Any mechanical system that handles high pressures needs strong fasteners that operate to specific metrics. In order to assemble and maintain these systems, you need the appropriate tools for the job.
In terms of bolt assembly and tightening, hydraulic tensioners are great tools for applying fastening force to bolts. When used well, they can improve the quality of the high-pressure system and add to construction and maintenance efficiency.
What Does a Hydraulic Tensioner Do?
To break it down, a hydraulic tensioner is actually an annular jack that is designed to provide force. Force is provided to the end of the bolt in question, and the nut is turned until sufficiently tight. The force load applied by the hydraulic tensioner is gradually released, and the force is maintained in the shank of the bolt where it should be.
Hydraulic tensioners can even be set up to tighten multiple bolts at the same time in situations with flanged connections, for example. The right amount of force applied singularly or to multiple bolts also ensures a leak-free connection, which is critical for industries like gas processing and treatment pipelines (among others).
A high-quality and properly installed hydraulic tensioner should increase the efficiency of a machine in terms of reliance and power. This, in turn, has a direct result on pressure and speed which gives the top-level performance needed (and desired).
How Does a Hydraulic Tensioner Improve Performance and Efficiency?
Hydraulic tensioners provide several performance and efficiency advantages — one being that they can operate with bolts that range in diameter (and can easily be used for bolts two inches in diameter or more). By eliminating the friction issue (also called the k-factor or nut factor), hydraulic tensioners simply make tightening more accurate.
Not only that, but hydraulic tensioners also impact the overall lifespan and longevity of the fastener itself. Lessening friction and noise in the system ultimately reduces strain and wear on the fastener.
That’s not all. Hydraulic tensioners provide a whole host of efficiencies, saving valuable time and without compromising safety or performance. Some of these include:
- No additional lubrication
- Pressure loads can be calculated accurately and appropriately depending on specs
- Fast installation
- Easy operation
- Consistency in force (creating uniformity across the entire setup)
- Simultaneous multi-bolt fastening capabilities
- Applies across a wide range of bolt sizes
- Tension is maintained over time
- Handles up to 60,000 psi worth of tension
- Work underwater just as well as above ground
- Tensioners are low maintenance and have a high performance record
Hydraulic tensioners can also provide 50 percent or more force coverage, which outperforms torque wrenches and manual tensioners. Mechanical accuracy and maximum production are the main reasons companies rely on hydraulic tensioners, especially in high-pressurized systems.
In larger systems wind turbines, refineries, reactor pressure vessels, etc., the smaller components — literally the nuts and bolts — are what we’re talking about here. Hydraulic tensioners allow things to be fastened and connected correctly, directly impacting the larger operating system and mechanisms.
One example of a highly efficient hydraulic tensioner is the Enerpac PGTD3655S, a product Aztec trusts and carries. Aztec is a member of the American Wind Energy Association, so we know which tools and equipment are needed to do the job right.
An Example of Hydraulic Tensioner Application
Consider the application example in a wind turbine. A hydraulic tensioner is specifically designed to make sure the fifth wheels, bolts, nose, and blades are fastened and tightened properly. The idea behind a hydraulic tensioner is that it fits over both the bolt and nut that needs to be tightened without adding torque. Torque adds unnecessary friction to these essential pieces, causing misaligned threading, insufficient tightening, and even risking breakage.
By using a hydraulic tensioner in assembly and maintenance, torque and fastening specifications are met more accurately, leading to reduced vibrational noise. That, in turn, improves overall performance and efficiency in the system.
Optimize Your Bolting Process
At Aztec, we are a full-service bolting technology provider. We’ve been going strong since 1987, and our team has supported projects across a variety of industries:
- -Refining Oil and Gas
- -Wind Generation
- -Construction and Maintenance
- -Power Generation
- -Pipeline Construction and Maintenance
Aztec supports custom fabrication and specialty construction needs. We also partner with tool brands such as Enerpac, Skidmore-Wilhelm, and Norbar. Whether you need a tool for rental or purchase, we can help with repairs, calibrations, and even bolt application training initiatives for your own team.
Connect with us today to learn more about our products and services.