HPC Cloud-based simulation of flange tightening

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Texas Controls, a Spanish SME, provides tightening and sealing solutions for large industrial facilities. These solutions are especially important to customers in the oil and gas industry, where it is imperative to avoid leaks in pipes and pressure vessels or reactors that could occur under extreme pressure and temperature. The costs of preventing leaks are much lower than those of their consequences. However, the computational demands of modelling the behaviour of flanges were such that an HPC-based solution was necessary and this was the first time that they had used such technology.

Start date: 01/07/2013

Duration in months: 18

Problem Description

This case study addressed flanged joints that are used for high-pressure and hot gases or liquids. To seal a joint, a gasket is placed inside a groove, which is located on both flanges. During the process of closing and tightening the joint, the gasket and the flanges may suffer damage through deformations and high levels of stress. Even worse, if the closing process is not performed correctly, workers at the plant could suffer serious or fatal accidents accompanied by damage to the surrounding community and the environment.


Virtual prototyping


The challenge of this case study was to simulate and optimise the tightening of flanges.

Innovation results

A computer model was developed which represented all the functional parts of a flange including the gasket and the tightening bolts. This model was driven by a user interface, which enabled different tightening scenarios to be evaluated. The model was implemented using both open-source and proprietary simulation codes. Several sizes of case studies were run.

Business impact

Based on previous experience in the field a non- optimised tightening of a 24 stud bolt flange took 108 man-hours while Texas Controls can reduce this type of process to 72 man-hours using simulation. In all this comprises a 33% time saving per flange.

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