2019 will see the largest SPS no hot work structural steel reinstatement project undertaken on-board an FSO. Approved by classification society ABS, 841m² of main deck, corroded beyond class limits, on board an FSO which operates in Asia, will be permanently reinstated.
Whilst the size of this no hot work project is a milestone for SPS, the use of a “no hot work” method to install this permanent structural composite has a 15 year pedigree. It was first used on board the FPSO Independence (ConocoPhilips) in 2003, when a 3m² area of bottom shell in a cargo oil tank was reinstated. Without hot work, there was no need for a shutdown and the vessel could remain on station with full operational capacity.
A no hot work solution is applicable to plates or pipes in areas exposed to volatile chemicals or compounds and involves the use of structural adhesives and bolts to fix perimeter bars and top plates to the existing structure to form cavities. It is into these cavities that the elastomer core is injected which bonds to the top and bottom faceplates providing greater strength than the original structure. Post elastomer injection, the perimeter bars are structurally unnecessary. Cavities are sized according to the existing structure, typically these are 9m² but in principle there is no size limit.
As a steel-elastomer-steel composite, which typically reinstates a structure to beyond its original strength, SPS, has many uses and with the identification of different demanding applications so the installation process evolved. A low heat SPS installation method is used where services, insulation, paint systems and fuel oil tanks must be protected from heat input during repair and involves the use of non-direct welding, adhesives and/or stud welded perimeter bars. It was first introduced in 2006, where the inner hull plating and longitudinals in the passageways were reinstated on-board an LNG carrier. 559m² of SPS was installed and it was vital that the membrane installation system was not affected. Over 55 low heat and no hot work projects have been completed so far ranging in size from 1- 825m² and over 10,000m² of SPS has been installed using these methods.
Jonny Lim, Director, SPS Asia commented, “No hot work SPS repairs is not a new solution. We’ve been executing such projects for over 15years. Tailor-making solutions to meet our clients’ needs is what we do. Adopted widely in the offshore industry, these no hot work and low heat solutions for SPS are now gaining acceptance by the cruise industry where disturbance to below deck services and cable runs is avoided where possible. Our design team provide an SPS solution tailored to operational requirements, schedule and budgets.”
Over the past 20 years £20m+ has been invested in developing the patented SPS technology including an extensive and rigorous programme of tests.