Hot Tapping & Line Plugging

Tapping and plugging services are delicate, mission-critical operations that impact the very heart of your business and there are important questions to consider when choosing a provider: Is their equipment truly rated for the job they are intending or do? Is their equipment properly maintained and regularly serviced? Do their technicians have documented, formal training? Have their personnel been operator-qualified and tested? Do they tap by feel, or do they mathematically prove every task prior to ever touching a machine? Do they have the ability to communicate directly with factory engineers in the event of a problem? Is this type of work their primary area of expertise, or simply something that they do a few times a year?

RJ Stacey can provide concise answers to these questions and more. We have extensive training and years of field experience, as well as access to the industry’s most innovative equipment and unparalleled field support.

What is a hot tap?

Simply put, a hot tap is a process that gains access to a pipeline or pressure vessel for the purpose of making a branch connection or for the insertion of a mechanical linestopping head. This process is done at full operating pressure and with zero interruption to service or loss of product.

A hot tap is accomplished by first installing a permanent tapping fitting onto the existing pipeline. Next, a valve is mounted to the tapping fitting and the tapping machine is bolted to the valve flange. Once installation is complete, the entire configuration is leak tested to the operating pressure of the pipe and the valve is opened. At this point, the tapping machine performs the function of cutting a new branch outlet (special cutters retain the coupon cut from the pipe). When the cut is completed, the valve is closed and the tapping machine is removed with no impact on pipeline operation.

RJ Stacey has tapping capability from ½" to 102" pipe outlets, up to 2200 psi, and as high as 1200°F on materials including steel, cast iron, plastic, reinforced concrete piping (as well as blind flanges), elbows, and tank walls. Taps can be performed on pipelines containing any liquid or gas except oxygen.

What is a linestop?

In cases where a linestop is required, a typical hot tap would be performed first – the difference being that the valves installed on the tapping fittings would be specialty valves designed to be recovered online at the end of the project. After removal of the tapping machine, a plugging machine would be attached to the valve and a plugging head would be mechanically lowered into the pipeline to cut off the flow. Product is temporarily stopped downstream from this point. This is a single stop application. With the use of two plugging machines (at right) a double stop with bypass can be achieved to isolate a section of pipeline while keeping both upstream and downstream of repairs in service. After all work is complete, valves can be recovered by setting completion plugs into tapping fittings. Capabilities up to 2200 psi, and temperatures as high as 1200° F with pipe outlets ranging from ½" to 102" for any liquid or gas except oxygen.

These and other repairs can be seen in our Sample Projects section.