Mobile Robotic Cutback System Wins Kudos

April 2013, Vol. 240 No. 4

ShawCor’s Mobile Robotic Cutback System is one of the 15 technologies that is to receive a 2013 Spotlight on New Technology Award from the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), the world’s foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. The award recognizes innovative new products that provide significant impact for offshore exploration and production.

Every pipe joint coated with thermal insulation requires the insulation shaped in a controlled way at both ends of the pipe to create room for the welding and non-destructive weld testing equipment. This area where the insulation coating has been removed is called cutback. The challenge is to manufacture a cutback reliably and maximize adhesion between the factory-applied pipe coating and the thermal insulation field joint coating system to be applied either on land in a “spoolbase” or offshore on a vessel.

Offshore insulated risers, flow lines, and export lines must now serve wells located at greater depths and, as the piped products get hotter, project specifications in general have tightened and cutback specifications in particular have become increasingly complex.

Forming the cutbacks on the insulated pipe joints has been traditionally a labor-intensive and mostly manual operation. Bredero Shaw, ShawCor’s largest division and a global leader in pipe-coating solutions, has been working on automating the cutback process as part of its mobile coating technologies program. Robotic technology was selected for the Brigden mobile coating plant in Beaumont, TX but a new modular, mobile design was needed.

A Bredero Shaw engineering team developed a self-contained modular robotic cutback system including pipe handling and dust collection and delivered this solution in two standard 40-foot cargo containers that can be easily transported and assembled together with the mobile coating plant.

The Mobile Robotic Cutback System is fully automated. This means it is safer, quieter, requires less labor and produces consistent high quality cutback profiles while generating recyclable waste, all significant benefits to the industry. The system has already been successfully used on several Gulf of Mexico offshore pipeline projects.

The 2013 Spotlight on New Technology Award won by the Mobile Robotic Cutback System shows ShawCor’s continuous commitment to innovation and builds on the precedent created by the Thermotite® ULTRA™ novel thermal insulation coating and the Simulated Service Vessel (SSV), which were awarded OTC Spotlight on New Technology Awards in 2010 and 2012.