Client: Port of Portland
Scope: To manufacture an elbow suitable for carrying fuel oil at the Port of Portland, Oregon.
Material: to be manufactured from ASTM A148 Grade 105/85 – modified tool steel
Inspections pipe must pass: Impact testing, UT, Chemistry, heat treatment charts, tensile and yield testing, BHN testing
In the Pacific Northwest sits Oregon’s largest city – Portland. With a major port that supports approximately 2.4 million people, this bustling city is growing at a rate of knots.
Where there is population growth, infrastructure growth follows and the Port is one area that is under constant improvement. Once known for being one of the most dangerous ports, the city of Portland has come a long way and is now known for being one of America’s most liveable cities.
Part of the city’s transformation has been the process of upgrading the Port, and we are proud to have played a small part in the metamorphosis of this. Foothills were asked to supply a critical piece in the puzzle that helps to make the infrastructure at the Port able to carry vast volumes of liquid faster and further. This meant that the pipes used to carry the liquid needed to travel along a certain route, which had numerous bends.
Large cast pipes that need to have specific size elbows are not as simple as it sounds to make. This complex problem required us to think on our feet and be willing to have a few goes at getting the final solution just right.
The complexities involved included being able to cast a seamless tube with a constant raduis bend, done with no weld repair. Meaning a large, self supported core sytem had to be implemented alongside a gating/riser system that would not disturb the center core, but still allow rapid filling to avoid time and temperature related defects. Foothills had the experience and ability to solve curly problems like this and with the help of our engineering team we came up with the goods.
Fact: Cylinders are hard to produce in the horizontal position because usually, you pour a cylinder upright. Because of the curve of the elbow, the size and massive weight, we weren’t able to mount the mold and core vertically. With this shape of casting, you need to somehow suspend a core in the mold to produce an even wall thickness. By making the pattern in 2 pieces and adding removable bracing to the base of the pattern we were able to create a pattern that housed an internal core. This meant that we could in effect pour molten metal through a complex gating system that controlled the time, direction and speed of solidification. All done without allowing gravity to destroy or affect the shape of the product.
Because the pipe was being used to carry fuel oil, and due to the nature of the casting specification, we were not allowed to weld repair the elbow. This meant that in order to remain a profitable project, the part had to be cast the first time correctly, and cast with zero defects. Imagine being given one chance to hit a specification of the highest degree, with zero room for error!
The scale of this project was huge. Each size and type of pipe elbow was enormous. If you look at the size of these pipe in the images, you can see that the pipe takes up almost all of the space of a 20’ container, giving you an idea of the scale of these pieces. They weighed in at 7800lbs each after all rigging was removed.
We were responsible for providing all inspection and testing requirements (Visual, Physical, NDT as well as impact testing), all of which were verified and certified by a third party inspection team.
The stringent specification required the Port to provide confirmation of all proposed works prior to casting, then submit photographic evidence of all cast parts prior to shipping to ensure that the pipe had been manufactured to the exact specification.
The pipe had to conform to the following requirements:
1. Minimum Tensile strength: 105ksi
2.Minimum Yield strength: 85ksi
3. Percent Elongation: 11%
4. Reduction of Area: 25%
5. Minimum Charpy V-notch: 15 Ft-lbf H.
Each casting was required to meet 220 Brinell minimum hardness measured from the inside surface.
It was not an easy exercise, but our FSF production engineers alongside the Port of Portland Engineers, all consummate professionals with very thorough specification and scoping process knowledge, made it possible. Our contract manufacturing abilities and our team of in house engineers are capable of conceiving, designing and working with suppliers to the industrial marketplace to provide cast parts that last, the first time and on budget.