Polyurethane is the ultimate workhorse.
Whether used as a spray, foam, a flexible, spongey elastomer or a solid that is as hard and tough (almost) as any diamond, polyurethane’s versatility means it can be molded into components of any size, shape and hardness.
The oil and gas industry demands a lot from its tools, including customization in the design-build phase and ongoing reliability in the field. Polyurethane parts stand up to any punishment thrown at them, and new ones can be quickly machined as needs change or evolve.
Urethane pipe spacers and casing spacers are placed around pipelines in underground and subsea applications. They make a perfect case study to illustrate what we’re talking about.
Put simply, these humble components keep pipes carrying oil and gas a specific distance apart. Outside of the oil and gas industry, they’re used to hold water, sewage, and electric pipelines in place. They also prevent damage to pipes and casing as they are being stored in pipe yards or transported to the field.
Pipelines protected by casing also use spacers to separate and isolate the carrier pipeline from the casing. Note: "Casing,” in this case, should not be confused with the "casing” pipe cemented in place to stabilize the wellbore during well construction.
How Spacers Work
Pipes may be made of steel, concrete, PVC, polyethylene, or plastic. Pipe spacers can be formed from various types of rubber and plastics, including polyurethane, polyethylene, PVC, carbon steel, and stainless steel. Along with the product the pipe carries and the environment surrounding the pipeline, the pipe’s material will determine what kind of spacers is appropriate.
Polyurethane, however, is our material of choice for the harsh environment of the oil and gas industry. When other materials often crack, break, tear, swell, abrade, and deteriorate, polyurethane can stand the test of time. Metallic and plastic spacers are vulnerable to problems that can slow down operations and ultimately lose revenue.
Urethane VS. Metal
- Noise Reduction
- Abrasion Resistance
- Less Expensive Fabrication
- Corrosion Resistance
- Easily Moldable
Urethane VS. Plastic
- High Impact Resistance
- Elastic Memory
- Abrasion Resistance
- Noise Reduction
- Variable Coefficient of Friction
- Thick Section Molding
- Lower Cost Tooling
- Low-Temperature Resistance
- Resistance to Cold Flow (or Compression Set)
Urethane VS. Rubber
- High Abrasion Resistance
- High Cut & Tear Resistance
- Superior Load Bearing Capacity
- Oil Resistance
- Ozone Resistance
- Broader Hardness Range
- Castable Nature
- Low-Pressure Tooling
Chart courtesy of Anderson Development Company
Polyurethane pipe spacers can be easily formed to your precise specifications because they are castable. Complicated design and engineering are usually required to adjust metallic pipe spacers, while urethane-based materials are easily formed into exact dimensions from simple silicone molds.
Over and above giving you long-term protection against corrosion, polyurethane pipe spacers also provide electrical insulation. Currents can travel through the carrier pipe and casing into the ground, but our urethane spacers act as buffers to diffuse hazardous electricity before it comes in contact with the piping.
Old-school pipeline workers will remember skids, straps, and saddles. These were primarily wooden planks fastened around the pipe. They are hard to secure to the pipeline. They are resistant to sliding and are often damaged before installation is complete.
They also require annulus space filler, such as pea gravel or sand. Because polyurethane spacers can be quickly installed and adjusted in the field, they take less time to place than those made from other materials.
Spacers slide into place with ease and can usually be installed by one person. They uniformly support the weight of the carrier pipe from day one without "settling” (like sand does), so adjustments aren’t as frequently needed.
Depend on Mark
For polyurethane spacers and other custom parts, depend on Mark Tool & Rubber. We can formulate a polymer for any application and adjust its mechanical properties through chemistry. This lets you solve problems and achieve performance characteristics other materials just won’t help with.
Since 1954, we have earned our reputation for producing the highest quality cast urethane and rubber tools of all kinds for the offshore and marine industries. Our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can handle every job, no matter how big or small. To order spacers for your pipe/casing, fill out our "contact” form now.