Effective hydrotesting with test plugs

Curtiss-Wright EST Group’s open-end test plugs have been proven to save time spent on welding on and cutting off end caps to perform pressure testing.

Curtiss-Wright EST Group (EST Group) manufactures open end test Plugs to facilitate pressure testing on piping systems.

EST Group’s GripTight line of test plugs have proven themselves to save up to 85 per cent of the time spent welding on/cutting off end caps to perform pressure testing of pipe spools, piping systems and pressure vessels.

GripTight plugs are safe and effective and have a proven track record on major liquified natural gas (LNG) projects in the Asia Pacific region, including Gorgon LNG modules, Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) modules, Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) modules, and Gladstone LNG (GLNG).

GripTight MAX High Pressure Test Plugs. Image: Curtiss-Wright EST Group

With sizes ranging from DN10 to DN1200 and pressure ratings to 1034BarG, GripTight plugs are an ideal solution for several applications.

The QCLNG project team reported that they experienced a five time increase in the number of test packages completed weekly when they shifted from using welded end caps to GripTight plugs.

GripTight plugs are reusable for several test cycles, making them a more cost-effective solution over welded end cap methods of testing, ultimately providing customers with the lowest cost per test.

One distinctive feature of GripTight plugs is their patented dual-serrated gripper design.

GripTight MAX and GripTight Elbow plugs are currently being used in the modular construction of a major LNG expansion project in Australia. This method of hydrostatic testing remains to be a timely and cost-effective way to keep your project on track and on budget.

While the concept of test plugs is still relatively unknown by many construction contractors in the pipeline arena, EST Group’s Sales Partner in Australia, PipeServ, has worked tirelessly with contractors and testing companies to adopt GripTight Test Plugs in three areas.

Pre-testing of pipe on HDD Crossings

Conducting hydrostatic testing provides peace of mind to both the contractors and the end-users that the pipeline is constructed to withstand the pressures and conditions it will encounter during operation.

Welding on end caps or test headers to test these individual sections can be extremely time consuming for little return on the project as it consumes more resources than necessary.

Temporary hydrostatic test plugs free up welders to carry out the more permanent, revenue generating welds.

Testing of emergency spare pipe in the yards

Testing emergency pipes helps ensure that operators are prepared to respond promptly and effectively in the event of a pipeline incident.

By conducting tests, operators can identify any issues with emergency response equipment or procedures and address them proactively, minimizing the impact of potential emergencies.

Testing of valve with pup pieces

Although valves are typically tested at the factory before being shipped, re-hydrotesting allows pipeline operators to verify the integrity and functionality of the valves upon receipt.

This is an additional quality assurance measure to ensure the valves meet the required specifications and standards of the project.

Often, “pup” pieces do not have extra green on them for welding on end caps to close the valves off.

Utilising the open-end test plugs in this space certainly makes the local hydrotest quicker and more cost effective.

Future state of test plugs

As industry shifts its focus to carbon capture, desulphurisation and hydrogen, there is an appreciable increase in open end test plug inquiries and sales.

Their cost-effectiveness and time savings to expedite hydrotest packages is adding to the bottom line and speed of delivering crucial projects for contractors and end-users alike.

EST Group encourages those involved in managing project timelines, hydrotesting, pre-commissioning, quality and safety and would like a demonstration or more information,  reach out.

For more information, contact Pipeserv at info@pipeserv.com, or Curtiss Wright EST Group at est-sales@cw-estgroup.com

This article featured in the May edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

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