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Steam Tube Replacement
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Steam Tube Replacement
Steam Tube Replacement

PROJECT: Steam Tube Replacement
PROJECT TYPE: ASME Code Vessel Repair/Replacement
CLIENT: Kronospan/Clarion Boards Plant

STEAM TUBE REPLACEMENT PROJECT REQUIRES PLANNING, ADAPTABILITY, AND PROBLEM SOLVING

Kronospan/Clarion Boards Plant is a significant manufacturer of medium- and high-density fiberboard and laminate flooring. As part of their raw material processing system, steam is used to move wood chips through the system when making boards. The bottom of the steam tube had worn dangerously thin due to the abrasiveness of the wood chips and needed to be replaced before catastrophic failure.

Needing a fabrication partner with ASME experience and ASME U and R stamps for pressure vessels, as well as the flexibility and proven “whatever it takes” approach to completing projects successfully, GSM Industrial was selected to do the work. The project entailed replacing the bottom 5 feet of the steam tube with thicker half-inch stainless steel and re-using the bottom flange because it couldn’t be safely and accurately replicated due to a lack of existing drawings. And, since there were no existing drawings, one of the goals for the project was to have accurate drawings made of the bottom flange for future needs. All of this needed to be completed within a 5-day shut-down window at the plant.

CHALLENGES

There were plenty of challenges with this project, including a tight schedule, a tight working space shared with maintenance crews and contractors working on other pieces of equipment at the same time, 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 5 feet could be cut, removed, and replaced. This included 20,000 pounds of existing tubing that had to be lifted 7 inches to clear the mounting studs. After the bottom section of the old steam tube was removed, the old flange had to be cut off the existing tube and welded to the new section of the steam tube before the entire assembly could be installed.

PROCESS

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 true team effort. The GSM and customer team spent countless hours planning ahead of the shut-down to ensure a 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 dimensions.

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

The flange mounting was different than the expected standard flange mounting and had to be carefully cut from the existing tube bottom in order to be reused, adding to an already tight schedule. Then the entire assembly was installed, and the top part of the steam tube lowered back in place and the piping, screw conveyors, and tubing reattached.

CERTIFICATIONS AND RESULTS

GSM Industrial is an ASME-certified fabrication shop. (See our ASME and AWS Certifications).
This project required both ASME U and R stamps for pressure vessels. More than 2,000 inches of horizontal and vertical welds in ½ inch stainless steel were performed on-site that were 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 more than 9,800 pounds of stainless and carbon steel were fabricated for this project. The GSM team successfully met the required project specs and delivered on time.

“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 o be a part of the team that made this project a success.”

Jeremy Redcay, GSM Industrial Project manager

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