Way Ahead In Corrosion Control

I-Rod pipe support imposters found: Customers, be aware of these dangerous knockoffs


In October 2007, some of Deepwater's offshore corrosion inspectors aboard the Neptune spar came across pipe supports very similar in appearance to Deepwater's own I-Rod brand. The inspectors immediately recognized the impostor supports by the lack of Deepwater's custom batch markings (provided on every piece of I-Rod manufactured) and by the fact that the supports had failed, leaving the piping vulnerable to dangerous crevice corrosion.

I-Rod pipe supports are specified by major operators because of their reliability and proven corrosion-prevention capabilities. In 18 plus years, there has not been one reported failure of I-Rod. The simple appearance of the Nu-Bolt assembly leads many companies to attempt to copy the trademarked design, but the high-impact thermoplastic material that comprises the half-round rod is impossible to replicate. No other known material possesses its heat-resistance and compressive strength, which are the key factors to its success. 

See below how the impostor product quickly fails on a structure that is only 11 years old. Some I-Rod pipe supports have been in service as long as 19 years and are still performing as well as on day one. (Read a 13-year inspection of installed I-Rod supports)

If you have questions about I-Rod Pipe supports, visit the IROD FAQ section of stoprust.com.

This is certainly not the first time that Deepwater has encountered I-Rod knock-offs, but cases did reduce after several successful lawsuits in the 1990s against trademark violators. In a lot of cases, Delrin is substituted for the I-Rod material, as in the case above. The result is always the same, regardless of what inferior material is substituted.

In one Far-Eastern project (which we will not name), a contractor knowingly or unknowingly purchased a cheaper I-Rod knock-off when I-Rod was specified by the operator for the project. Luckily, the discrepancy was uncovered before the project's conclusion (luckily for the operator, that is), and the entire stock of knockoff I-Rod was scrapped, to be replaced by the authentic Deepwater I-Rod. The cost of this oversight was sizable, and absorbed wholly by the contractor at fault.



In February of 2007, the same inspector from the previous section was also able to retrieve several extra uninstalled samples of a knock-off I-Rod material from a different platform in the Gulf of Mexico. When we received the samples at our manufacturing facility in Houston, we did some basic in-house testing to display the strength and heat-resistance of I-Rod vs the mystery material, and to prove they were clearly of differing chemical compositions.

Both rods were put through a basic flex and melt test, with only relative results recorded (I-Rod compression lab testing available). The first rod (mystery substance) shared the same dimensions as I-Rod, but bowed much more easily under torque. And during the melt test, the substance completely liquefied in 1 minute and 47 seconds when mounted to a plate above a torch. The I-Rod did not completely melt under the same conditions for 3 minutes and 19 seconds. Though these results are only relative, they prove that the mystery substance in certainly not I-Rod, and is relatively inferior in compressive strength and heat-resistance.