Friction Tester

As a company specialising in high performance polyurethane materials, LUC has been supplying tensioner pads and track-shoes to the pipe and cable laying industry for many years. This includes the supply of parts for new builds to OEM’s as well as spare parts directly to the pipe and cable laying companies.

Due to the nature of the application the coefficient of friction is one of the key elements in the system, but coefficient of friction for systems involving elastomers is also very complicated due to the non-linear behaviour of the elastomer. In order to increase the knowledge about this phenomenon LUC developed and build a lab scale friction tester in the early 2000’s. With this equipment a lot of data was acquired and friction models were established, and the equipment is still in use at present day.

From the industry there is an increasing demand not only for friction models to determine suitable materials, but also for full scale testing. With full scale testing, using actual tensioner pads and products (pipes, cables, umbilicals etc.) under realistic load conditions, new possibilities will arise:

  1. Improving and extending friction models with more realistic and extended ranges of data. This will enable LUC not only to make more accurate recommendations but also to develop new and improve existing materials.

  2. Facilitate development of new tensioners and tensioner pads, with the ability to test pads before the actual tensioner has been built or a full series of pads has been manufactured.

  3. Carry out qualification tests before the start of a specific lay project.

  4. Quality control and certification of parts before these are supplied to the customer.

In 2014 LUC decided to invest in the development and build of a such a full scale friction tester. The equipment will have several different operation modes and can simulate both 2- and 4-track situations. Squeeze loads which can be applied can go up to loads common for tensioners up to 500 T.

It is expected that the equipment will become operational in 2019. LUC’s engineers will then start to carry out test and development work on the new equipment, in many cases in close cooperation with the customer.

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