved in the supply chain of line pipes. The key contributions of our products are safety, quality and efficiency in the processes. Examples of Dhatec’s products are bevel protectors, pipe closure, pipe storage systems, pipe transport systems and its latest innovation: aRFID chips for identifying, localising, and communication of quality data wirelessly.

In the last several years, Dhatec has supplied its equipment for the transportation of pipe for 600 train wagons and trailers.

Dhatec Owner and Sales and Development Manager Ir. Idsart van Assema responded to the following questions regarding large diameter transportation.

Are there any particular precautions that need to be made when transporting large diameter pipe?

“People tend to think too easy about load securing of the pipes on trailers.

“In the field, we see so many bad examples, and nobody seems to be really sure how to do it. Also, the industry standards and recommended practices are more focussed on minimising pipe damage and not in optimising safe transport.

“This results in risky situations and sometimes in unfortunate accidents.

“On Dhatec’s Youtube channel, there is a featured video that shows official testing of load securing of line pipes on a trailer with prescribed forces as cornering with 0.5 G,braking with 0.8 G- and S-curves ending with emergency braking as ultimate test.

After watching the video, I am sure you have a different perspective on load securing. With System88, Dhatec’s transport system for large diameter line pipes, we do not only offer a solution for safe transport, but also the calculations needed for securing the load.”

What are the main challenges faced by transport companies, and companies such as Dhatec, when organising such a project?

“The main challenge is to have the right pipe at the right place at the right time, safe, and without damage to the pipe, bevel or coating.

“Another challenge is transferring the knowledge to the people involved in the projects. Not everybody seems to be aware that bevels and coatings are vulnerable and need to be protected and handled with care. Dhatec’s equipment and products can do a lot, but throughout the supply chain, everybody must be made aware of the importance of damage free handling, transport and storage of the pipes. And I mean not only by including paragraphs in contracts, but by literally discussing with all employees involved.”

How do you see the pipeline transportation industry evolving in the future? What will be the main challenges that lie ahead?

“The specifications required for steel grade, bi-metal pipe, and coating has become higher and higher, which makes the pipe a capitally-intensive good. This means that safe and damage-free transport becomes more and more important.

“As a consequence, transport companies are facing more demanding jobs. Dhatec sees the trend that upcoming economies are increasing their focus on quality and safety in order to participate in international tenders. Their challenge in the coming years shall be to step up to this higher quality level.

“Also there is a demand of logistics managers to know in real time where all pipe is currently located, even in transit, and through this communication of quality data will increase.

“This is why Dhatec continues to improve its transport system System88 so to make transportation companies able to deal with the future. And, with Dhatec’s latest innovation – the Pipe Guar, which is active RFID chips for line pipe – logistics managers can see at any given time where their pipe is and access individual quality data on demand.”