How do you plan for a major repair project without the help of a technical centre?
The Hope plant is situated in England’s Peak District, a National Park and an area of outstanding natural beauty. With nature all around them, environmental protection is a priority for Hope Cement and they have been a pioneer of alternative fuels and other sustainability projects.
As we all know, what’s good for the environment can be hard on the plant. Alternative fuels were believed to be accelerating corrosion and influencing distortion of both the kilns at the Hope works. In September 2018 Hope began to plan for major maintenance work on the first of their two identical 70 m long x 4.8 m dia. kilns. The shell was showing signs of deformation and the outlet end needed replacing.
Though FLSmidth was not the OEM for these kilns, we were first on Hope’s list of people to call.
Ed Cavanagh, Plant Manager at the Hope plant, explains: “We have a fantastic, highly skilled team here at Hope, but what we do not have is the backing of a major technical centre, as is the case with the global cement manufacturers. In recent years we’ve been able to find that same support in FLSmidth, who have been a very strong technical partner through a number of projects. With this particular endeavour we wanted to partner with a supplier we could trust to plan, execute and deliver the complete project. We were confident that we could hand over this responsibility to FLSmidth and they wouldn’t let us down.”
Kiln 1 – outlet shell replacement
Planning for the kiln shell replacement began a year before the project took place. The project involved the removal and replacement of 7700 mm of kiln shell at the outlet end, including the tyre, supporting blocks and cooling mantle. A big job in a busy plant. We knew that kiln 2 would be running while this project was taking place so we had to organise everything with that in mind – minimal disruption and maximum safety.
Planning. Execution. Safety. None of it works without good communication.
From the moment the contract was signed, we took on responsibility for planning the project, appointing contractors, organising the crane hire, as well as engineering the replacement parts, which came from our supplier in Italy. Our service team planned the installation in close cooperation with Breedon, bringing in contractors to site to make sure everyone understood and signed off on the plan.
“Site visits are indispensable to a project like this,” says Rob Fellows, Technical Sales Manager at FLSmidth. “It’s not just about the physical planning – what’s going where, how will all the different elements of the project integrate with each other, how can we best manage the risks, etc. It’s also about ensuring at all times that the lines of communication are kept open. We’re running the project for Breedon, but they still want to know what’s going on and the contractors also need to be kept in the loop. At the end of the day, communication is everything. Planning. Execution. Safety. None of it works without good communication and visiting site in person is a fundamental part of that.”
All this planning paid off. The project commenced on 17th September 2019 and was scheduled to be completed in 14 days. FLSmidth did it in 13 days, working in shifts to cover a 24-hour schedule.
We were really happy with the way FLSmidth handled the kiln 1 project. From the outset, they were well organised and detail-oriented. Safety was always their first consideration, just as it is ours.
Kiln 2 – 12.7 m kiln shell replacement
Hope Cement’s Kiln 2 is identical to Kiln 1, but this project was slightly different. Kiln 2 was showing signs of shell corrosion internally between support II and support III (inlet).
Once again, we set our teams to work planning the kiln shell replacement project, appointing contractors and creating a site plan that would suit Hope’s January shutdown schedule. At the time of writing, the kiln 2 project has just been completed two days ahead of schedule and with no LTIs. Given the success of these two projects, we are already in talks about the potential for more, similar projects in the future.
Trusting the experts
“Any time you have to carry out a major plant shutdown, there’s an element of risk,” says John Mulryan. “You wonder: is this going to work? Have we planned sufficiently? Will we get the results we are planning for? The stakes are high in terms of risk, whether that’s health, safety, environment, quality or potential business interruption. All of that’s in your mind when you outsource work. Are you prepared to let someone else take on that responsibility? And in this case, the answer was absolutely yes. It’s the equivalent of handing a patient over to a more experienced doctor. We’ll handle the headaches – you can do the brain surgery.
With a network of hundreds of world-class engineers, cutting-edge research facilities, not to mention the millions of manhours we’ve accumulated between us, it’s not just brain surgeons we can offer – it’s the whole care package. From the basic day-to-day of keeping a cement plant running, to specific upgrades, repair and replace projects to performance enhancement. Everything you need for a sustainable, high-performing cement plant.