Mountain Equipment Sand Trap FAQ

Do you fabricate the sand traps you sell?

Since 2015 our sand traps are fabricated by our sister company, Dura-Strong Fabrication. Dura-Strong Fabrication is an ASME code shop and holds Section VIII, Div. 1 "U" code stamp as well as National Board R and NB stamps. Dura-Strong Fabrication uses Hartford Steam & Boiler as their Authorized Inspection Service (AIS) and submits all U1As for completed vessels to the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors for review and registration.

How do your sand separators work?

Our sand traps operate vertically and use gravity to separate sand from the flow. As the flow enters the sand trap, it is radically slowed and the direction changed 90 degrees by the stinger-diverter. This allows the sand to separate from the gas and liquids. Sand falls to the bottom of the trap and is kept there by a system of proprietary baffles. The baffles allow gas and liquids to move up and out while keeping the sand separate. Sand is removed by opening one of the two sand discharge ports during operation; shut-in is not required if one of the sand outs clogs off.

How efficient are your sand traps?

Quality sand separation depends on a variety of factors: volume and viscosity of the flow, size of the sand grains, presence of binding agents like paraffin and asphaltenes, percentage of water in the flow, a smooth or surging flow, and to a lesser extent, sand volume. Our generalized design works well in a wide variety of flow conditions and can provide excellent sand capture efficiency in most conditions.

What working pressures do you offer?

We offer sand separators in two pressures: 5800# psi to 10,000# psi. Sand traps come in two basic configurations: skid mounted or on a specially designed heavy-duty trailer.

Are your sand separators coded?

Yes, our sand traps are manufactured by our sister company, Dura-Strong Fabrication, and are ASME Section VIII, Div. 1 coded. This is also commonly called "U"-stamped. A "coded" vessel is short-hand for ASME certified and it means that the pressure vessel was built and inspected to meet ASME code requirements by an Nation Board certified inspector.

Do you offer trailer mounted sand traps?

Yes, we offer both 5800 psi and 10K psi versions of our sand separator mated to a heavy-duty dual-axle trailer. The trailer features hydraulic lift/lower capability for fast and easy set up. This design allows one man using a pickup truck to pull, position, and rig up. Well-suited for fast-paced flowback and frac cleanup. The 5800 psi version can be ball hitch or gooseneck (extra charge) and the 10K comes only with a gooseneck hitch.

Can downcomers be added to a sand trap?

Yes, downcomers can be added to both skid and trailer mounted sand cans. There is a extra cost for the cushion-Ts and heavy duty pipe. Ask your sales-person for a quote.

Do you offer sour service sand separators?

Most of our sand traps are NACE certified right out of fabrication and can be used for sweet or sour service. For instance, all our 5800 psi and 10,000 psi sand traps are NACE certified.

What size are the inlet and the gas out and sand discharges?

We offer a variety of connection types and sizes. Our standard size is 2" in/out but some models, most notably our 10K sand traps, use 3" in/out. Connections are available for all pressures in 1502 or RF flanged. The 5800# psi sand traps typically come in either 2" or 3" 1502 but can be ordered flanged as well. The 3" in/out 1502 connections offer greater thoughput and hence are called "High-flow" units. 10K sand traps come with 3" 1502 in/outs and 2" sand discharge and drain connections standard but ring type joint (RTJ) flanges can be ordered instead.

How easy is it to service your sand separators?

After each job, clean the sand trap by flushing it with air or clean water. There is a drain on the bottom of the sand trap when it is vertical, designed specially for this purpose.

Depending on use, remove and inspect the stinger-diverter assembly checking for wear and tear on the stinger plug. This plug is the main deflector that forces the inflowing stream downwards; it is critical to the proper operation of the trap. When re-assembling the stinger, be sure the stinger flow direction indicator bar is pointing straight down when the sand trap is in its vertical operational position.

Check your connections for any sand washing or damage to the gaskets inside the 1502 connections. Replace if needed. Other than that, and annually re-certifying the safety relief valve, there isn’t much needed to keep the sand trap operational for years.

How much gas can a 20" x 8' x 5800# sand trap clean per day?

Depending upon the amount of sand entrained in the natural gas stream and the average operating pressure, a 20" x 8' x 5800# psi sand separator typically cleans anywhere from 6mm to 10 MMSCFD gas. A high-flow unit can handle up to 12 MMSCFD gas.

What are other common names for sand traps and what type of sand can they handle?

A sand trap can also be referred to as a de-sander, desander, sand separator, or sand can. Sand traps are designed to handle naturally occuring reservoir sand, frack sand, light gravel, and grit that is left behind from drilling and fracking operations. There are two main types of sand traps: gravity and centrifugal. Mountain Equipment specializes in high pressure gravity sand traps that range from 5800 psi to 10,000 psi (206 bar to 689 bar).

Should I put the sand separator before or after my choke manifold?

A choke manifold benefits when placed downstream of the sand trap since it is not exposed to the abrasive sand. However, there are times when it is necessary to place a choke manifold upstream of the sand trap. The most common reason is that the pressure at the wellhead is higher than the sand separator rating and must be reduced. Another reason is that the new well is producing mostly liquid and the manifold is used to shunt the liquid directly to holding tanks. As the flow from the well dries out, the manifold makes it easy to change the flow from tanks to sand trap, and from there, into the separator.


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