Cogbill’s RedLineIPS SmartPads System Explained



Abstract

Cogbill’s RedLineIPS SmartPads System, patent-pending, is a composite system that offers revolutionary corrosion protection to industrial piping systems at pipe support points. This is often termed “Corrosion Under Pipe Supports” (CUPS), and sometimes “Corrosion Under Support” (CUS) for short.

When a pipe is resting on a support structure, it moves and vibrates due to rotating equipment, fluid flow, expansion and contraction due to temperature changes, etc. This movement causes friction between a pipe and its support, which over time erodes the protective paint coat, thus exposing the pipe’s surface to the elements. Given the restricted airflow in that region, water molecules are retained for longer periods. The entire chain of events and conditions causes the pipes to corrode, and eventually fail.

The RedLineIPS SmartPads System is a new solution designed from the ground up to remedy the CUPS problem and prevent it from ever occurring. This is done by:

  1. The SmartPad’s shape saddles the pipe to protect its protective coating from erosion caused by friction between the pipe and its supporting structure.

  2. It prevents water molecules from ever forming at the pipe/pad interface.

The SmartPads system is an all-composite, fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP), epoxy-free solution that utilizes a specialized Hydroseal gasket, patented composite straps, and a unique tooling system to fasten our SmartPads to industrial pipes, in seconds. The SmartPad’s shape allows it to cradle a pipe without point-loading, support a pipe, and also to protect it from corrosion at the pipe support points. The SmartPads do not require epoxy, thus eliminating the associated difficulties and costs of gluing a wear pad to a pipe. The system does not have any metallic components, which would have made it susceptible to corrosion. This also means it doesn’t require any welding or line shutdown.

Millions are spent every year on lifting, repairing, and re-coating pipe surfaces damaged by friction and metal-to-metal contact that lead to corrosion. Billions are lost annually due to corroded piping. Corrosion at the pipe support points not only eats away at budgets but can also lead to costly shutdowns and even catastrophic failures.

Cogbill’s RedLineIPS FRP SmartPads System solves all these problems by integrating time-proven materials and components with the latest technologies, to create faster, safer, smarter, and more efficient pipe supports, at a far greater value.

Cogbill Construction

Cogbill Construction, LLC, was established in 1999 to serve industrial customers in Southeast Texas and Southwestern Louisiana in the fields of industrial construction and plant shutdowns and turnarounds. Two decades later, Cogbill has added custom metal and composite (FRP) fabrication services, and now serves the entire North American continent with its products.

Our composite (Fiberglass-Reinforced Plastics, FRP) fabrication services and products focus on pipe corrosion and vibration protection. Such products include the RedLineIPS SmartPads System (the epoxyless version of FRP wear pads), epoxied-on FRP Wear Pads, FRP Slide Plates, FRP Clamp SmartInserts, and FRP ducts and panels, to name a few.

Corrosion Under Pipe Supports (CUPS)

An industrial piping system typically rests on supporting structures at intervals predetermined by engineering specifications. These supports can be made from concrete, steel, wood, etc. Such piping systems often vibrate and move due to expansion and contraction (both seasonally and between day and night), rotating equipment such as pumps and compressors, fluid flow, etc. As a result, and due to the physical contact between a pipe and its supporting structure and these types of movements, these contact regions or points often rub and scratch off a pipe’s protective coating. Over time, this removes that protective coating entirely, leaving expensive piping bare and exposed to the elements such as humidity, heat, salt, oxygen, etc. There is a reduction in airflow in the area where the pipe and support meet, which causes moisture to remain for longer periods. As a result of all these factors, corrosion starts to set in.

Once a pipe starts to corrode, corrosion cells slowly but steadily spread, eating the pipe from the outside in, until it punctures and chemicals leak out, causing lost assets at least, and catastrophic failure and the loss of life at worst.

Unprotected Pipe

Corroded Pipe

Solving this problem typically involves either protection or inspection and remediation. Inspection can be costly, while remediation oftentimes involves line shutdown and safety hazards, in addition to the actual cost of remediation. Proper protection eliminates this problem before it occurs. To protect piping systems from corrosion, numerous solutions have been developed over the past few decades, to varying degrees of success, failure, and cost.

Existing Solutions

Numerous attempts have been made over the past few decades to protect piping systems from corrosion at the pipe support contact points (CUPS). Metal wear plates that cradle a pipe are either fully welded or tack-welded to a pipe at these contact regions to protect them from friction, and they can be an effective solution.

Welded Metallic Saddle Corrosion

Welded Metallic Saddle Failure

However, these metallic types of saddles do not stop corrosion, not to mention that the installation process requires line shutdown and welding permits, which would halt production for the duration of the procedure. Metallic wear pads can also become a safety hazard if moisture is trapped in crevices between the pad and the pipe, causing the formation of hidden corrosion cells.

Metal round bars have also been used to raise pipes above their supports to promote airflow. However, such bars point-load the pipe and cause increased stress at the point of contact. This causes more problems than it solves. Their plastic counterparts often fail and break off, or simply cause the same point-loading and damage.

Metallic Round Bar

Metallic Round Bar Failure

Plastic Rod Isolation

Plastic Rod Failure

Rubber, Neoprene, TEFLON, and PTFE flat sheets are sometimes wrapped around a pipe in those regions to isolate it from its supporting structures. However, these sheets often slide off, fall off, or are torn apart due to high friction forces, thus exposing the pipe to the elements again. In the end, they all lead to corrosion.

Rubber/Neoprene Non-Metallic Isolators

PTFE/Teflon Non-Metallic Isolators

All these solutions, including traditional FRP wear pads that cradle a pipe and use epoxy to be fastened to a pipe, usually require special inspection procedures to verify their effectiveness over time. Inspection devices and processes, including X-Ray, EMAT, radar, lasers, etc., are costly. Lifting pipes and recoating them at these weakening points is even more costly.

Traditional FRP Wear Pads

Since the design of the SmartPads resembles that of epoxied-on FRP wear pads, we will give these pads a bit more attention and discuss their strengths and weaknesses in greater detail. Epoxied-on, or glued-on, FRP wear pads are a proven and effective solution to combat Corrosion Under Pipe Supports. The pads effectively separate and support the contact region of a pipe without point loading and damaging the pipe over time.

They offer advantages over their metallic counterparts in that there are no metallic components, and as such, they do not require welding permits or line shutdowns. However, FRP wear pads do have a few drawbacks, especially when compared to our SmartPads design, as follows:

  • The installation process is laborious and can take 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the experience of the installer and various environmental factors.

  • Thorough and meticulous pipe surface cleaning and roughening are required for the epoxy to properly adhere to the pipe.

  • The installation process requires an additional 24 hours of cure time for the epoxy to effectively bond the pad to the pipe.

  • The epoxy must fully cover the inner surface of the pad, and a sealing perimeter bead of epoxy around the entire pad is also required to prevent water molecules from entering the pad/pipe interface. Dirt and other impurities, as well as imperfect workmanship, can all allow water molecules to enter between the pad and the pipe, rendering the pads useless in protecting pipes from corrosion. Replacing or repairing damages caused by trapped moisture can cost thousands to millions of dollars.

  • The use of epoxy is particularly cumbersome and messy in the summer and can be almost impossible to use in extremely cold weather conditions.

  • Faulty installations are possible; installer experience is critical.

  • The process requires several components to be maintained on hand.

  • The process may require a paint touchup afterward.

The SmartPads System

The SmartPads System is an innovative solution made from components and materials that have been on the market for many years. However, these components have either been redesigned or are combined in a new and innovative manner to better solve the CUPS problem, at a fraction of the overall cost of competing solutions. Some components are used as-is, while others required some intelligent design modifications to suit the problem at hand and to create a better and more effective pipe corrosion protection solution.

In short, the SmartPads System protects piping systems from CUPS in the following manner:

  1. The SmartPads themselves are all-composite FRP wear pads with special design modifications, including two recessed grooves to allow our SmartBands to sit recessed into the pad’s body. The recesses anchor the bands firmly in place while protecting them from being damaged by the pipe support.

  2. A closed-cell Hydroseal gasket is pre-installed on the inner surface of each SmartPad. These gaskets are capable of offering NEMA 4 watertight seal when compressed.

  3. The SmartPad, with its Hydroseal gasket, is placed underneath the pipe at the pipe support point to isolate it from its supporting structure and to protect it from wear.

  4. Composite SmartBands are looped around each SmartPad into the recessed grooves, and composite buckles are attached to the SmartBands.

  5. Our SmartTool is then used to apply a high rate of tension to tighten the SmartBands, thus compressing the Hydroseal gasket. This, along with the pipe’s compressive load, creates a NEMA 4 water-tight seal, effectively eliminating the possibility of moisture ingress between the pad and the pipe.

  6. Finally, the built-in clipping mechanism of the SmartTool is used to cut off excess banding.

  7. The installation process takes only seconds.

  8. The SmartPads can be removed, in seconds, by cutting off the SmartBands to visually inspect the pipe. They can then be reinstalled, again in seconds, using the original SmartPad and gasket.

  9. The SmartPad’s body will also protect the pipe’s surface from friction at the contact region, thus preserving the pipe’s protective coating.

SmartPads System Components

The SmartPads System consists of four main components, as follows:

  1. Composite (FRP) SmartPad

  2. Hydroseal Gasket

  3. SmartBand & Buckle (all composite)

  4. SmartTool

  5. Chemical Resistant Option: Teflon Strips

1. Composite (FRP) SmartPad

The SmartPads are made from a true Laminated Vinyl Ester Composite material. They are designed, manufactured, and tested specifically to be used as pipe supports. Our composite material consists of many layers of continuous strand mat laminate (see below), impregnated with top-quality vinyl ester resin.

Continuous Strand Mat

Most manufacturers of FRP wear pads re-purpose low-cost filament wound (see below) FRP duct or FRP pipe/tubing. These are designed to carry corrosive internal media, but were never designed to be used as pipe supports.

Filament Wound

The SmartPad’s fiber-reinforced composite material has a high load capacity rating and a low friction surface. This allows the SmartPad to effectively support and protect a pipe as it slides over a beam or support location. Our composite material is UV stable and load tested to ensure peak performance in the most demanding applications such as marine, off-shore, and other highly corrosive environments.

2. Hydroseal Gasket

Our SmartPad’s Hydroseal gasket is the key component for preventing water molecules from entering the interface between a pad and a pipe to cause corrosion. The gasket consists of a closed-cell structure resembling a memory-foam mattress for pipes. Once compressed, the gasket conforms to the pipe’s outer surface, effectively dampening vibration and improving impact resistance.

The key feature of our Hydroseal gasket is the watertight NEMA 4 seal it creates, when it compresses, between a pipe and the SmartPad’s exoskeleton. This solves the prevailing problem associated with FRP wear pads and similar solutions that depend on epoxy to create a watertight seal. Our gasket system eliminates the chances of moisture getting trapped between the pad/pipe interface. Once moisture is taken out of the equation, a corrosion cell cannot form. Installer error in an epoxied-on system could lead to moisture traps and severe crevice corrosion issues that could remain hidden and undetected for years; a problem our patented system remedies.

Hydroseal Gasket Features:

  • Resilient, closed-cell elastomer that conforms to a pipe’s outer surface to create a waterproof, NEMA 4 seal once compressed

  • Eliminates the need for a perimeter epoxy seal

  • Eliminates the possibility of moisture traps

  • Eliminates the possibility of faulty installations

  • Broad temperature options (-60 to 570F)

  • Long-life materials: Silicone, PTFE, EPDM, etc.

  • Chemical-resistant options available

  • Suitable for harsh environments such as coastal and off-shore locations

3. SmartBands

The SmartBands are used to fasten SmartPads to pipes. SmartBands are heavy-duty, continuous-strand fiberglass-reinforced polymer straps that do not have any metallic components or parts. When the bands are tensioned using the SmartTool, they will be securely fastened and will not slip or fall off. The only way to remove them is to cut them off. The large amount of tension, combined with the weight of the pipe itself, will cause the Hydroseal gasket to become compressed. This creates the NEMA 4 watertight seal that prevents water molecules from collecting between the pads and the pipe, which causes corrosion (CUPS) over time.

The teeth on each SmartBand will prevent the release of tension over time. This means the NEMA 4 seal will remain as long as the SmartPad is installed, and for the duration of its lifecycle, between 20 and 30 years, and possibly more.

SmartBand Features:

  • Heavy-duty, continuous-strand fiberglass-reinforced polymer straps & buckles

  • All-composite, non-metallic, non-corrosive

  • Smooth inner surface, safe on a pipe’s coated surface

  • Low-profile buckles

  • High strength, up to 5,793 lbf

  • Long-life materials

  • Safe and easy to fit

  • High-speed installation

  • High retention force

  • Suitable for subsea use

4. SmartTool

The RedLineIPS SmartTools are specially designed to tighten the SmartBands, which in turn fastens the SmartPads to the pipe with the necessary tension to be retained for the lifetime of the system. The tool, in all its variants, is capable of creating more than enough force to compress the Hydroseal gasket to create a NEMA 4 watertight seal, without even factoring in the weight of the pipe itself. This mechanism prevents corrosion from ever forming between the pad/gasket and the pipe.

The tools are made from high-grade composite and metallic materials capable of applying high rates of force without damage or deformation. Their design entails ergonomic hand grips, for both convenience and proper operation. A built-in mechanism to cut off excess banding is included, for both convenience and speed of operation.

SmartTools come in three varieties: Manual for quick operation, mechanical for precise application of specific force ratings per engineering standards, and pneumatic for quick installation of large numbers of SmartPads.

SmartTool Features:

  • Fast and easy to use

  • Manual, mechanical, or pneumatic

  • Applies high rates of force

  • Creates NEMA 4 watertight seal between pad/gasket and pipe

  • Built-in clipping mechanism to cut off excess banding material

  • Usable below the waterline

5. Optional: TEFLON Strips, Chemical Resistant Option

Some chemical processes involve highly corrosive materials that may damage the SmartPad or the Hydroseal gasket. As such, a TEFLON strip can be applied to the perimeter of the Hydroseal gasket to protect it as well as the edges of the SmartPad from such corrosive chemicals. A wide variety of materials can be utilized for this purpose, with TEFLON being the most common. This strip is represented by the white material at the perimeter in the model.

SmartPads System Benefits

The SmartPads System is the latest of many competing solutions designed to solve the expensive problem of corrosion under pipe support (CUPS). While each solution has its pros and cons, the SmartPads System offers numerous advantages and benefits that no other solution offers or combines. Among such benefits are:

  • Heavy-duty, all-composite material

  • Eliminates metal-to-metal contact

  • Prevents external corrosion in piping systems at the pipe support points

  • Epoxyless SmartPads offer effective corrosion protection benefits without the problems associated with epoxied-on FRP wear pads

  • Installs in seconds

  • Quick removal and reinstallation

  • Allows visual inspection for corrosion, in seconds

  • 100% install success rate

  • NEMA 4 watertight seal between pipe and pad/gasket

  • Removable: In seconds, allowing future visual inspections at reduced labor costs (approx. half the overall cost)

  • Reusable: Cost-effective and green solution

  • Versatile: Offers a wide range of gasket materials to meet specific applications, including corrosive chemicals resistant options

  • Dampens vibration and noise

  • Installs on live lines

  • No welding permits or line shutdown required

  • -60°F to 400°F (-51C to 204C) operating temperature

Speed of Installation

The RedLineIPS SmartPads System has no viable competitor when it comes to ease and speed of installation. The pads install in seconds, while other solutions entail the long processes of welding or the application of epoxy or adhesives. For example, epoxied-on FRP wear pads can take 15-30 minutes to install, plus an additional 24 hours or more of epoxy cure time, depending on ambient temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors. Installer experience also plays a major role in the successful installation of these pads. Our SmartPads System does not require any cure time. Also, installers are not required to perform any touch-up work to seal the pad to the pipe, since no epoxy is involved. Furthermore, our self-sealing Hydroseal gasket is designed to reduce the risk of a faulty installation, making the system even safer and more efficient.

Additionally, and in the rare occasion a SmartPad, for one reason or another, is installed incorrectly, or installed at the wrong location, it can be easily removed and re-installed, with minimal time and cost requirements. The same applies if a SmartPad must be removed for visual inspection purposes; this process will only take seconds. Epoxied-on FRP wear pads cannot be removed once the epoxy cures, even for inspection purposes, unless chiseled off. Welded metallic wear pads will be even harder to remove.

To view a side-by-side installation comparison in action between our SmartPads System and epoxied-on FRP wear pads, please visit our YouTube channel or website, links below. It took less than two (2) minutes to install a SmartPad vs. twelve (12) minutes for an epoxied-on wear pad. That test was conducted on a brand new pipe and by an experienced installer. On average, contractors will charge clients an average of one hour per FRP wear pad to install once surface preparation and touch-ups are accounted for.

SmartPads in Operation

The SmartPad System has been in service since 2018 in facilities near the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, a few major customers are deploying the system in pilot programs, for both assessment purposes and full adoption. Among those customers are Chevron, Formosa, and Nutrien, all located in the Gulf of Mexico or near coastal regions.

For more information, technical specifications, and video demonstrations, or to order, please visit or contact us as follows:

Cogbill Construction, LLC
2325 S. Main St. Vidor, TX 77662
https://cogbillconstruction.com/composite-smartpad-system
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnDDaHRvS_Q
https://youtu.be/2EtPxQmXaHQ
https://youtu.be/F6VYFFCelnQ
Email: Sales@RedLineIPS.com
Sales@CogbillConstruction.com
Phone: 409-768-1419
Fax: 409-768-1782

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