Offshore oil rigs often operate in harsh, isolated locations where fresh water supplies
from shore or tankers can be very unreliable. The cost of fresh water on these rigs
is very expensive. On-board fresh water storage capacity is typically only around a
The use of an on-board fresh water maker can provide more than 200 gal/day
to help meet potable water demands for workers as well as for washdown and
operation of equipment. However, operation of these units is often costly. If fresh
water supplies run too low, the platform may need to be temporarily abandoned
causing expensive production shortfalls.
Because of these economic realities, rig manufacturers are constantly looking for
ways to reduce on-board fresh water usage.
COMPOSITE WATER JACKETS REDUCE FRESH WATER USAGE BY
12 MILLION GALLONS PER YEAR
Large, heavy-duty brakes used on offshore platform draw works and anchor winches
require significant amounts of water to cool the units during operation. Most brake
designs use cast iron water jackets to circulate water through the brake for cooling.
Unfortunately, if salt water is used, the cast iron jackets eventually become corroded
requiring time-consuming and expensive replacement. To prevent water jacket
corrosion, scarce fresh water must be used for cooling purposes.
To meet industry demands, Wichita engineers utilized cutting edge technologies
and state-of-the-art composite materials to develop a corrosion-resistant, salt water
friendly jacket design for use in their line of AquaMaKKs™ clutches and brakes.
A BREAKTHROUGH IN CLUTCH & BRAKE DESIGN
Wichita’s revolutionary new water cooled clutch and
brake jacket design (patent pending) utilizes a composite
material that will not corrode, so salt water and water
sources with high PH acidic values can be used for
cooling the units.
With technology borrowed from the aerospace industry,
Wichita spent a year developing the prototype composite
water jackets that are now revolutionizing the marine-duty
water cooled clutches and brakes used for tensioning on
offshore oil and gas platforms and in other heavy-duty
In an offshore platform tensioning brake, alternating
friction discs and water jackets are used to transmit
torque by applying axial force from the pneumatic,
hydraulic or spring set actuator. The water jackets
provide the required high heat dissipation.
The composite material in the new water jackets was
developed by Wichita engineers working with a partner
firm who tested several polymer combinations before
selecting the high-tech blend that satisfied the design
requirement to be as strong as the original iron parts’
typical design stresses. In fact, structural testing of the
AquaMaKKs 36-inch diameter composite water jacket
resulted in zero failures even when the part was stressed
to more than four times the maximum design load.
A new 36” composite water jacket (above, left) weighs approx. 95 lbs. A comparable 36” cast iron jacket
(above, right) weighs approx. 375 lbs. The reduced
weight is a significant maintenance and installation
benefit in weight-restricted applications.
Wichita’s composite water jackets provide many
additional benefits including:
- Improved channeled water flow - achieved via grooved
design molded into the jacket for enhanced cooling
- Fast & easy maintenance due to the lightweight
composite jacket design that weighs approximately
25% less than the competitors’ metal design
- Water jacket design and material allows for longer life,
requiring fewer replacements
- Reduced overall clutch weight – critical for weight
- Composite water jackets easily retrofit into older
AquaMaKKs, Kopper Kool or competitors’ units with
iron water jackets.
The Wichita engineering team continually works on
developing advanced materials for the composite water
AQUAMAKKS CLUTCHES AND BRAKES ARE DESIGNED
TO PROVIDE ACCURATE TORQUE CONTROL FOR
HEAVY-DUTY TENSIONING APPLICATIONS
AquaMaKKs™ clutches and brakes are pneumatically or
hydraulically controlled and water cooled. They consist
of a series of alternating friction discs and water jackets.
Torque is transmitted by applying axial force from the
pneumatic, hydraulic, or spring set actuator. Copper
wear plates are used for excellent heat dissipation.
Other features include:
- Durable air tube design with high-strength, reinforced
neoprene for longer service life
- Long-lasting friction material with minimal wear on
- Optional HICO friction material provides up to 50%
- Provisions are available for electronic wear monitoring