Testing the Quality of Pipeline Joint Protection Installation

Being a design engineer and project manager of more than 100 miles of large-diameter pipeline projects (greater than 36-in. diameter) and installation has led to the privilege of witnessing multiple contractors and different installation techniques of pipe joint protection sleeves. This also has led to the experience of seeing corrosion problems on polyurethane-coated steel pipelines at pipe joints that can many times be related to poorly installed joint protection shrink sleeves. It has also exposed how the installation techniques and knowledge varies from contractor to contractor and even from work crew to work crew. A growing experience and understanding led to the realization that the heat-shrink sleeves were an important key to protecting one of the most vulnerable areas of the pipe during the installation process, which also led to the need to try and provide owners with quality installation of these products. In gasketed and weld-after-backfill installation techniques, the heat-shrink sleeves provide a very important protection layer to the steel pipe at these crucial points along the pipeline. A majority of the leaks and failures on pipelines are at the joints no matter what material the pipeline happens to be, so the need to find a way to ensure a better quality installation of the heat-shrink sleeves on polyurethane-coated steel pipes became apparent. Therefore, after witnessing several projects where a field representative of the heat-shrink sleeve manufacturer came out on site and performed field testing and installation instruction with the contractor crew members, the need was apparent for design engineers and resident representatives to conduct testing on heat-shrink sleeves. This would provide the opportunity to catch errors or improper installation techniques early on in the pipeline construction to try and minimize future corrosion problems that could potentially cause leaks or damage on the line. This testing started being performed at the very beginning of pipeline installation to verify the sleeves are properly installed and performing as they are intended for the protection of the pipeline joints. Data and information will be presented on how and when to perform the testing, what to look for, how to follow up with the contractor's crew, and how to convey testing results with the manufacturer's representative if necessary. Addressing this testing in the specifications of each project will also be addressed. These tests have been very valuable and have positively corrected poorly installed heat-shrink sleeves on pipeline projects. These tests are simple, but very effective and when performed early in the construction process, can help protect multiple areas of vulnerability along many miles of large-diameter pipelines.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 496-505
  • Monograph Title: Pipelines 2014: From Underground to the Forefront of Innovation and Sustainability

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01536341
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784413692
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Aug 4 2014 3:01PM