Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Kelvar's oil rig success in resisting North Sea corrosion
Keywords Reflec, Corrosion prevention, Powders
It is reported that Norwegian oil rig operators now specify Kelvar for corrosion-proof cable cleats to hold electrical cables firmly and safely on offshore oil platforms. Kelvar coated cleats are said to meet the Norwegian standards of corrosion resistance, not only against the harsh North Sea environmental conditions but also against bi-metallic corrosion. This is a joint success for Remora Electrical, which designed the cleats, and for Winsford-based Reflec plc, which makes this highly-effective anti-corrosion powder.
The Norwegians have much more stringent standards for corrosion resistance than other North Sea operators, especially as safety of electrical cables is a high priority. These cables have to be held firmly in position, because, in the event of a short circuit, the cables can flash and whip in all directions. On a North Sea platform this can be fatal, so the cables are held securely with at least three cleats for every metre of cable. The average oil platform has thousands of cleats. As these Kelvar-coated cleats reportedly last for much longer than stainless steel, the operators also are also thought to make considerable savings on the costs of maintenance checks.
Reflec informs us that due to effectiveness of its cleats Norwegian oil platform operators now believe there should be a European norm for corrosion-proof cable cleats, to hold electrical cables firmly and safely on oil platforms, based on Norwegian standards of corrosion resistance.
Remora provides tens of thousands of the patented cleats to Norwegian oil platform operators. David de Main, a founder and director of Remora, had the problem of making corrosion resistant cleats to firmly hold single-phase power cables to meet demand from the oil platform operators.
According to David de Main stainless steel was the main material being used but even that suffers from corrosion. Driving through Manchester he saw the Reflec site with its corrosion control sign, went in and found the solution in the anti-corrosion powder which, when applied under heat, forms Kelvar, a grey plastic coating which adheres chemically to the metallic surface.
In order to maintain quality, Reflec's approved applicator, North Point Ltd of Dukinfield, Cheshire, applies the anti-corrosion powder, Kelvar, to the aluminium cleat bases. The cleats, trade marked "Vari-Cleat" because of the capability to secure different cable diameters, are said to be competitive in price and withstand the severe corrosive conditions of the North Sea.
Peter White, Reflec's chief executive, invented Kelvar in 1984. He has seen it come through long-term trials with flying colours. Commenting on Remora's success, Peter White said: "Kelvar can stand up to the worst environmentally corrosive conditions in the world, as the Norwegians have discovered. So it is no surprise that they are putting the pressure on Europe to adopt their standards. Kelvar will more than meet their specified demands."
Reflec plc has three divisions. The process division specialising in cryogenic and ambient grinding for industry, for its own reflective inks and its anti-corrosion coatings. The reflective division is one of the world's major producers of reflective inks and its inks are currently exported to Australia, the Far East, Europe and the USA, where they are largely used by the textile and fashion trade. The coatings division produces Kelvar anti-corrosion coatings which are used in the protection of metal components in aggressive environments. Kelvar is in use in the Far East and the UK on oil platforms, mass transit railways and power stations. The company employs 40 people and is based in Winsford, Cheshire.