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Abrasive Water Jet Cold Cutting

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Intrinsically safe cutting in explosive environments

An abrasive water jet will cut through hard materials such as steel without heat or sparks. This means it is safe to use for cutting applications in hazardous atmospheres where there is a risk of fire or explosion. RGL have applied this technology very successfully in a range of situations across an array of industries particularly petrochemical, oil, gas and offshore energy.

The principle is based on introducing an inert natural mineral abrasive into an “ultra-high pressure “water stream and remotely guiding the resultant “abrasive jet” to where the cutting is required. RGL thrive on designing and building hydraulically powered jet carriers which facilitate the cutting process being controlled remotely thus keeping jetting personnel a safe distance away from the jetknife.

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Each cold cutting job is different, and we believe that early dialogue with our customers is essential to ensure we offer the most efficient and environmentally friendly solution. This early dialogue allows us to plan and engineer custom tooling specific to our customer requirements.

The RGL equipment including the water jetting pumps are always “refinery ready” and fitted with “Chalwyn” valves, spark arrestors and bolt on earth connections. Furthermore, all our pumps are equipped with certified lifting eyes which allows them to be safely lifted into position if the need arises.

How fast can it cut?

Typical applications

  • Cutting into “live” tanks and vessels without the need for prior internal cleaning.
  • Jet fuel lines at airports.
  • Gas storage cylinders (Gasometers) and gas pressure vessels (depressurised).
  • Oil tank floors (particularly when product has leaked under the floor and conventional methods pose a fire risk).
  • Pipe cutting – any diameter or thickness without the need for prior cleaning. Furthermore, the cold cutting nozzle can be angled to cut the “weld prep” during the same operation as the pipe cutting.
  • Steel pile cutting – under water from “inside out” without the need for diving teams and the ability to cut below bed level.
  • Steel pile cutting- underwater from “outside in”.
  • Underwater cutting and Sub-Sea salvage.
  • Cutting in proximity to Pyrophoric Materials

Case Study

Petrochemical Tank Decommissioning

RGL were approached in November 2016 regarding abrasive cold cutting with UHP water jet for a collapsed floating, tank roof in a refinery located in Forcados Delta, Nigeria.

Shell - Abrasive Cold Cutting of Floating Tank Roof
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Safety and environmental advantages

  • Cuts are performed using remote control equipment. Operatives are able to operate the equipment from a safe distance from the jet.
  • Ultra-high pressure water is mixed with mineral grade crushed garnet, an inert rock which presents little or no environmental hazard.
  • Wastewater can be disposed of through the plant drainage system. If the wastewater is contaminated with oils or chemicals, the effluent can be contained and removed by vacuum tanker for licensed disposal.
More about safety and environmental
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Technical advantages

  • Abrasive water jet cold cutting is a safe (sparkless) means of cutting making it safe for cutting applications in hazardous atmospheres where there is a risk of fire or explosion.
  • This process can cut into all material including cementitious, metallic or rubber linings, coatings or multi-layer composite materials. There are no saw teeth to blunt or clog.
  • Coupons can be cut into tanks or pipelines where there are flammable products contained inside.
More about technical advantages

Related services

  • Cutting

    Water Jet cutting uses an ultra-high-pressure stream of water to carry an abrasive grit. The abrasive does the cutting, leaving a smooth, precision cut surface.

Need help finding the service that’s right for you?

RGL are your interface between water jetting technology and the job to be done. If you’ve been tasked with a project that could do with our help we would love to hear all about it.

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