Rex-Cut Blog

    Use of High Nickel Alloys and Stainless Steel in Petrochemical Plants

    As petrochemical plants hit required due dates for refurbishment, new materials are being introduced to help extend the life cycle of these facilities. Normal petrochemical maintenance includes sections of these plants undergoing a turnaround process to replace pipes that are subject to constant abuse from caustic substances, high temperatures and extreme pressures. While carbon steel was once one of the primary materials used in construction of petrochemical piping, facility owners are now moving towards the use of high nickel alloys, such as INCONEL and MONEL, as well as stainless steel. These materials are extending the life of refineries, but also present new challenges during the turnaround process.


    Refinery owners typically employ mechanical contractors for the regular maintenance of these facilities. The contractors must work with the latest non-ferrous metals throughout the pipefitting process, creating new issues when using traditional abrasives. When cutting and beveling non-ferrous pipe, standard grinding wheels leave impurities embedded in the material, leading to rust and weak spots in the pipe.

    Standard abrasive wheels also tend to load up with material in the gaps between the grit when grinding non-ferrous metals. When the wheel clogs with material, the removal rate and performance of the wheel is dramatically reduced.

    Strong Performers: Rex-Cut Wheels Work with Nickel Alloys, Stainless Steel and More

    Rex-Cut’s wheels including: Type 27 Grinding and Blending, Sigma Green, Sigma Green Max, Max Flex, and the Alpha-Green Cut-off wheel are built from Inox materials, which are safe to use on ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and does not contain the impurities of carbon-based wheels. They do not clog like other wheels and provide consistent performance throughout the life of the wheel.

    These Rex-Cut wheels also feature a quality not found in other wheels: balance. These are wheels that feature a high material removal/cut rate, yet leave a finish that is much less rough than other wheels with similar capabilities.

    When it comes to mechanical contractors, this is the bottom line: Rex-Cut wheels are ready to meet the demands of non-ferrous metals, which are starting to dominate the petrochemical industry. The wheels are more durable, lowering abrasive replacement cost. And with a more consistent finish, overall finishing time is reduced, driving down labor costs and overall production time. These are all benefits that put the contractor in a much more favorable situation when positioning their organization in this highly-competitive field.

    Filed under: Stainless Steel, Energy