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

Grapple – A Hook or Claw to Catch or Hold

And boy do they!

Photo by James Dave Fitzwall / CC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may be familiar with the design, it has been used for years from junk yards to the toy dispenser in the mall arcade. The reason is simple, they work. The four finger design can lift almost anything. This is very handy in a scrap yard when you never know what is coming in next or the condition an item may be in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This set is from a metal yard and they are abused on a daily basis. They pull scrap from rail cars and trucks all day and drop it into awaiting shredders and barges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To extend the life of the hooks, the ends are cut off and new tips are welded on. All four “fingers” are replaced at the same time to keep balance and even wear of the unit. The key is making sure all four tips line up and meet in the center of the unit, ensuring maximum performance. Not an easy task on such a large and unwieldy assembly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here they are, ready for assembly on the unit. Soon they will be helping in the cycle of converting scrap into metal that will go back to the steel mills to make new products.

 

Custom Replacement Parts

Your facility has a 50 year old unit and replacement parts are not available. You have no drawings and the few parts you do have look like this!

 

 

 

 

 

This is a problem we see with the aging facilities common in our area. Luckily quick in-house replacement parts are one of our specialties.

3D Render of Buckstay Clips
3D Render of Buckstay Clips

No on-line hunting for parts – No stealing from other units! Give Riggs a call and get running again.

Buckstay Clip Inventor DWG
Buckstay Clip Inventor DWG

Stripped Industrial Bolts

Industrial Fan Housing

Stripped Industrial Bolt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever strip a bolt? Frustrating! How about a 22″ long x 3 3/4″ wide heat-treated bolt on an industrial fan housing? Nightmare!

Fan Housing on the VMC
Fan Housing on the boring mill
Drilling Out a Bolt
Drilling Out a Bolt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not many shops have a horizontal boring mill large enough to handle components this size. But it’s just another day at Riggs Machine.

Industrial Bolt Cut
Industrial Bolt Cut
Catfish
Catfish

 

 

 

 

 

Next time you’re staring down the wrong end of a broken or stripped bolt the size of a catfish, you’ll know who to call.