Radicon Completes Fifth Gearbox Installation On Brae Alpha


22nd January 2020

Radicon has this month installed its fifth set of case hardened gears on the Brae Alpha platform in the North Sea, helping to significantly reduce downtime on the rig.

SPX Flow approached the Elland-based industrial gearbox manufacturer at the end of May 2018 following a series of consistent gear unit failures on the North Sea platform.

Global supplier of highly specialised, engineered solutions, SPX Flow was concerned that the downtime caused by 20 failures in 15 years was alarming and Michael Sheedy, Contracts Manager, decided it was time to act.

Michael approached Amanda Lycett, Radicon's Key Account Manager for Scotland and Ireland and asked her to look at the Regal / Opperman HDA5 gear unit, which was connected to SPX's Union Glycol Pump.

Radicon's engineers confirmed that the failure of the motor pinion and mating first gear was due to neither being case hardened and profile ground, seriously affecting durability. Initially, Radicon looked at replacing the unit with an M08 in-line unit, but the differing shaft dimensions would need the coupling to be bored to suit. An alternative solution, changing the taper lock bush was also rejected as the pump skid would need to be modified to suit the M08. Radicon's answer was to reverse engineer the gears with case hardened gears, which would be quicker, cheaper and easier to achieve.

The first reversed gears were installed in September 2018, and since then, a further four units have been supplied.

With none of the new units failing, SPX Flow is delighted with Radicon's service. "Radicon's solution was the perfect resolution to the problem," says Michael. "Any change in equipment would have involved a material change, and because this was taking place on an offshore platform, it would have resulted in months of reviews, and we simply didn't have the time. Radicon came up with a very cost-effective solution. We are now in the process of upgrading all of the units on the platform. In fact, as we mark a year of working together, Radicon is just about to install the 5th replacement."

The Brae Alpha platform is one of the oldest platforms operating in the North Sea. Petroleum and natural gas exploration on the platform, which is some 170 miles north-east of Aberdeen, began in 1983.

The Radicon brand was first used by David Brown in 1933. In 2010, David Brown sold the division to Elecon Engineering, Asia's largest gear manufacturer, which now retains the intellectual property on all Radicon products. Today, Radicon employs 50 people across its UK sales, design and service teams. The company supplies 5,000 gearboxes and repair some 300 gearboxes every year to customers across a wide range of industries, including cement, water, mining and quarrying, oil and gas, power generation, mining and quarrying, food production, pulp and paper, steel and rubber and plastics.

To find out more about Radicon and its drop-in replacement service call 01484 465800 or email sales@radicon.com.

Radicon Completes Fifth Gearbox Installation On Brae Alpha radicon.fluidaa3.dyndns.org