The world of Engineered Composite Repair Systems is constantly changing. These changes go far beyond just the manufacturing and training on ECR’s, but how and where these systems will be applied. It began with an industry need for a better repair option, which led to ‘rogue composite installations’ resulting in random combinations of fiber and matrix to create a non-engineered repair. The products were not tested and installer training consisted of a five-minute tailgate session from the manufacturer, if the materials even came from a manufacturer. Today we have thoroughly tested, engineered products that hit mark. They are on a fast track to becoming the first line of repair for many users’ industries.
Twenty years ago, industry standards for composite repair systems did not exist. Not only were there no standards, but there was only a small following of composites used in refineries, chemical plants, and paper mills. Most of the followers and users of composites believed they could create a better system for a fraction of the cost. This thought process existed due to lack of standards and material qualifications which are currently in use today. This was the era of the “Rogue Composite Installations.” At the time, the only mandate for composite repairs was that they were a low-cost solution. Installers responded to this one mandate with minimal layer counts that were mirrored on every repair. The only detail that seemed to matter was cost. Many other factors which are absolute essentials in 2018 had little bearing on these materials twenty years ago. How is the pipe cleaned? What is the proper surface profile? Is the product compatible to what is in the pipe? Has it been professionally engineered and thoroughly tested? How does one properly install the product and what is the material’s curing protocol? Today, it is unimaginable that you wouldn’t have the answers to these questions, but twenty years ago not only was not having these answers was commonplace, but the questions were not even being asked. That path ultimately led to many failures of these ‘Rogue Composite Installs” due to the lack of understanding of how ECR’s worked, untested products and methods, and a complete lack of proper training.
Fast forward to present day. Engineered composite repair systems (ECR’s) are here to stay. ECR’s are currently being tested to the highest standards as defined by ASME PCC-2 Repair Standard, “Non-Metallic Composite Repair Systems for Pipelines and Pipework: High Risk” and ISO-24817. Not only do these standards aid with equations used in the engineering design of the repairs, but also how the materials must be tested and qualified. These standards also provide manufacturer’s guidance on training and installers’ skill levels and ethical responsibilities. Composite installations are documented through internal and manufacturer quality control processes that can help to validate the repair through trained and qualified installers and established hold points and inspection protocols. When all the steps have been completed in accordance to the manufacture’s recommendations and training guidelines, you can rest assured the days of the “Rogue Composite Installs” are over. ECR’s success are on the rise. Clients are asking for them by name.
If you ask my adult children what I say about integrity, they would tell you that “integrity is the only thing we own.” This applies to everything in life. Marriage, taxes, and yes, even composites. Your composite repair will undoubtedly be a success if you follow the process, refer to your training, and don’t allow your integrity to be compromised throughout the process. In the end, integrity is what you do when no one is looking.
For more information about NRI and NRI-U training programs, please visit www.neptuneresearch.com.