The bare hands of a lone rig worker can now generate hundreds of tons of force thanks to the introduction of a revolutionary separating and jacking device.

The bare hands of a lone rig worker can now generate hundreds of tons of force thanks to the introduction of a revolutionary separating and jacking device. The Thin Jack is set to provide a breakthrough for the hydrocarbons construction industry where it can save money by speeding-up a variety of jobs more typically associated with frustration and bad language.

Tasks such as flange separation or the removal of weight coatings from a pipeline are now made faster and easier by the Thin Jack. This patented device can be used to generate hundreds of tons of pressure to initiate movement in otherwise immovable objects. The device consists of two plates of very thin steel welded together around the edge and leaving a narrow metal tube protruding from the envelope. The Thin Jack can then be inserted into a gap as narrow as 2 millimetres and the tube connected to a hydraulic hand pump so that oil or water can be driven into the envelope at pressures up to 600 bar. The steel sheets are forced apart thereby converting all the energy from the pressurised fluid into forces perpendicular to the steel sheets. The force achieved is a function of area and pressure and can amount to up to 400 tons from a single Thin Jack. If more pressure or higher lift are required it is easily achieved by using more Thin Jacks.

Depending on the size used, the Thin Jack will expand a gap of just a few millimetres to one many times wider. Shims or wedges can then be inserted to maintain the gap and the used Thin Jack discarded. More Thin Jacks, or other expansion tools, can then be inserted into the space created and the process repeated.

Although the potential applications for Thin Jacks appear unlimited, field experience and proving trials have already shown them to be the ideal solution for some specific tasks. These include the separation of 30.35 inch flanges on cellar deck production trees. Thin Jacks are effective for this application because the force exerted overcomes internal friction within the tree and rust and corrosion on the flanges. Because of their relative simplicity, Thin Jacks also have the potential for numerous subsea applications by diver or ROV such as where safe and speedy removal of connector covers or doghouses is required.

Another valuable application is the removal of a concrete weight coating from a pipeline prior to installing jumpers or tie-ins. This was one of the earliest applications for Thin Jacks, and which now represents an ideal solution. A track is cut around the concrete jacket and Thin Jacks of similar circumference to the pipe’s jacket are inserted. A cut along the length of the pipeline is made, and a straight Thin Jack is inserted. When the Thin Jacks are activated they pressurise the entire surrounding concrete jacket so that it loosens from the pipe.

So far, Thin Jacks have been used to perform over 3000 operations, all without a single failure. Other applications can include the jacking and alignment of large or heavy structures with an ease, precision and economy that is difficult to achieve by other methods.

Thin Jacks are manufactured by welding craftsmen and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes designed to provide optimum performance in a range of applications. They can also be manufactured for specific tasks if required. They are much safer and faster to use than most improvised tools as they provide superior contact and pressure application and they provide the added cost benefit of causing less damage to the work piece than other methods.

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