Fort Vale has launched a new high-pressure version of its Safeload API coupler to complement its existing range. It is aimed at applications that demand up to 16 bar internal pressure on the rack and 10 bar when coupled.
Safeload was the first, and remains the only coupler with extended ‘wrap around’ latches that follow the profile of the API adaptor, covering over 50% of the circumference. This feature ensures maximum safety and security of connection, drastically reducing any risk of product leakage. In comparison to conventional narrow triggers, the increased surface area contact significantly reduces wear to both the latches and the adaptor, which prolongs the serviceable life of both units.
The existing model has been re-engineers to withstand the high pressure application. The spindle, crank and poppet have been re-designed to offer greater inherent strength and reduced turbulence, which enhances flow characteristics. Additionally, the new coupler has a smaller ‘active pressure area’ and a dual seal system, which reduces the effect of product displacement, making it easier to close the coupler against a retained line pressure.
The coupler also incorporates a new additional safety feature, the interlock latch, which is designed to eliminate accidental actuation of the coupler in case of lateral impact, thereby preventing the risk of product spillage. The interlock latch will be a key element of all the current range of semi-automatic and manual couplers by 2016.
To replicate the endurance testing previously carried out on the standard semi-automatic Safeload, the high-pressure coupler is currently undergoing 250,000 cycles where it is pressurised with fluid to 16 bar in the disconnected position, de-pressurised, connected to the adaptor and opened, pressurised with fluid to 10 bar, closed, de-pressurised and de-coupled. 175,000 cycles constitutes approximately five years of service at four operations per hour, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, representing a ‘busy’ terminal. At regular intervals, the coupler was removed and disassembled to monitor any wear and no significant wear is evident on critical components. The amount of liquid loss on disconnection has been measured and, over 100 cycles, is 74% less than the regulation permitted 5cc, which is based on just three consecutive disconnects.
No leakage from the sealing areas or castings was detected in various cycle and pressure pneumatic tests.
Euan Fisher, business development manager for Petroleum Transfer Products, says: ‘One of our European clients has 150 Fort Vale couplers in service and has had zero maintenance issues after seven years of constant heavy use. The product comes with a three year warranty.