How Fabrication Serves The Industrial Boom

November 15, 2013

We recently posted an article about how fabrication serves the oil and gas boom. However, that is by no means the extent of the way fabrication serves the energy sector as a whole. With so much more oil and gas being recovered from wells that leaves a major need in the downstream sector. The refineries and petrochemical plants process these raw fuels into consumable products. Fabrication plays a huge role in this part of the process by equipping refineries and plants with the tools and machinery they need to ramp up production and keep pace with the glut of crude oil and natural gas that needs to be processed.

Why Fabrication Matters to the Industrial Boom

Fabrication is such a key component to the expansion of the industrial sector because it provides the piping and equipment that is required to bring new refineries and plants online as well as increasing capacity at existing ones. The fabrication companies delivering these services are in many ways the unsung heroes of the energy boom as they have had to quickly increase production to provide the framework needed. Modular fabrication and the building, delivery, and assembly must be fast, dependable, and high quality. Fabrication companies must be ready to manufacture and deliver very large projects in a short window for turnaround. The fab industry has been able to answer these demands by improving technology and scaling up the labor force as needed.

Key Materials and Equipment That Fabrication Supplies to the Industrial Boom

Fabrication is a very utilitarian process that provides a huge range of different materials, tools, and equipment as needed. Here are some of the key pieces that fabrication supplies:

Pipe – Pipe fabrication is important in all sectors of the oil and gas industry, from upstream, midstream, and downstream. In the downstream industrial sector it is pipes which bring in the crude oil or natural gas to be refined, and pipes which deliver the refined product to petrochemical plants where they can be further used to make the huge range of diverse products that our society depends on. Pipe fabrication is customized depending on the diameter and pressure needed as well as the composition of the substances that will be flowing through the pipes.

Boilers – We recently wrote an article about how boilers keep the plants and refineries running. They do this by converting chemical energy from a fuel source – often oil or gas – into heat which then heats fire tube or water tube boilers to generate steam. That steam can then be used for a variety of purposes such as to power the turbines for electric generating equipment, blowers, and pumps. The steam can also be used for climate control within the plant, either for human comfort or to keep the machinery and equipment at proper operating temperature. Finally, the steam itself is often used to in a production aspect of the plant, such as for sterilization or to achieve the requisite processing temperatures for the product. The takeaway message is that boilers are an extremely important, fundamental aspect of any plant or refinery and the fabrication industry is responsible for supplying these boilers as well as replacement parts needed for servicing and maintenance.

Heat Exchangers – Heat exchangers are tasked with the important role of providing temperature regulation for a plant or refinery. This is crucial because many functions of the plant or refinery call for a warm to hot running temperature, but it is very important that they do not overheat. Additionally heat exchangers must be tough enough to stand up to all types of physical and chemical stresses that are placed on them in the industrial setting without compromising their efficiency. Fabrication delivers quality, reliable heat exchangers that industrial companies can count on to get the job done. Fabrication can also create replacement parts for heat exchangers as needed, such as retubings, fin fans, condensers, chillers, and more.

Additional Benefits of Fabrication to the Industrial Boom

Above we discussed the need for fabrication within the industrial industry and some of the key equipment that fabrication provides. However, there are a number of overarching benefits of fabrication which apply to nearly all of the equipment and tools that it supplies for the industrial boom. For instance fabrication is:

Quick and Efficient – Piping, boilers, heat exchangers, and other industrial equipment is able to be manufactured very quickly using a modular fabrication process. This ensures that the plants and refineries don’t suffer productivity and revenue loss as a result of delays and extended downtime while they wait for equipment.

Highly Dependable – Fabrication delivers outstanding, dependable results. This is because the fabrication process allows for a high level of quality control and defect testing to be conducted, thus allowing any problems to be resolved prior to shipment.

Convenient to Transport and Install – Modular fabrication yields products that can be conveniently stored and shipped as needed. Once they arrive at the worksite they can then be quickly and easily installed with a minimal amount of disruption to workflow.

Fabrication will continue to be at the core of construction for the industrial surge the United States is experiencing. As the need for infrastructure grows…fabrication will be the means to deliver it.