Aberdeen-based flange tool-maker rises to the (Scottish) nuclear power challenge

An Equalizer International flange spreading tool in action
An Equalizer International flange spreading tool in action

Crucial flange-maintenance tools produced by Equalizer International – the Aberdeen-based provider of tools for the energy sector – have been recognised as having a positive impact on safety and quality while challenging tasks durations and costs.

Equalizer’s Secure-Grip (SG) tools were recognised in the nuclear industry at the EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Challenge Awards in the UK.

Major EDF Energy contractor Doosan Babcock used Equalizer SG tools to split compressed asbestos joints within a pipework bellows configuration. Using SG tools eliminated the use of wooden wedges and hammers traditionally used in flange spreading but also aided in the mitigation of asbestos contamination.

Gus Carruthers, Outage Manager, Doosan Babcock, said: “The four key factors we consider are safety, quality, time and cost. If you have safety and quality you can challenge the duration time and then you find the costs take care of themselves.

“In the case of the compressed asbestos joint-splitting project, we were able to reduce work time from days to a matter of hours.”

Meeting EDF Energy’s challenge to reduce power plant outage downtime without compromising safety or quality, Equalizer’s product range consists of mechanical and hydraulic tools for splitting, aligning and closing flanges.

Equalizer International Managing Director John Morgan added: “Our approach has always been to use innovation in our design and development to provide a solution for flange management problems across a range of industries and we’re very pleased that our success in achieving that has been endorsed by industry through these awards.”

EDF Energy is now keen for Doosan Babcock to roll out the use of Equalizer tools throughout its nuclear fleet and substantial training of Doosan Babcock and EDF Energy fitters and technicians has been undertaken by Equalizer.

Senior management from EDF Energy – the nationalised French corporation whose UK fleet includes the two Scottish nuclear power plants – said they were ‘particularly impressed with the equipment regarding hand safety and leak prevention’.

Set up in 1994, Equalizer International is presently celebrating its 21st anniversary. It specialises in the design and supply of flange maintenance tools for the oil and gas, petrochemical, nuclear, water, mining and renewable energy sectors.

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