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A Steam Tube Replacement that Called for Planning, Adaptability, & Problem-Solving

Kronospan/Clarion Boards Plant, a medium- and high-density fiberboard and laminate flooring manufacturer, needed a steam tube replacement.

As part of their raw material processing system, steam moves wood chips. The bottom of the steam tube had worn dangerously thin due to the abrasiveness of the wood chips and needed replacing ahead of inevitable, catastrophic failure. GSM Industrial welcomed this critical, time-sensitive project.

GSM Industrial: An ASME-Certified Partner in this Steam Tube Replacement

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This customer chose to partner with us for several reasons. First, we are a metal fabrication shop with ASME experience and ASME “U” and “R” stamps for pressure vessels. Second, we have the flexibility and a unique “whatever it takes” approach to completing projects.

Requirements for this ASME Code Vessel Repair/Replacement Job

This steam tube replacement entailed swapping the bottom five feet of the steam tube with thicker half-inch stainless steel and reusing the bottom flange (we couldn’t safely and accurately replicate it due to a lack of existing drawings). Since there were no drawings, one of the goals for the project was to have accurate drawings made of the bottom flange for future needs.

We needed to complete all of this within a five-day plant shutdown timeline.

Specific Challenges Posed by this Steam Tube Replacement

This project had many challenges, including a tight schedule, a tight working space shared with maintenance crews and contractors working on other pieces of equipment simultaneously, and drawings that weren’t 100% accurate to the existing equipment.

In addition, many pieces of piping, tubing, and other parts needed to be removed or lifted so the bottom five feet of the steam tube could be cut, removed, and replaced.

This included 20,000 pounds of existing tubing that had to be lifted seven inches to clear the mounting studs. After removing the bottom section of the old steam tube, the old flange had to be cut off and welded to the new section of the steam tube before installing the entire assembly.

Planning, skilled fabricators and field crew, strict quality control measures, and project management processes kept this complicated ASME project on track from start to finish. It was a genuine team effort.

Our team and the customer’s team spent countless hours planning ahead of the shutdown to ensure successful project completion. GSM’s shop and design team worked meticulously to ensure that the steam tube and all dimensions were accurate to the drawings and known measurements.

The field crew worked around the clock to meet the customer’s schedule. And when we discovered the steam tube outer circumferential dimensions from the drawings were incorrect, our field crew cut vertical slits in the new tube bottom and pulled it together to the correct dimensions. They welded an additional 144 inches, which had to be ultrasonically tested and visually inspected along with the joining seam and flange welds.

The flange mounting was different from the expected standard flange mounting and had to be carefully cut from the existing tube bottom to be reused, adding to an already tight schedule.

Our crew installed the entire assembly and lowered the top part of the steam tube back in place. Finally, we reattached the piping, screw conveyors, and tubing.

“This project was a true demonstration of the teamwork and adaptability of the GSM team and employed all facets of the company working safely toward a common goal. I couldn’t be any prouder to be a part of the team that made this project a success.”

Jeremy Redcay, GSM Industrial Project Manager

Remarkable Steam Tube Replacement Results, Thanks to our Experience and Certifications

GSM Industrial is an ASME-certified fabrication shop. This project required ASME “U” and “R” stamps on its ASME-certified pressure vessels. More than 2,000 inches of horizontal and vertical welds in ½ inch stainless steel were performed on-site and were then ultrasonically and visually tested and inspected with no issues noted.

Roughly 1,000 man-hours were safely completed both in the shop and in the field, and we fabricated more than 9,800 pounds of stainless steel and carbon steel for this steam tube replacement. The GSM Industrial team successfully met the required project specs and delivered on time.

If this sounds like the type of experience and commitment your next project needs, let’s talk about partnering to get it done right!