Product Spotlight - Wastewater: April 2021

Product Spotlight - Wastewater: April 2021

Prying flanges apart to replace leaking valves without the right tools is often a time-consuming procedure. It can also be dangerous, as the come-a-longs, wedges, screwdrivers and crowbars typically used for the job can slip out if not operated perfectly. The Valve-Out flange-spreading tool from Specialty Maintenance Products takes the time and danger out of doing the job.

The cold-rolled steel tool consists of four spreader plates, eight bolt-hole pins (two for each spreader plate) that come in various diameters and fit into the flange bolt holes, and two spacer bars, which connect the pairs of spreader plates. Two jack bolts connect the spreader plates, exerting roughly 7 tons of pressure to pull apart the flanges on either side of a valve. This allows workers to slide out a damaged valve and replace it, along with any gaskets, if needed.

“Water and wastewater plants are comprised of multiple flanged valves and meters and their associated piping,” says Tyler Hemann, director of operations for Specialty Maintenance Products. “The safest way to spread the flanges is by grabbing the bolt holes. That is what the Valve-Out does.”

After removing all of the flange bolts, crews select the appropriate-size bolt-hole pins and slide them through the spreading plates, which are essentially two pivoting arms that butterfly out to fit various bolt-hole patterns. The pins are secured by pushing them through the spreader plates and then into the flange bolt holes. After each of the four spreader plates is affixed to the flanges and connected by the spacer bars, the tool operator simultaneously tightens two jack bolts, one attached to each pair of spreader plates via the threaded ends of the two spacer bars. As the jack bolts turn, they slowly expand the length of the spreader bars, which in turn forces the bolted-on spreader plates to spread the flanges apart.

“The municipalities using this in the field are blown away with the time and effort this tool saves,” says Hemann. “Many are actually leery of loaning it out to other cities because they don’t always get it returned.”

The system comes in three kits. The VOC 1 kit is designed to handle flanges with 3/4-, 7/8- and 1-inch-diameter bolt holes. The VOC 2 kit is designed to handle flanges with 1 1/8-, 1 1/4- and 1 3/8-inch-diameter bolt holes. The VOC 1-2 kit includes all six of the previously mentioned bolt-hole pins. 713-667-4402;


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