OTD Introduces European Flow-Stopping Technology to North American Market
June 11, 2015
Des Plaines, IL
In 2012, Operations Technology Development NFP (OTD)—a partnership of natural gas distribution companies formed to develop, test, and implement new technologies related to integrity, safety, and reliability of gas infrastructure and operations—initiated a project to evaluate large-diameter, medium-pressure flow-stopping equipment and assist with technology transfer to the U.S. natural gas industry.
Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a leading research and development (R&D) organization serving energy and environmental markets, led the project. GTI researchers set out to validate new flow-stopping technologies currently manufactured overseas that have the potential to provide the U.S. natural gas industry with significant savings in day-to-day operations while increasing operational efficiencies and safety. Researchers investigated several styles of flow-stopping systems and performed laboratory and field testing on large-diameter, low- and medium-pressure systems.
GTI identified a patented multi-dimensional safety stopper manufactured in the Netherlands. The Kleiss flow stopping technology offers the ability to stop-off gas flow on pipes from 2” up through 18” in diameter and pressures up to 60 psig.
Extensive lab testing of the system was very promising but did provide some recommendations for enhancements to meet the needs of the North American market. Based on GTI’s feedback, Kleiss optimized the system.
In 2013, a live demonstration of the medium-pressure stopping system was conducted in Michigan with DTE Energy on a 16-inch-diameter cast-iron main operating around 10 psig. In addition, Consolidated Edison Company of New York performed a field shut-off using the Kleiss flow stopping equipment on an 8-inch-diameter steel pipe in New York operating at 8 psig. Peoples Gas in Chicago demonstrated the system in a test environment on an 18-inch PE pipe operating at 25 psig. Overall, the demonstrations were successful and the system performed well in each case. Videos of the system in use can be found at www.mainlinecontrolsystems.com.
Atmos Energy Corporation in West Texas used the Kleiss equipment in March 2015 to repair a leak on a low-pressure system and is currently looking at having one more demonstration of the optimized system before approving the equipment enterprise-wide.
“I love the technology and think that it will fill a great void for Atmos Energy,” notes Jacob Lindsay, an Engineer at Atmos Energy. “One of the most useful features of the system is the ability to plug off a large range of pipeline diameters. We believe that the Kleiss system will help us greatly where we have oddball sizes, such as 5” and 7” pipelines, that can’t be plugged off easily with traditional equipment. Eliminating the need to measure wall thickness every time before we stop the flow in a pipeline will save time and effort.”
Based on positive response from the industry, the OTD project team led efforts to identify a North American commercialization partner. Several manufacturers and distributors were interviewed, and Mainline Control Systems (MCS) was selected to be the master distributor—stocking, supporting, training, and selling the Kleiss hot tapping and flow stopping systems and the necessary accessories.
MCS has the technical knowledge to educate and train personnel to operate the tooling. Additionally, MCS works with nationwide distributors who can provide the end users with local support teams that have strong industry and product knowledge.
Says Wade Farr, MCS Product Manager, Tapping & Stopping, “The Kleiss system is lightweight and easy-to-use. It operates safely with a gas-tight seal, has small fitting with taps up to 3”, and monitors system pressures without additional taps. Designed for all pipe materials – cast iron, polyethylene, PVC, and steel—it can be used as an emergency response tool as well as routine stopping equipment.”
The Kleiss system offer many advantages compared to traditional systems, along with opening new application opportunities. The stopping technology offers a more efficient, cost-effective way to stop gas flow. With the Kleiss technology, one system can be used in many applications, so crews no longer need a unique system for each pipe material. “It’s a great alternative to squeezing PE pipe,” notes Farr. “It surpasses the challenges associated with large-diameter thick-walled PE, and avoids the potential for cracking that vintage PE is susceptible to.”
“Having GTI involved with the equipment has helped calm the nerves of some of our employees and made acceptance easier,” says Lindsay. “I believe that without GTI and OTD looking at the equipment, it would have been very hard to implement it within U.S. companies.”
About Operations Technology Development (OTD)
OTD was established in 2003 as an Illinois not-for-profit company to facilitate voluntarily funded, collaborative research. OTD’s mission is to identify, select, fund, and oversee research projects resulting in innovative solutions and the improved safety, reliability, operational efficiency, and sustainability of gas systems.
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About Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
GTI is a leading research, development and training organization that has been addressing the nation's energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for nearly 75 years.
About Mainline Control Systems (MCS)
Mainline Control Systems (MCS) is a United States company formed to bring the unique Kleiss tapping and stopping system to North America. Kleiss & Co. is a Dutch company that has been in business since 1967. In 1998, Kleiss developed the patented MDS Stopper and 100% stop off system. MCS is in partnership with Kleiss to stock, support, and distribute the Kleiss systems across North America.