Demolition solutions provider Jet Demolition offers specialised demolition services and machines that are easily adapted to the challenging conditions of furnace-related shutdown projects.
“Furnaces have a finite lifetime before requiring significant maintenance and repair work,” says Jet Demolition contracts manager Kate Bester.
She explains that less serious shutdowns often require only the removal of the burden and solidified product from within the furnace to allow for localised repairs.
Extensive repairs may call for the demolition and removal of the refractory lining, sections of the shell plate or even entire furnace structures to facilitate modernised installations.
Jet Demolition owns a variety of specialised equipment specifically modified to use within the confined space of a furnace structure, says Bester.
Typically, mini excavators and robotic breakers have been used to do this type of demolition, but the company has modified larger machines to fit and manoeuvre within these confined spaces.
“This option has led to increased productivity and operator safety,” she adds.
Jet Demolition has also recently lifted modified mini excavators onto engineered scaffolding, thereby enabling the company to demolish refractory linings at height.
The company uses specialised lances and tubes, rendering a better burn rate through solidified material. It has also applied metallurgical research into developing unique wire packs specifically suited to extracting base metals within a furnace that is to be demolished.
These specialised machines enable Jet Demolition to improve on project schedules, resulting in decreased downtime for clients.
Furnace shutdowns are generally planned for the cold winter months on a 24-hour schedule to minimise production downtime.
Bester says fatigue management and contractor integration are the major challenges associated with work of this nature.
Furnace shutdowns typically require extended working hours and night shifts. It is, therefore, critical to ensure that teams are well rested, disciplined, experienced and well looked after throughout the project.
In addition, furnace demolition activities are more often than not conducted in extreme conditions, which can range from working in wet environments during quenching and cooling to working in scalding environments with restricted visibility during lancing activities.
Almost every element of a furnace structure is large, heavy and can potentially cause harm – it is, therefore, imperative that there is no slip in attention at any phase of the shutdown.
Bester concludes that the team’s strength, commitment and discipline are the determining factors in facilitating a highly successful project – one that is completed on time and without incident.