Britlift Equipment Lifts 37 Tonne Heat Exchanger
Britlift recently supplied a variety of custom designed and manufactured lifting beams, spreader beams and lifting lugs to safely lift two 37 tonne heat exchangers at a salt production plant in Middlewich.
As part of its ongoing asset management plan to replace end of life equipment, British Salt (Tata Chemicals Europe) has replaced one of the six heat exchangers used in the evaporation stage of the salt production process. The heat exchanger replaced had been in operation for more than 30 years and was integrated into the existing plant.
Initially working closely with heat transfer process specialist, Graham Hart Process Technology, Britlift engineers were invited to attend the site of the lift to better understand the environment, the load being lifted and look for ways in which the lifting system design could accomplish the removal of the old, and installation of the new, exchanger. It quickly became apparent that the operation would not be a simple one – the old exchanger first needed to be removed from the building, but at close to 7 metres in height, it first needed to be lifted and turned onto its side to fit through the door. As such there were three different lifting operations – lifting the exchanger when horizontal, the top and tailing lift and lifting the exchanger when vertical. To compound the difficulty of the operation, the exchangers were not fitted with lifting points or trunnions and turnaround of design, manufacture, test and supply was just 4 weeks.
Lifting Equipment Engineering Challenges
The key challenge during the early phase of the project was the design of a set of bolt-on lifting lugs which could be bolted to the top and bottom flanges of the exchanger to allow them to be lifted. The lugs themselves would obviously need to be designed to withstand the forces form the weight of the exchanger, but how the lugs transferred forces into the exchanger was critically important as damage to the new exchanger would be disastrous. Using FEA (finite element analysis) software Britlift completed the design of the lugs ensuring that damage to the new exchanger would be avoided.
In order to achieve the incredibly short lead time, Britlift worked around the clock night and day to complete design and manufacture within schedule. Within this time period Britlift again attended site to survey the old exchanger. Of key importance was that the lifting equipment fitted both the old and new exchangers. Due to the tolerances and age of the old exchanger, precise measurements and an accurate fabrication for the lifting equipment was required.
40 Tonne Lifting Solution
Britlift designed and manufactured one 40 tonne 2400mm lifting beam (central top direct to hook lifting point), one 25 tonne 2400mm tailing beam (for moving the heat exchanger from vertical to horizontal), one 50 tonne 7000mm modular spreader beam (for lifting once horizontal) and four bespoke bolt on lifting lugs specifically designed and machined to suit the specific dimensions of the heat exchangers. Also supplied by Britlift was a set of detailed user instructions, rigging design and drawings, 4 off 17.5 tonne and 2 off 22.5 tonne polyester round slings, a 42 tonne 2-leg wire rope sling and 9 varying sizes of Green Pin shackles.
Image 3 – In Focus – Custom Machined Lifting Lugs Bolted To The Load