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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Ficken

When to Cold Cut & Bevel Pipe with Splitframe Clamshells

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

There are several reasons why a service provider would want to utilize a portable splitframe clamshell machine in the field to sever, bevel and counterbore pipe. Lets explore some applications for utilizing the splitframe clamshell machine.

When to Consider Using a Splitfrmame Clamshell Machine

1. The Site is not Hot Work Safe

When considering how you will go about removing existing pipe in the field, you'll want to first think about safety. Is it viable to get a hot work permit for the site? Are you going to be working on a live piping system? Are there/were there flammable fluids that ran through the pipe and if so, will the pipe be completely cleaned out?

If you are working in an area of the plant that will not allow a hot work permit or you feel that there may be trace amounts of flammable materials/liquids in the piping system you are cutting into, you will want to consider using a splitframe clamshell machine.

2. Heavy Wall Applications

Another consideration for using a splitframe clamshell machine to cut, bevel and counterbore pipe in the field is the pipe wall thickness. Is the wall thickness great enough that it will actually save more time and labor hours to setup the clamshell machine and let it run versus cutting it with a torch or saw and then grinding a bevel? Typically after wall thickness gets to about an inch or greater, you will save time and labor hours on your project by utilizing a splitframe clamshell machine to simultaneously sever and bevel the pipe.

You will also want to consider the pipe material. Is this an exotic or high alloy application that may be messy to cut with a torch? The splitframe clamshell machine is essentially a portable lathe that creates machined finished bevels and cuts with no burrs or slag to clean up behind it.

3. Tight Clearance or Awkward Positions

Another time to consider using a splitframe clamshell machine for cold cutting and beveling pipe is if the existing pipe is in a tight clearance or a hard to reach area of the plant. If you are working in a tight clearance area it may be easier and safer to use the clamshell. Splitframes are designed to fit into tight spaces and still accurately cut and bevel pipe in-place. With the Esco Tool company's CoHog Splitframe Clamshell Machine, you only need about 6 inches of radial clearance and 6.7 inches of axial clearance. The CoHog clamshells also feature a rotating pneumatic motor mount which allows multiple positions for the air motor to fit into the space you have to work with. There are also 4 tripper pin locations to help you fit the machine into the space. It is also beneficial that these machines are extremely lightweight for their size and rigidity, which helps avoid accidents in the field when operators are tired.

**If working in the vertical position, consider utilizing our CHL Clamshell Alignment Clamps to assist with vertical setup of the machine. These innovative clamps will hold the clamshell in place and allow you to use set screws to precisely align the clamshell square to the vertical pipe for a perfectly sqaure cut and bevel.

Whether you're working in an area of the plant that is not hot work permitted or safe, cutting into heavy wall pipe or just want a clean, machined-quality bevel with no heat affected zone (or HAZ), Gulf States Industrial has you covered with machine rentals, training, demos, sales and 24/7 support for your most critical projects.

George Ficken

Owner - GSI




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