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Customized High-Pressure System for Los Alamos

April 13, 2004
Warm isostatic pressing unit from EPSI

Engineered Pressure Systems Inc. (EPSI), custom-engineers of high-pressure equipment, has completed a large order for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico -- a warm isostatic press production (WIP) unit installed at the federal research center.

EPSI’s standard WIP is a press with a high-pressure vessel and pressurized fluid heating to 250°C. Designed for high productivity and low maintenance, it suits applications that require moderate temperature during the application of pressure, and it can be customized to suit application-specific needs. It operates at pressures up to 100,000 psi (approximately 700 MPa), with control of pressurization and decompression that result in products of uniform density, reducing internal stresses, cracks, strains and laminations in the part being processed.

For Los Alamos, the ASME Div III coded WIP was designed and stamped according to Los Alamos National Laboratory’s technical specification to have a 30-in. inside diameter, 25-in. inside length, and a design pressure of 33,000 psi and temperature rating of ambient to 200°F. Other features include a remote-controlled operator station with indicators; threadless closures held in place with a restraining yoke; programmable pressure rate; and programmable decompression rate.

To ensure the proposed system would perform to Los Alamos’ specifications before shipping, the entire system was assembled and its performance fully tested at EPSI’s facility.

EPSI offers WIPs from pilot sizes to large production units, with top-closure and load-handling systems designed to customer’s requirements. The WIP is equipped with safety and alarm devices, adjustable pressure set-points, dwell time and fluid drain settings.

The WIP also features a hydraulically intensified high-pressure pump and a decompression circuit, allowing for low wear. High product repeatability is achieved with elastomer molds. The WIP offers automated fast fill and drain circuit with a low-pressure transfer pump. Configurations available on the WIP include a low-pressure decompression system, yoke frame or threaded closure system, and a vertical or gantry top closure system.