There are a lot of factors to consider when planning to machine flanges on site. Operators and technicians often have to deal with safety concerns, time constraints, a variety of flange types, performance expectations, and in many cases restrictive access to the flange. In the field today, technicians are using two types of flange facers to perform this work – Internal Diameter (ID) mounted or Outer Diameter (OD) mounted flange facers. CLIMAX | H&S TOOL has a comprehensive, state-of-the-art portfolio in both ID and OD mounted machines. In this article, we focus on OD mounted flange facers.
For a global perspective on some common questions technicians face when using OD mounted flange facers, we talked to Syed Samiullah (Product Trainer and Application Engineer – Middle East and Africa), Tim Rhodus (Area Sales Manager – US Gulf States East), and Colin Brown (Product Trainer and Application Engineer – UK).
Why use an OD Mount Flange Facer vs. an ID Mount Flange Facer?
“OD machines are mounted on the outside of the flange or pipe, making them the preferred option when there are obstructions that make it more challenging to set an ID machine inside the bore. Most OD machines will cut to dead zero center, something ID machines can’t do.” – Tim Rhodus
“OD mount flange facers are perfect for heat exchangers, headers, and covers, whereas ID machines cannot be mounted without some kind of custom-made tube sheet attachment.” – Syed Samiullah
What surface finishes can be achieved using OD Mount Flange Facers?
“The surface finish will depend on the type of cutting tool, the machine’s rotations per minute, depth of cut, and feed rate you set. For example, when setting the H&S TOOL ODF30 SPEED FACER at a feed rate of 0.203 mm/rev (0.008 inch/rev) with 2.5 mm (0.10 in) depth of cut, the achieved roughness is about Ra 63. Another example with the ODF70 SPEED FACER set at a feed rate of 0.813 mm/rev (0.03 inch/rev) with 0.254 mm (0.01 inch) depth of cut, the achieved roughness is about Ra 250,” said Syed.
Colin Brown added, “Every CLIMAX OD mount flange facing machine benefits from a variable feed rate of at least 0 – 0.914 mm (0 – 0.036 inch) per revolution. Users may set their required feed rate and test the outcome using a dial test indicator, which may be mounted on the tool post.”
What types of flanges can be machined with OD Mount Flange Facers?
“Many types of flanges can be machined using portable OD Mount Flange Facing technology. However, many machines will require additional assemblies to machine RTJs, hub-profiles, lens-rings, and compact flanges. The exception is the CLIMAX OD Mount Flange Facers, due to a unique slide assembly design that comes standard. Our machines are capable of machining every type of flange connection, including flat-face, raised-face, hub-profile, lens-ring, RTJ, and compact flanges.” – Colin Brown
Tim Rhodus added, “The CLIMAX and H&S TOOL machines are easier to set up and machine RTJs because the slide assembly can adjust 360 degrees and the tool holder can also independently rotate 360 degrees. This is unique, allowing users to position and machine any required angle.”
What does “Hands-Free” machining mean?
“Most flange facers on the market today are manually fed, requiring the operator to chase the feed device, inserting their hands into the rotating machine to manually advance the feed. This is very dangerous considering that worker fatigue is the number one cause of accidents in plants today. CLIMAX and H&S TOOL OD mount flange facers are equipped with an auto-feed system that keeps operators’ hands safe from moving and rotating parts while machining.” – Tim Rhodus
How are OD Flange Facers mounted?
“The new line up of H&S TOOL SPEED FACERS have a unique design to mount onto the OD flanges with minimum set up time. They need no welding, no special brackets, and no fixtures. The technician simply measures the flange OD, positions the jacking legs to the right locations as guided in the manual, jacks up the legs to the OD of the flange, sets up a dial indicator to face align and fine adjust with leveling jaw screws, and sets the cutting tool. It simply takes a few minutes going from the box to the flange, thus the name SPEED FACER. This feature plays a vital role in shutdown activities where time is of the essence.” – Syed Samiullah