Accumulated Test CellAs part of LB Bentley’s ongoing commitment to Product Development, it was decided that the most stringent test regime would be applied to the testing of our products, and in particular our hydraulic actuators.  In order to achieve this accurately is was required to replicate operational field conditions, the precise details of the model for this was devised during close discussions with one of our key Global Customers.

The first stage involved fully understanding and documenting the subsea operating sequence, how fluid was introduced into the high pressure side, the speed at which it is applied, what happens to the low pressure fluid and the effect of hyperbaric pressure on the displaced fluid.  All these were assessed to determine how these effects can affect and influence the actuator operation. 

Next it was necessary to model these effects on a ‘Piping & Instrumentation Diagram’ (P&ID) that replicates and simulates the pressures that are available from the infinite pressure reservoir – the ocean.  One of the key factors was ensuring the correct sizing of the accumulators so that the system could operate continuously for the optimum number of cycles.  Our Senior Research and Development (R&D) Engineer, Rick Lees, teamed up with our Consulting Engineer, John Drew, to develop the necessary safe operating procedures, ensuring that subsea pressure effects are correctly balanced and draw up P&ID layouts.  Then with these procedures defined, refined and agreed, the equipment supplier was chosen.

The R&D Lab Technicians were keen to install a permanent system as part the test facilities as soon as possible, and have worked to reconfigure and update the hyperbaric test cell so that it was ready to accept the new equipment.

The R&D team were delighted to receive the new equipment on schedule and due to the advance planning by the R&D team, installation and commissioning of the equipment proceeded smoothly.  The net result being that the equipment was fully operational with minimal delay and disruption to the busy R&D testing and qualification schedule.

The new range of OPTItorkTM actuators were the first to benefit from this style of “field” testing philosophy, and have been launched safe in the knowledge that they are the most severely tested product that LB Bentley have ever brought to market.

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