Proper tool training saves money, time, headaches

Since 1993, Equipment Group International (EGI) has been supplying heat exchanger tools, associated rental supplies and consultation services for construction and maintenance of heat transfer equipment. Awaiting market recovery, the pandemic allowed EGI to develop internalized initiatives. EGI began assisting clients’ onboarding processes by developing a standardized curriculum to equip individuals with confidence and knowledge for field success.

Industrial facilities and contractors currently face a shortage of properly trained labor. As a result of COVID-19, the pandemic ushered droves of people to exit the industrial maintenance arena; many seeking career stability and long-term predictability – outside of the industry. This void resulted in a tremendous amount of tribal knowledge and expertise that became unavailable to bestow upon the succeeding labor generation. With this persistent issue, it is crucial that industries address this shortfall by providing necessary guidance and training. The labor force of today and tomorrow is not unintelligent – simply unfamiliar with their new industry, surrounding and techniques.

Educational initiatives

One crucial business component is simultaneously a difficult one: people – most importantly, trained, confident and motivated people. Materials, inventory, time, and money are relatively easy to organize. People, however, are the most valuable and difficult asset to acquire and maintain for longevity in a contracting organization.

Completed in fall 2020, EGI constructed both a classroom and lab for demonstrations and training courses. These additions allow for a quiet, comfortable environment to provide proper instruction with hands-on application. Classes focus on retubing heat exchangers: tube testing, plugging, removal, and rolling techniques.

Prior to offering training courses, concerns regarding worker competence included communication errors, incorrect tool usage and poor application. Individuals in the field lacked general familiarity with heat transfer equipment. EGI’s training capitalizes on breaking down terms and language into simple concepts.

Fundamental Training

Recognizing this, a portion of the training was organized on important parameters and key pieces of information. These parameters were essential to communicate to produce successful project development. Regardless of the proposed activity, a project walkthrough generally requires the following unit specific characteristics: outside diameter, tube wall thickness (welded or seamless), alloy specification, tube sheet thickness, and tube sheet material.

Primary course material focuses on accurate tool selection and the proper approach to a repair.

Secondary factors include straight vs. U-bent configurations, environment evaluation, available utilities, and identifying potential obstructions.

EGI is also the largest stocking distributor of Curtiss-Wright EST Group’s global product line, Pop-A-Plug®. To ensure proper sizing, selection and installation of Curtiss-Wright EST Group’s Pop-A-Plug®, training is provided by a certified Curtiss-Wright EST Group instructor.

Proactive practice

Emphasizing complete and accurate information during initial project stages greatly improves the result. Classes begin with a general overview of heat exchangers, their configurations and specific design terminology. Starting from the beginning, modules show the progression of a typical “retube” job emphasizing weld removal processes, tooling types and various approaches. In the same fashion, tube cutting and associated retubing steps are addressed. A substantial portion of time is also dedicated to the tube wall reduction formula ensuring participants’ understanding of importance and relevance. Finally, the spacious lab area grants students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience to pull, roll, trim, and cut tubes. Repetition and Q/A result in sensible project development which are refined as one gains field experience. Upon course completion, participants receive a certificate of achievement relative to the completed course.

To book a class, visit or call (800) 341-0577.

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