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Creation of a New Light Weight Grating

Bugs Yeow Kiang Tan, PhD MALAYSIA

Copyright 2017, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 13-16 November 2017.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents
of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect
any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or stora ge of any part of this paper without the
written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words;
illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.



The invention of the light weight and anti-slip grating panel is an improved product that has
significant advantages over common steel grating. Beside the many features found on the new
grating, there are four major outstanding advantages over common steel grating. 1) The unique
design of the new grating that is lighter by approximately 35% in weight. This is made possible with
the creation of a hollow load bearing bar. The new grating being lighter in weight could also
potentially reduce the overall weight of the main building structure. 2) Even though the load bearing
bar is hollow but the overall integrity of the new grating panel is stronger. The new design can take
approximately 12% more loads. 3) It takes a lot lesser raw material to manufacture the new grating
panel. Thus, the finish product is priced competitively. This cost benefit will assist the consumer
greatly in the overall project cost management. 4) The embossed rings found on the new grating
provide a true anti-slip function. This safety feature aims to reduce the number of accident that occurs
at workplace especially on oily working surface and stair treads.
2 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

Creation of a New Light Weight Grating

Bugs Yeow Kiang Tan, Phd

1.1 Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an improved flooring system, inparticularly a grating panel
system that is a slip resistant grating and light in weight.

1.2 Flow Chart of the Project Development

The development of the project from conceptual design stage to prototyping and to placing the
finish product into the market place went through six major stages. The detail of each stage is
provided in this paper. The summary of the process is shown in Table 1.

Table 1- Flow Chart of the project development

SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 3

1.3 Background of the Invention

Currently, there is relatively large number of different grating systems engineered based on the
preferred characteristics of the oil and gas industry. The most preferred characteristics of the
grating systems or technology includes durability, anti-slip feature and the system can be
installed over a suitable structural frame or any support structure

Steel grating systems are universally employed for a wide scope of industries; such uses may
include airplane unloading ramps, ramps, freight car flooring, ladder threads, material screens,
mezzanine floors, scaffolding, window guards, walkways, drainage pit covers and stage flooring.

There is a need to accomplish these characteristics of the grating technology presents continually
increasing advances endeavors for the respective manufacturers in order to provide a better result
in providing highly effective grating assembly, particularly for both retrofit and new construction
surfaces. This is particularly useful when the industry experience financial constrain when oil
price are low.

Another important aspect for consideration is the mechanism or technique for securing the
grating assembly that has anti-slip function and is costly. Hence, there is a need to create a better
surface that is inexpensive to manufacture.

The current ineffective slip-resistant technology may lead to instability which may result in
uneven pressure distribution and slippery surfaces, i.e. oily surfaces and, thus it could be
detrimental to the users, particularly in the heavy duty industry, or any other working area.

An example of the prior art is disclosed in CA 2469 345 A1, which relates to a method for
making an anti-slip grating system, wherein the said method includes applying a coating on the
top surface.

A problem that may incure in using of the above- mentioned grating system is in the coating that
may diminish over a period of time. While the conventional method provides a sufficient anti-
slip grating effect, however it requires tedious steps to manufacture. Thus a substantial amount of
labour supervision and time is required to ensure accuracy of suitable thickness of the anti-slip
coating thatis applied on the surface of the grating.

In additiona, in the conventional methods, appropriate spread or thickness of the coating may
requires the alignment or arrangement of the bars and plates. The imprecision arrangement of
these bars may result to inferior coating and consequently ineffective or poor anti-slip quality.

Furthermore some of the installation may require an extensive tool to fasten accessories so as to
fix the grating to the floor of the support structure or structural frame.

Moreover, the enhancements involving the grating and its installation method, although are
specifically engineered to withstand the harsh working environment, these grating assemblies
may be heavy and thus can be encumbrance to the users, in particular during installation and
maintenance work.

Hence, there is a need for an innovative floor grating and its installation method that is directed
to solving the above problems
4 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

Thus, the primary object of the present invention was to improve to the grating and its
installation method that has a slip resistant feature, is of light weight, durable, hollow and is
substantially cost effective in term of assemblage and installation

1.4 The New Concept

The first step was to conceptualize a new type of grating that is lighter in weight and provides
user friendly features. This was done without having to switch to other form of material.

The new design was first done on raw sketches. The approach was to collobrate with a local
university to seek technical assistance. The Center for Product Design and Manufacturing
(CPDM), a department within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Malaya (UM) was
engaged to look into two main aspects; that is to find the optimum design for the new concept
and also to run a corrosion test on the material used.

1.5 Conformance to Industry Standard

In order to demonstrate the proof of concept (POF) the conceptual idea had to be developed into
a prototype, by going through the various steps of research and development (R&D). For the
R&D component, a collaboration effort was established with the University of Malaya.

The inventor has the responsibility to made sure that the researchers developed the new grating
that conforms to the industrial standard for steel grating. The development of the new grating is
based on the industry standard using the British Standard BS 4592: Part 1: 1995 Industrial type
flooring walkways and stair tread Part 1 - Specification for aluminium and steel open bar

At the time of writing this paper, the latest revision of this standard is BS 4592: Part 1: 2006
Industrial type of flooring and stair treads Part 1 Metal open bar gratings Specification

Before commencing with the R&D work the definition of the various type of grating that is
found in the market was taken into consideration. Figure 1 gives a description of the various type
of grating which is used in the industry.


2.1 Name of the Project - LITEWALK
In the early stage of R&D the name LITEWALK was used to refer to the new product. Hence,
this name was used through-out the development of the novel product since the
conceptualization of the idea. This name eventually was also used as a brand name during the
stage of pre-commercialization and later during commercialization.

Upon completition of the R&D the name Litewalk was registered as a trademark. Figure 2 is the
trademark registered with the Malaysia Intellectual Property Office (MyIPO)
SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 5

2.2 Simulation Test

Modeling of the new design was created by the researcher at UM. The models were created in
accordance to the set of parameters provided by the inventor. Such models were then put through
a series of load test using engineering software to simulate the design. This is to ensure that the
new design is conformed to these two tests:-

1) Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL) of 5.0 kN/m Test

2) Concentrated load of 1kN Test

2.3 Objective of the Simulation Test

The purpose of the test is to determine the deflections of the Litewalk grating panel. Such
deflection should not exceed 1/200 times of the effective span or 10mm whichever is lesser when
subjected to a uniformly distributed load (UDL) of 5 kN/m and concentrated load of 1 kN (at
1.0 m center over a square of 300 mm side) for general duty in accordance with BS 4592: Part 1:

2.4 Description of the Simulation Test

The simulation test was conducted by the research engineers at University of Malaya by using
engineering software ABAQCUS/CAE. Table 2 below shows the type of test carried-out.

No. Description of the Test Test carried-out

Uniform distributed test

A workstation to
(UDL Test)
simulate the Finite
Element Analysis of the
Concentrated Load Test
Litewalk grating design
(CL Test)

Table 2- Description of simulation test

6 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS


3.1 Finite Element Model of Litewalk Load Bearing Bar
1. The models for analysis are based on the profile and various set of combination of
dimension of the thickness width and height provided by the inventor. CAD modeling of the
load-bearing is divided into two types of models (load bearing bar with- and without-holes).

2. Dimension for load bearing bars are shown in Table 3 below:

Model 885-3515 920-3520

Length (mm) 885 920
Height 35
Width 15 20
Thickness 1.0, 1.2, 1.5, 1.8, and 2.0
Diameter of holes drilled at bar 6 mm NA

Table 3- Dimension of load bearing bars

3. The development for the profile of the load bearing bar was also carried-out. A typical
design of the profile can be seen on Figure 3

4. The performance of the test for the load bearing bar is based on five different types of the
thickness. Figures 4 and 5 shows the typical results of the FEA simulation test on the load
bearing bar

3.2 Mathematical Model for Manual Calculation

1. Euler's equation (for beam calculations) was used to identify the deflections at the center of
the two-dimensional load bearing model, as the loading conditions of the full-size grating
system are similar to bending of the beam.

2. The formulation of the deflections for each loading conditions is shown as:

For Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL):
384 EI z
SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 7

7 PL3
For Concentrated Load:
768EI z

Where: q is 1D distributed load (N/mm)

P is concentrated load (N)
L is length of load bearing (mm)
E is modulus of elasticity (N/mm2)
Iz is moment of inertia (mm4)

3.3 Material Properties

1. The material used for this test is mild steel, which is the same steel matetrial used in
common grating. The mild steel grade used is based on ASTM A514 steel. The properties of
A514 steel is shown in Table 4.

Properties A514 steel

Density (N/mm3) 76.981 x 10-6
Tensile strength, Ultimate (MPa) 828
Tensile strength, Yield (MPa) 690
Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) 205
Poissons Ratio 0.29

Table 4- Properties of A514 Steel


4.1 Creating the Profile of Load Bearing Bar

The load bearing bar is made of mild steel grade A514. Various profiles were developed for the
FEA test. There are two main profiles for the load bearing bar. One, with the dimension of height
35mm x width 15mm x length 885mm and two, height 35mm x width 20mm x length 920mm.
The two types of profile are then is further designed with different thickness of 1.0mm, 1.2mm,
1.5mm, 1.8mm, and 2.0mm.

Each profile for the load bearing bar is then taken through a simulation test using Finite Element
Analysis (FEA). This test is to examine its strength for each and every model to see if they could
8 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

conform to the performance based on BS 4592: Part 1: 1995.

Each model runs through the FEA test for two type of test. One, for general duty of 5.0kN/m
uniformly distributed load test and two, 1.0 kN for concentrated load as per described in item 2.4
above - Description of the Simulation Test

The FEA simulation was conducted successfully for each and every model. Results of the FEA
were obtained for every model and the results were satisfactory. This exercise has validated the
conceptual design of the new profile of the load bearing bar. Figure 4 and 5 illustrates the results
of the FEA test for two models.

4.2 Industry Standard Test carried-out on Prototype

With the positive result obtained from the FEA simulation, the project moves on to the next stage
by fabricating the prototype grating panel. Three models with different thickness were chosen to
be fabricated into prototype grating panels. They are 1.0mm, 1.5mm and 2.0mm thick with the
same height of 35mm and width of 15mm. Figure 6 best illustrate these models

The protoype grating panels were fabricated manually. Figure 7 and 8 shows the work of the
fabrication being carried out in a workshop.

With the completion of fabrication, the prototype grating panels were sent to the Scientific and
Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM), to carry-out the load test. The objective is to
make comparision and examine the results of the load test conducted on an actual piece of
grating panel against the results obtained from the FEA simulation.

4.3 Result of the Test of the Prototype

SIRIM carried-out 2 tests on the prototype grating panels. One, the Concentrated Load and
Uniform Distributed load test. Both these tests was conducted in accordance with British
Standard BS 4592: Part 1: 1995 Industrial type flooring walkways and stair tread Part 1 -
Specification for aluminium and steel open bar gratings.Table 5 below shows the result obtained
from the test.

Test Type of Test Specification Test Results

1st Concentrated Load Test Specification: Deflection 1/200 x 0.63mm

Test 1kN Effective Span (4mm) or 10 mm
whichever is lesser

2nd Uniformly Distributed Specification: Deflection 1/200 x 1.54mm

Test Load Test Effective Span (4mm) or 10mm
- 5.0kN/m whichever is lesser

Table 5- Results of the load test on the prototype carried out at SIRIM
SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 9

4.4 Summary of the various load tests

In the development of the new grating design, three different excercise were carried-out at
different stage of the project. Each stage was done separately. But the main objective of each
stage is the same. That is to investigate the loading capabilities of the new design. The three
different stages are:-

1) Mathematical manual calculation. This has been discussed in item 3.2 above

2) FEA simulation test. This has been discussed in item 2.2 to 2.4 above

3) Actual load test on the prototype. This has been discussed in item 4.1 to 4.3 above

The three results from the three different tests at three different stages have been tabulated in
Table 6 below. For simplicity, the tabulation is done just for one (single) model. The results
shows in this table is for model with the profile of thickness 1.5mm x width 15mm x height

Load Manual Calculation FEA Simulation Test on Prototype

Concentrated Load
(CL) 2.05mm 2.228mm 0.63mm

Uniform Distributed
Load (UDL) 0.194mm 0.087mm 1.54mm

Table 6- Summary of load test resuts from 3 different exercises

4.5 Significant of Study

Although the result of the three tests shows that the reading is within the deflection range
allowable by the industry standard. However, the result from the three exercises seems to be
inconsistence. Therefore, the author highly recommend that more research work and load test
should be carried to investigate and examine what could possible went wrong. It would bring
benefit to the academia and the industry players, if intensive research work can be carried in the
near future so that people could fully understand the mechanical challenges for this type of


5.1 The Requirement of a Corrosion Test
In the initial stage of marketing the product faced some challenges. Customers were concerned
about the corrosion on the grating panel. The thickness of the load bearing bar of the new design
is thin. The thickness is only 1.5mm as compared to 5mm found in common grating. Hence, the
product went through the test in accordance with the following test standard:-
10 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

1) Alternative immersion ASTM G44-99 (2005)

American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM G 44 9: Standard Practice for Exposure of
Metals and Alloys by Alternate Immersion in Neutral 3.5% Sodium Solution. 1991 Annual Book
of ASTM Standard, Vol 03: Wear and Erosion: Metal Corrosion.

5.2 Objective of the Corrosion Test

The purpose of the test is to identify the form of corrosion when the sample is alternatively
dipped in an aqueous solution of 3.5% sodium chloride (NaCI) for 10 minutes then allowed
draining or drying for 50 minutes. This wet and dry cycle is repeated several times until visual
examination reveals the onset of corrosion up to 1,000 cycles

5.3 Test Equipment used for Corrosion Test

The Table 7 shows the list of equipment used for this test

Item Name of equipment Model Remarks

1 Wet-dry water tank with Built This tank is used to

alternative controller internally alternatively immerse the

2 Temperature and humidity device RS 1360 Used for measuring room

temperature and room

3 PH and water temperature device HI 8424 Used for measuring PH

value and temperature in the

Table 7- Test equipment used for corrosion test

5.4 Description for Corrosion Test

1 ASTM G44 (Clause 3: "The alternative immersion test utilises a 1-h cycle that includes a
10 minutes period in an aqueous solution of 3.5% sodium chloride (NaCI) followed by a
50 minutes period out of the solution, during which the specimens are allowed to dry"

2 The samples are visually examined at 200, 500 and 1,000 cycles. The temperature,
humidity, and pH data were also recorded on each determined cycle.
SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 11

3 The testing condition and pH data were in temperature of 27 C 1 C and relative

humidity of 45% 6%, Ref: ASTM G44 (Clause 9). The initial water solution pH was
adjusted to 7.1

4 The arrangement of the test set-up is shown in figure 10

5.5 Before Corrosion Test Begins

The following is the data of the sample before the corrosion test commences.

1 The coated and uncoated sample is taken for a visual examination before running the test.
Please to refer to figure 11

A Temperature = room was 27.3C and water was 26.5C

B Humidity = 46.8%
C pH value = 7.18 for both coated and uncoated
D Weight of sample (dry) please refer to table 8

Specimens Coated / Uncoated Weight of sample before test

Sample A Coated 2,758.88 gram
Sample B Coated 2,771.55 gram
Sample C Uncoated 2,794.79 gram
Sample D Uncoated 2,793.67 gram
Table 8- Weight of sample before test

5.6 The Results of the Corrosion Test

The test results for coated and uncoated sample examined after 1,000 alternative immersion
cycle. Please refer to figure 12.

A Temperature = room was 27.8C and water was 26.2C

B Humidity = 45.5%
C pH value = 7.39 for coated and 9.62 for uncoated
D Weight of sample (dry) please refer to Table 9

Specimens Coated / Uncoated Weight of sample after test

Sample A Coated 2,762.07 gram
Sample B Coated 2,774.71 gram
Sample C Uncoated 2,880.05 gram
Sample D Uncoated 2,883.18 gram
Table 9- Weight of sample after corrosion test
12 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

5.7 Conclusion for the Corrosion Test

The study of alternative immersion test on Litewalk grating panel model MDX 3520 20
(315mm x 305mm) made of A514 steel with coated and uncoated samples. After 1,000 cycles
(about 42 days) of alternative immersions in neutral 3.5% sodium chloride solution exposure, the
coated Litewalk grating sample are found to be resistant to corrosion. However, the uncoated
Litewalk grating samples are physically corroded with 3.5% sodium chloride solution.

Table 10 below shows the difference in weight after the test. The greater the lost in weight is
interpreted as weak to corrosion. While marginal lost in weight is interpreted as resistance to

Specimens Coated / Weight of Weight of Difference in

Uncoated sample sample after test weight
before test

Sample A Coated 2,758.88g 2,762.07g -3.19g

Sample B Coated 2,771.55g 2,774.71g -0.16g

Sample C Uncoated 2,794.79g 2,880.05g -85.26g

Sample D Uncoated 2,793.67g 2,883.18g -89.51g

Table 10- Shows the weight difference after the corrosion test


6.1 Summary
The creation of the new product has spawned several advantages over the traditional (common)
steel grating that are found in the marketplace. Overall the new design of the Litewalk grating
has 4 major advantages over common steel grating. The new Litewalk grating is:-

1) A grating panel that is light in weight

The new design of the load bearing bar is hollow in shape. This enables the piece of grating
panel to be significantly lighter weight by approximately 35% compared to conventional grating

2) A grating panel that can take more load

Even though the design of the load bearing bars is hollow as compared to solid flat bar as found
in the common grating, the Litewalk grating panel did not lose its integrity. Test has shown that
Litewalk grating can take 12% more load than common steel grating of a same grade
SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 13

3) A grating panel that uses less raw material to manufacture

It consumed approximately 35% less raw material to manufacture the Litewalk grating panel as
compared to common steel grating. Hence, the cost benefit is passed down to the consumer.
Commercially, this cost saving is a great advantage to the consumers.

4) A grating panel that is safer for a person to walk-on

The natural design of a hollow section bar allows the creation of embossed ring on the upper part
of the load bearing bars. These round embossed rings gives good traction to the footwear of the
person walking on the panel. His body mass weight is transferred to his foot and thus naturally
gives him a good grip when he walked on the Litewalk grating panel.

The Litewalk grating has been commercialized in Malaysia and it has been used in a serveral
places. Figures 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 shows some of the application where this new product has
being used

6.5 Conclusion
This paper discusses the creation of a new light weight steel grating panel. Steel grating is the
most preferred type of grating material used on oil platforms and refineries. In the market today,
grating panels can also be found made from other types of material such as aluminium and fiber
reinforced plastic (FRP). But galvanized steel grating still remains the most popular type of
grating used in the industry. The total weight of the grating constitutes approximately 5% to 15%
of the total weight of a typical oil production and refinery, and a higher percentage for a gas
production facility. The existing design for steel grating has not changed since its inception about
a hundred years ago. The design remains the same with very little improvements.

This has brought about the challenge for improvement. A new hollow section load bearing bar
was created. By having the load bearing bar made in a hollow shape instead of the conventional
solid flat bar stripes, this creative new design has enabled the grating panel to be made much
lighter in weight. This concept initially went through simulation test by using ABAQCUS/CAE
engineering software. The type of steel material, the thickness of the steel plate, width of the
hollow section bar and more importantly the height of the hollow section bar were tested by
running a finite element analysis. This test was also to find its optimum strength from the various
models with different dimensional parameter. The findings of the analysis were taken into
account and further design was incorporated into the hollow section bar to create the anti-slip
function. This anti-slip function works very well by having the embossed rings placed on the
upper part of the load bearing bars. It gives a good traction when one walks on it

A few pieces of the prototype grating panels were constructed and sent for load test in an
authorized institution. Two types of load tests were conducted using procedures as stated in the
British Standard BS 4592. This compliance is compulsory for grating and stair treads. The new
design passed both tests. An intensive corrosion test was also carried out to make sure the
galvanized coating on the new grating was able to withstand the harsh condition of the sea by
using procedure ASTM G44-99. Again, the result from the test was positive.
14 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

6.6 Disclaimer
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily
reflect the official opinion or position of any agency in the industry. Any forward looking
statements are entirely of the authors personal view and he does not speak on behalf of any
society. Without prejudice to the generality of this paper, the author does not represent, warrant,
undertake or guarantee that the use of guidance in the report will lead to any particular outcome
or result.

6.7 Acknowledgment
The author wish to record a sincere thanks the Faculty of Engineering at the University of
Malaya, in-particularly the team of engineers and researchers from the Center of Product Design
and Manufacturing (CPDM). The team has shown full dedication and committment towards this
project. Thank you for your co-opration which has resulted in making this project a success.

1 British Standard BS 4592-1: 1995 Industrial type flooring, walkways, and stair treads. Specification for open bar gratings

2 British Standard BS 4592-1: 2006 Industrial type flooring and stair treads Part 1: Metal open bar gratings Specification

3 ASTM G44 - 99(2005) Standard Practice for Exposure of Metals and Alloys by Alternate Immersion in Neutral 3.5% Sodium Chloride

4 ASTM A415 Specification for Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Sheets, Commercial Quality (Withdrawn 1970)
SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 15

Figure 1- Description of the various type of grating

Source- British Standard BS 4592-1:1995

Figure 2- Logo of the project and product

16 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

Figure 3- Profile of the load bearing bar

Figure 4- FEA displacement results of UDL for the 885-3515 of 1.5mm thickness
SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 17

Figure 5- FEA displacement results for CL for the 885-3515 of 1.5mm thickness

Figure 6- Load bearing bars used for fabrication of prototypes

18 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

Figure 7- Fabrication of the prototype

Figure 8- Prototype of the new grating panel

SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 19

Figure 9- Concentrated load test at SIRIM

Figure 10- Set-up for the corrosion test

20 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

Figure 11- Samples before corrosion test commence

Figure 12- Samples after the corrosion test completed

SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 21

Figure 13- Litewalk grating being used on oil platforms

Figure 14- Litewalk grating use on chemical plant

22 SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS

Figure 15- Litewalk being used on walkways

Figure 16- Litewalk stair treads used on storage tanks

SPE-SPE-188686-MS-MS 23

Figure 17- Litewalk grating used on process facility