Refining in simmering heat20 March 2012
The Saudi Arabian natural gas client refines natural gas to create usable fuel in the Saudi Arabian desert by means of special filtration processes.
Within a filter station, two to four 24m towers, 3m in diameter each, filter material through filter elements that have to be regularly changed.
The covers of the towers, each weighing 16USt, had to be removed to access the filters.
Creating a solution to lift the covers on top of the towers and facilitating removal of filters, Columbus McKinnon's group Columbus McKinnon Engineered Products began to design.
Columbus McKinnon Engineered Products GmbH, based in Kissing near Augsburg (Germany), is a part of the Columbus McKinnon Corporation (CMCO) headquartered in Amherst, USA.
It owns the brands Pfaff-silberblau and Alltec that produce drives and stage lifting equipment, as well as the winches used for this project.
Its sister company in Germany, features brands Yale and Pfaff-silberblau and also offers wide-ranging lifting and material handling equipment.
In order to exchange the filter elements, the lifting and traversing system the lifting system designed uses 19 trolleys in three different sizes and eight gantry cranes.
The high temperatures required Columbus McKinnon Engineered Products to build an “extremely heavy-duty” system is capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius.
It also had to be able to withstand and dust, and was designed for spark-free operation in explosive environments.
Installation took place in these demanding climatic conditions, which added to the complexity of the project.
Engineers installed the gantries on 24m platforms for each filter station, and ensured they moved across the platforms on rails. A trolley moving on rails per tower.
Powering the movement of the trolley, drive shafts distribute the travel motor’s power to two travel drives.
The trolley moves away with the towers’ cover so that that the inside of the tower is accessible to the winches.
Once the cover is removed, the gantry glides into position over the opening.
Two Beta electric wire rope winches from Pfaff-silberblau lift the gantry free of the tower.
The gantry travels to the pick-up position at the end of the rail where the winches lower the contaminated filter safely down to the ground and pick up a new filter.
The crane carries the new filter to its position above the tower, where the winches insert the clean filter in place with precision.
Once the filter has been successfully exchanged, the trolley transports the cover precisely back in place on top of the tower, so that it can be securely screwed down.
Columbus McKinnon and the client worked together for nine months on planning and designing the special lifting and traversing system. The entire project to installation took one year.
Columbus McKinnon designed the trolleys and gantry cranes to include ATEX-compliant lifting elements.
The wire rope winches and lifting elements from Pfaff-silberblau used in the Saudi Arabian natural gas refinery comply with the stringent category two requirements of the
The system was designed to achieve high explosion-prevention standards required by the European ATEX Directives 94/9/EC and 99/92/EC.
In addition governing the design of lifting equipment for these environments, standards also govern equipment used for lowering, pushing and compressing loads in plant engineering, navigation, sewage treatment plants, chemical industry and food processing industry.