August 6

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Pipelaying Vessels Depend on Custom Rubber Products

Pipelaying Vessels (also known as pipelaying ships, or pipelayers) are an integral part of the interconnected subsea pipelines spanning the United States and the world. According to magazine, the United States extracts 1.5 million barrels of oil every day from offshore drilling, accounting for 30% of the country’s oil reserves. Some of these subsea pipelines are constructed as deep as 9,100 feet (2,775 meters) below sea level. These pipelines would not be possible without quality Pipelaying Vessels, which are extremely reliant on quality custom rubber products.

While Pipelaying Vessels vary in terms of size, location, and operational power, each is reliant on the heavy-lift crane, capable of lifting and manipulating hundreds of tons of pipeline at a time. There are two types of pipeline installation methods that utilize the heavy-lift crane: S-Lay and J-Lay.


Named for the shape this method produces, "S-Lay” creates an "S” beginning on the sea floor, curving up and then flattening out at the heavy lifting crane on the deck of the ship. This process requires a powerful and meticulousness balance of tension and forward thrust in order to maintain the integrity of the pipes, impossible without Rubber Tensioner Pads.


Similar to the S-Lay, the J-Lay forms a "J” shape by forming a straight row of pipes from the Pipelaying Vessel to the bottom of the sea floor, where a single curvature forms. The J-Lay has the ability to withstand the intense water pressure of the ocean depths, allowing for the placement of extremely deep piping. At these depths, Rubber Rollers are essential.

Both S-Lay and J-Lay use dynamic positioning in order manipulate the piping. Dynamic positioning incorporates computer-driven motion sensors and gyrocompasses in order to effectively place the immense lengths of pipes, at times installing piping spanning four miles in a single day.

Both methods rely on precise, customized rubber products in order to properly lay the pipe. Durable Tensioner Pads and expertly-formed Rubber Rollers are essential rubber products for the process.

Tensioner Pads: 

Custom Tensioner Pads are a necessity, especially when using the S-Lay method of pipelaying. The S-Lay method puts a heightened amount of force on the pipe, exerting pressure that can severely damage the piping. Tensioner Pads act to counterbalance these forces and protect the pipes, ensuring a smooth transition from the pipe laying vessel to the underwater depths below. Mark Tool & Rubber has a wealth of experience producing custom Tensioner Pads.

Tensioner machine in use on pipelaying vessel

Rubber Rollers: 

Rubber Rollers are placed around stationary piping to allow rotation when installing the pipes. Essential for welding purposes, these allow the pipes to be moved by the dynamic positioning devices without friction, tears, or leakage, ensuring that they are welded at the appropriate position. Superior customized rubber rollers are key for such applications, and Mark Tool & Rubber specializes in the production of high-end Rubber Rollers tested to withstand the harsh aquatic climate.

Without high quality Tensioner Pads and Rubber Rollers, any break and unevenness in the piping could prove disastrous, both financially and environmentally. A quality tension pad will ensure protection from friction and abrasion and maintain its durability well into the future.

Rubber has an immense advantage in the pipeline industry. It possesses an immense strength and a profound flexibility, able to endure repeated use without any loss to its integrity, even deep within the ocean. Other materials can allow for potential tears and leakage, an unnecessary risk to any Pipelaying Vessel. Rubber is also extremely malleable, and in the hands of strong rubber craftsmen, will ensure both quality and safety – two elements you can count on with Mark Tool & Rubber.

Roller systems on a pipelaying vessel

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