Connector Testing Fixture

Photo of Matt Kilbride, Kellan McCarthy, Joe Williams Students: Matt Kilbride, Kellan McCarthy, Joe Williams

Sponsor: FMC Technologies

Date: Fall 2007


FMC requires that the testing fixture be able to apply 500 kips of tension, 1500 ft-kips of bending, and 200 ft-kips of torsion, independently and simultaneously. The design must be able to accommodate connectors ranging between 16-30” in height and 20-42” in diameter. Additionally, these loads should be applied in intervals by a remotely monitored control system. The size of the design should be less than 24’ high with a foot print less than 750 square feet. All structural members of the design have a minimum safety factor of two. The total project costs should not exceed $200,000.


Design and model a new connector qualification test fixture that accurately simulates field loads during subsea oil and gas production


Our design consists of four fixture arms to apply bending and tension by using four hydraulic pistons that have the capacity of applying 200,000 lbs each. As tension and bending are being applied to the connector, a base support prevents the entire assembly from rising. Additionally, torsion will be applied to the bottom of the sample through the use of two additional horizontal cylinders that can apply up to 84,000 lbs each. Each cylinder will have the ability to apply these loads in combination with one another. Flanges at the interface between the fixture and the inner body and hub provide a common connection point for connectors of varying sizes. The top fixture arms are constructed of I-beams to reduce weight and material. Manufacturing and material costs were both calculated considering 4340 steel shaped by sand casting and followed by conventional machining. The cost analysis produced by our group offers an estimate for the entire cost of production for the fixture at $155,198, well under the requirement of $200,000. Also, all safety factors calculated in the major areas concern were above the minimum requirement. The final layout of the design is approximately five and a half feet tall with a footprint of 196 square feet. The completed test fixture design adequately satisfied all of the requirements and constraints set forth by FMC. We recommend a common pump and electric motorbe used to provide a source of hydraulic pressure for the cylinders. The team recommends the Parker IQAN-MD3, a user interface to verify the loads being applied to the sample. The IQAN-MD3 also has the capability to allow the user to increase and decrease load application in intervals.

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