Case 1: Neptune spar
In October 2007, some of Deepwater's offshore corrosion inspectors aboard the Neptune spar came across pipe supports very similar in appearance to Deepwater's own I-Rod brand. The inspectors immediately recognized the impostor supports by the lack of Deepwater's custom batch markings (provided on every piece of I-Rod manufactured) and by the fact that the supports had failed, leaving the piping vulnerable to dangerous crevice corrosion.
I-Rod pipe supports are specified by major operators because of their reliability and proven corrosion-prevention capabilities. In 18 plus years, there has not been one reported failure of I-Rod. The simple appearance of the Nu-Bolt assembly leads many companies to attempt to copy the trademarked design, but the high-impact thermoplastic material that comprises the half-round rod is impossible to replicate. No other known material possesses its heat-resistance and compressive strength, which are the key factors to its success.
See below how the impostor product quickly fails on a structure that is only 11 years old. Some I-Rod pipe supports have been in service as long as 19 years and are still performing as well as on day one. (Read a 13-year inspection of installed I-Rod supports)
If you have questions about I-Rod Pipe supports, visit the IROD FAQ section of stoprust.com.
|Fake I-Rod (presumably Delrin)||Fake I-Rod with Xylan-coated U-bolts|
This is certainly not the first time that Deepwater has encountered I-Rod knock-offs, but cases did reduce after several successful lawsuits in the 1990s against trademark violators. In a lot of cases, Delrin is substituted for the I-Rod material, as in the case above. The result is always the same, regardless of what inferior material is substituted.
In one Far-Eastern project (which we will not name), a contractor knowingly or unknowingly purchased a cheaper I-Rod knock-off when I-Rod was specified by the operator for the project. Luckily, the discrepancy was uncovered before the project's conclusion (luckily for the operator, that is), and the entire stock of knockoff I-Rod was scrapped, to be replaced by the authentic Deepwater I-Rod. The cost of this oversight was sizable, and absorbed wholly by the contractor at fault.
Case 2: Retrieval and testing of a knockoff support
In February of 2007, the same inspector from the previous section was also able to retrieve several extra uninstalled samples of a knock-off I-Rod material from a different platform in the Gulf of Mexico. When we received the samples at our manufacturing facility in Houston, we did some basic in-house testing to display the strength and heat-resistance of I-Rod vs the mystery material, and to prove they were clearly of differing chemical compositions.
Both rods were put through a basic flex and melt test, with only relative results recorded (I-Rod compression lab testing available). The first rod (mystery substance) shared the same dimensions as I-Rod, but bowed much more easily under torque. And during the melt test, the substance completely liquefied in 1 minute and 47 seconds when mounted to a plate above a torch. The I-Rod did not completely melt under the same conditions for 3 minutes and 19 seconds. Though these results are only relative, they prove that the mystery substance in certainly not I-Rod, and is relatively inferior in compressive strength and heat-resistance.
|Impostor (top) and I-Rod (note: batch markings)||Compression setup (torque measured manually)|
|Heat test setup (torch applied manually below)||Melt test on impostor at 12 sec.|
|Melt test on impostor at 59 sec||Melt test on impostor at 1:47 sec|