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Arc Energy Resources has supplied what is claimed to be the world’s largest vortex flow control unit as part of a contract to produce five Hydro-Brake flow controls for a flood prevention scheme.

Arc Energy Resources, a principal fabricator to Hydro International, is supplying the unit as part of Glasgow city council’s GBP53m White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme.

The scheme covers the White Cart Water and its tributaries and involves the formation of three flood storage reservoirs upstream of the city, which are capable of temporarily holding back the millions of gallons of floodwater generated by extreme rainfall.

The five conical-shaped Hydro-Brake flow controls allow water to flow through the reservoir dams normally up to a predetermined height, after which the increasing velocity causes a vortex to form.

The air pressure within the vortex ‘throttles’ the flow of water, slowing it down and allowing the reservoir to fill up.

Water is then released to flow through the city in a controlled manner.

Each of the five units differs slightly in design; the largest being 6m in diameter and 8m long with an outlet size of 1.8m.

The two largest Hydro-Brake flow control units were also too large to be transported by road and too heavy to lift by helicopter, so with input from Arc Energy, each was designed in sections to create a ‘former’.

When installed, the 12mm-thick stainless steel formers will be encased in 600mm-thick reinforced concrete to provide the structural strength required to withstand a flow-through of water estimated at 8,800 tonnes per second.

In total, 60 tonnes of stainless steel were used in the manufacture of the five Hydro-Brake flow control units.

Arc Energy Resources

Arc Energy Resources is one of the UK’s leading specialists in weld overlay cladding and quality-assured fabrication services with a turnover approaching £5m, employing 70 staff in work space totalling more than 30,000ft2. The company’s expertise in weld overlay cladding services provides heavy-duty protection against corrosion and wear for process and pipeline equipment destined for use in any hostile environment. It can clad bores up to 4m in diameter and areas of restricted access within bores as small as 20mm in diameter.

The manufacturing infrastructure is qualified to ISO 9001:2008, ISO 3834-2, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 18001:2007. The company also holds ASME U and R stamp certificates of authorisation, which qualifies it to fabricate and weld on components destined for use on pressure vessels built to ASME standard.

Arc Energy’s welders and fabricators are qualified to internationally recognised standards and specifications. A wide range of base metal/cladding combinations has been qualified to ASME IX, API 6A and NACE. In addition, Arc Energy offers in-house test weld, heat treatment, PMI and NDT facilities.

Arc Energy has recently invested £500,000 in two new rotating-head welding machines to increase productivity and extend the size and scope of work the company can handle. While conventional workstations move components around a fixed welding torch, the new machines use automated controls to manipulate the welding torch around a fixed component, accurately positioning it to apply the overlay while working close to the component’s footprint. The investment expands and enhances Arc Energy’s ability to handle complicated component geometries for the full or partial cladding and fabrication of a huge range of component sizes weighing anywhere up to 15 tonnes.

Managing director Alan Robinson is one of very few UK-registered European welding engineers. He has a Master's degree in welding and is a chartered engineer, a European engineer and a senior member of the Welding Institute. He has assembled a highly skilled team capable of delivering quality service from enquiry to delivery and beyond, which can engineer the perfect solution to the biggest of challenges.

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