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Subject: Welded Flange By Union Adapters

Question:

My Company rents oilfield equipment, and we had a flange X union adapter come apart during a manifold hydro test. It failed in such a way that it appeared to simply break in two, right in the middle, where it appeared to be welded together. Fortunately no one was hurt, but I have been charged with making sure we remove all of the units we own that may be likely to fail.

How would you suggest I should go about this task?

Answer:

We suggest you investigate to find if your company has files that include Material Test Reports and hydro test records on your inventory items. If you find these, you can probably have confidence in the equipment so documented.  

At this time (2016), manufacturers that make these equipment units having smaller flanges, usually make them from one piece of steel, either bar stock or a forging.  

Since you had a welded unit fail, for those items for which you can find no documentation, you may want to sort them; as those that appear to be made as one piece, and those that appear to have welded assembly.  

Below you will find attached a drawing that displays the general appearance of a Flange X Union Adapter "Made Without Welding" and as "Made by Welding."  

So that no misunderstanding may exist, "Made Without Welding" means the part does not include welding as an assembly step. Welding may always come into play for cladding, overlay, inlay, and repair welding necessary because of field damage.  

If you want to remove from your inventory, any Flange X Union Adapters that you believe assembled by welding, I suggest  you would do well by simply following two rules. First, remove all units obviously welded together (meaning you can visually see the fabrication weld). Second, remove any units that look sufficiently different from the drawing "Made Without Welding" below, that fabrication by welding best explains the difference in appearance. These two steps may miss some welded units, and may result in your discarding some units made without welding, but the small number of errors using this criteria should have little cost in the larger scheme of things.  

Note: Adapters having large flanges with much smaller union halves attached, usually have welded assembly because of the cost to manufacture them in one piece. If their appearance seems satisfactory, you should test these units and retain them if they pass the test.

In any case, all of the units you wish to keep in your inventory for which you have no documentation that certifies a hydro test, should have a hydro test, documented and tied to your inventory records. If any units fail on test, discard the pieces. 

UNITS WITH MALE HALF UNION
MADE WITHOUT WELDING
MUST HAVE REMOVABLE NUTS
WITH SEGMENTS AND RETAINER RING
 
Flange x Weco   Flange x Weco
 
UNITS MADE BY WELDING WITH MALE HALF UNION
MAY HAVE A NON-REMOVABLE NUT
 
Flange x Weco   Flange x Weco
  

Caution: When tightening Hammer Unions, always wear safety glasses.

To see an example of a Hammer Union with a Removable Nut. Click Here.

To see an example of a Hammer Union with a Non-Removable Nut. Click Here.

 

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