Shims – more than just a strip of metal

SHIM – A washer or thin strip of metal used to align parts, make them fit or reduce wear.

 

a new shim set – ready for installation

 

These, sometimes extremely slender, strips of metal are very crucial in industrial operations. From getting a pump to line up perfectly or to make a surface level, a shim must be exact.

 

don’t let your shims get this bad!

 

Shims come in a variety of materials, but most commonly from metals such as carbon steel, brass and stainless steel. And they also vary greatly in their thickness from up to 1/4” thick and down to .001 thick (imagine an industrial foil).

 

.003 thick shims – for precise applications

 

And the tolerances they must hold are key to their functionality. They cannot deviate across the surface, their dimensions must be held.

 

 

Often industrial shims come in sets of varying thicknesses. They can be added individually to get the final adjustments perfect.

 

a pack of new new shims

 

They also come in many different shapes, often having to be custom designed to fit around existing bolt holes and other features. We like to add the small hand holds (show below) to make installation and adjustment easier.

 

custom designed shims
pump shims w-install tabs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Riggs Machine and Fabricating we understand Industrial Shims and their importance in setup, maintenance and repairs. We understand the tolerances and design elements that separate a shim from a strip of metal. Yes, there is a difference. If the shop you are working with now doesn’t agree with that, then you are working with the wrong place. Time to call Riggs Machine.

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

Welcome Gregg Nichols to the Riggs Team!

We’d like to welcome Gregg Nichols to our staff. Gregg has a combined 28 years in Industrial Distribution & Manufacturing Operations and Sales.

Gregg Nichols

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His prior experience includes 5 years with Perfection Rubber (operations manager and sales), 18 years with MSC / Dolin Supply (team leader and outside sales) and 4 years with American producers (outside and industrial sales)

The business segments he previously focused on included:

  • Coal
  • Construction
  • Chemical
  • Manufacturing
  • Petroleum
  • Power Generation
  • Steel Production
Gregg and Brent Inspect a New Platform

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gregg’s areas of expertise include:

  • Hydraulic Hoses, Tubes and Fittings
  • Metal working – Machining – Hole Making
  • Material Handling (lifting and rigging)
  • Pipes, Valves & Fittings
  • Safety

Gregg has jumped right in and got off to a strong start. His outgoing personality and years of knowledge have been a perfect fit here at Riggs. Call him for a visit to your facility and see why he’s an invaluable asset to our team!

Tapered Tube Plugs – Not as Simple as it Seems

Tapered Tube Plug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Used during repairs and outages, this simple looking device becomes a necessity. The Tube Plug is hammered or welded into the open section of pipes in boilers and heat exchangers. They plug the end of the pipe to either stop the flow of steam or coolant. If the plug’s seal is not tight the coolant can seep into the material and contaminate it.

 

Heat Exchanger End *
Heat Exchanger Side *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes this seemingly basic item so important are a few factors. First, its fit must be right. Sure they are tapered, but they must fit without damaging the existing pipe or sliding too far in. Also, the material specifications for Tube Plugs can vary greatly. While some plugs can be made out a carbon steel like 1018, other plugs must match the existing pipe section (i.e. A350 with more carbon content) or even stainless steel, nickle or other metals. If the wrong type of metal is used, it could lead to corrosion, rust, leaks or a possible reaction with existing materials in the system.

 

Tube Plug in CNC Lathe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the machining isn’t always as simple as it may seem. Bar stock in not always available in a size close to what the job requires or the material type needed is only available as plate. In that case, a plug larger than the finished size would be cut from the plate and then turned turn by hand on a lathe. Time consuming, yes, but necessary for a professional fit.

 

Plug cut from plate
Sample Heat Doc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Riggs Machine & Fabricating, we not only have the experience, but we ask the questions to make sure the job is done right, the first time. Don’t trust those supposed simple jobs to just any shop. Call Riggs first for the dependability and quality your facility demands.

 

Set of Tube Plugs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*(Morton, John, 2 Electrolyte Heat Exchanger Tube Bundles in the 8×6 Foot Wind Tunnel, 1975) – http://catalog.archives.gov

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

Screw Conveyor – Auger

The Auger Conveyor uses a rotating helical screw blade to move materials along its length. This unit moves abrasive materials from hopper to hopper then to bagging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice how the abrasive material has worn down the blades. Also, material is sticking to the untreated blades. Material slides over the smaller, worn out blades making the conveyor ineffective. Jobs take longer and costs rise quickly.

 

 

This new unit has Hardfacing Wire (Lincore 55) welded to the blades to reinforce them and add durability. This surface resists sliding wear and mild abrasion. These new blades will have a longer service life.

 

Explosion Proof Hatch – Pyrite Ducts

Here are some newly machined explosion-proof hatches for pyrite ducts.

In preparing coal for energy production, pyrite, a sulfide that contributes to air pollution and acid rain, is removed before burning. The separated pyrite is forced through ducts to waiting hoppers using high pressure fans. These ducts have negative pressure in them. If a chunk of pyrite gets stuck in a hopper then unit has to be shut down and the duct removed from the unit to be cleaned.

Photo by James St. John / CC by
Sphalerite-Pyrite

With the addition of these hatches, if a chunk of pyrite gets stuck in the hopper, it is only a temporary shut down while the hatch is opened and the material is washed out. Once the hatch is sealed, the unit is quickly brought back on-line. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These hatches have also been used as inspection doors on gearboxes, giving quick access to the internals for routine maintenance or adjustments. The locking tab on the hatches also helps keep the unit secure.

 

A Phonographic Finish!

No, not what is used when a race is too close to call (that’s a photo finish). But a machined finish added to the raised face on a flange to give an extra level of security to prevent leaks and maintain effective seals.

Spacer Flange w-Phonographic Finish

The Phonographic Finish is actually a serrated finish, either concentric or spiral (much like the grooves on a record), that will grip the gasket between pipe sections firmly.

Phonographic Finish – Close Up

These finishes are typically added on a lathe to specifications set either by the company ordering the flange, the manufacturer or ASME B16.5 guidelines. Below is a render of the completed flange with bolt holes. I would have included a photo of the actual completed unit, but as soon as it was finished, it was rushed to the job site! But that’s why we’re here. Everyone knows who to call when a custom part is needed in a hurry.

Spacer Flange – Render

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

Is Your Scaffold System OSHA Compliant?

Ladder on Scaffold by George Hoden

Do you use long term scaffolding in place of permanent platforms? Are they stable, secure and up to the new OSHA regulations? Are you still renting your scaffolding and paying for it month after month?

FALL PROTECTION & SCAFFOLDING VIOLATIONS

remain among OSHA’s most frequently cited standard violations.*

 

 

OSHA violations are now subject to higher penalties,

this signals a 78% increase in penalty amounts.*

 

Convert your temporary, unstable scaffolding to a sturdy, permanent structure. No more rentals, no more repairs, no more guard rails that are dangerously low and above all, avoid the fear of those outrageous OSHA fines.

A Riggs Machine representative will review your current needs and outline the best options for your facility. We even offer 3D renders of the unit before construction begins so you can visualize the actual unit design.

  

Walkways – Handrail – Ladders

Riggs can not only deliver new assemblies for your facility, but update your existing equipment to bring it up to the new standards.

 

 

 

 

 

OSHA – Final Rule to Update General Industry Walking-Working Surface and Fall Protection Standards

OSHA – Top Violations

* bdlaw.com – Notes regarding OSHA penalty increases and violation citation frequency.

Witch Hat Strainers

Ever lose a bolt while working on your car, and then have a hard time finding it? Imagine that while working on industrial piping. Well it happens. When a new pipe goes up, many items can find their way trapped in the pipe, and when the unit is first started up, those items go racing to the end of the pipes. Many times leading into a unit or a pump.

A simple bolt in a new pump is a recipe for disaster. The pump is blown. It has to be removed and repaired. They are often in hard to access locations, covered with guards and shrouds. Crews come in! Permits! Downtime! Behind schedule!

But this simple item could have prevented that. The Witch Hat Strainer (also called a Start-Up Strainer), is placed in-line to catch items like bolts, nuts, tools, debris and anything that may have found it’s way in the line during installation or maintenance.

A novel idea that saves time and money.

Primary Air Fans

Primary Air (P.A.) fans force air into the furnaces of coal-fired power plants. Rotating at 1,600 RPM, they have to be solid, balanced and reliable.

 

Here is a new P.A. fan. It has been welded and the center hub riveted. The welds are then inspected to AWS D14.6 Standards using Magnetic Particle Inspection.

 

The fans are then balanced; much like you’d balance the wheels on your car. The shafts are also balanced and a mated set is created to ensure smooth rotation and a long service life.