ABB completes two million cycles test on subsea choke actuator

Brighouse, England, 11 January 2002 - ABB has successfully concluded a unique test on a high technology Hydrostep subsea choke actuator which completed two million operating cycles after running 24-hours-a-day for nine weeks.

The qualification test, carried out by ABB Control Valves, was achieved against choke body pressure loads of up to 10,000 psig and witnessed by DNV.

It was undertaken as part of ABB's EPC contract on Enterprise Energy Ireland's offshore Corrib Field development which will provide gas for the Irish network. The project involves the ABB subsea team of ABB Offshore Systems, ABB Vetco Gray and ABB Control Valves.

"The choke will be the primary method of controlling the onshore flow of gas in an unusual requirement which means the valve could operate an unprecedented 600,000 times during field life," explained ABB Control Valves Development Engineer, Andrew Green.

The test was originally commissioned for a million actuator cycles, which were completed without any problems being revealed by routine checks every 100,000 cycles.

"When Enterprise suggested putting the two Directional Control Valves (DCVs) through one million cycles each, it was agreed to double the test length to give even greater confidence. The second million cycles were completed as uneventfully as the first, and the whole programme finished within the original time window," said Green.

The choke actuator and DCVs showed minimal indication of wear, and both units passed post-endurance acceptance tests with flying colours. All torque measurements and fluid leakage rates remained within factory acceptance levels for brand new equipment.

Added Green: "With approximately 500 Hydrostep actuators already installed on subsea chokes around the world, we were confident of field reliability. The results confirm our position as a market leader in high technology subsea choke products."

The test was carried out on a rig specially designed and built at the ABB Control Valves (Kent Introl) facility at Brighouse, in England, and will now be available for further development and test work.

ABB ( is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. ABB has 160,000 employees in more than 100 countries.

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