Performing complex repairs and replacements in the field can be difficult if there’s a need for expedited service. But sometimes, a pressing need arises and a plant manager has to find a service provider who can work quickly and thoroughly to get the job done.
One client, a paper mill in South Carolina, came to us in December 2017 with a pressing need: they were experiencing serious problems with their recovery boiler and supporting equipment like the precipitator inlet and outlet, ductwork, expansion joints, and isolation dampers.
There were several problems at hand. The ductwork, made of carbon steel, had gradually become seriously eroded over the years in operation. The plant had tried to repair the ductwork when they could, but the problem soon grew too serious for mere repairs. The inlet dampers didn’t adequately permit isolation of the boiler’s precipitator chambers, either.
In short, several key components were failing, and annual repair costs were becoming too expensive to justify continuing to just repair problems in a reactive way. Replacement for several key pieces of equipment was necessary.
From the first time we spoke to the client, the team at Southern Field went to work. The precipators were removed from service, and our team conducted a detailed site survey to establish benchmarks for the new ducts and field cut lines for getting rid of the existing ducts.
At the same time, we engineered the new components, developed fabrication draws, and sent the drafts for fabrication. This process was accomplished within weeks; the end result was that all new components were sent to the plant before the next outage would begin in February.
By the time late February had arrived, the Southern Field team, consisting of construction and safety specialists, completed the installation in 15,000 man-hours. The weather didn’t cooperate; our team worked in high winds, flood conditions, rain, and hail. But Southern Field was able to install the equipment on time, without a safety incident, within the outage window – just two months after the initial request for service.
The client was happy with the results of our work and with the speed with which we completed the project, and now the paper mill is running more efficiently without high repair costs or possible unplanned downtime.