Case Study

Exceeding Expectations and Taking Industry in a New Direction

The Clients= Dilemma!

A client=s petrochemical plant undergoes a turnaround every three years during which time they clean a part of their process water scrubber separator system. One 50,000 gallon vessel is the worst and most difficult of all the cleaning activities associated with the turnaround. The usual approach is to place people inside the vessel and Amine@ the material, by removing with shovels and buckets. The material is then moved down a slide to a small hopper (the turnaround doesn=t allow enough room for a roll off). It is then transferred, a few yards at a time, to a roll off for disposal.

This work is dirty, time consuming and unpleasant. In addition, the area around the vessel always ends up in a complete mess. The tarry bottom residue cools, dries, and sticks securely to anything with which it comes into contact. No one wanted to be involved in the work. Even worse, the available time window to accomplish the job was very short. The unit was one of the last to be brought down and had to be ready when the plant was brought back on-line.

Quad personnel met with the company=s representatives and reviewed the use and design of the vessel. We obtained samples of the residue. Then we set to work.

The solution - Success!

We did something the client found hard to believe. We told them that we would remove the residue from the vessel with little or no human entry and with no spillage from the tarry Agoop@ anywhere. We further told them that the work would be performed at ambient temperatures and that no materials would be introduced that would create hazardous waste. While it may have been hard to believe, we knew that it would work.

We developed a procedure using non-toxic materials and requiring little, if any, human entry to accomplish the cleaning work. The water-born chemical formulation was specifically worked out to cause the residue to become transportable in the water medium. At multiple entry points, pressure jets were inserted to assure penetration and contact.

The job was very time sensitive. A detailed critical path of all job activities was laid out to assure that the job could be completed easily within the required time frame.

Ten days were available to complete the work. In the tradition manner, virtually all of this time was required, especially since significant cleanup work was required after the cleaning process.

Quad knew the plan would work, but the client didn=t. To assure them that the vessel would be clean, even if the radically different approach didn=t work, we established a contingency plan to clean the vessel in a more traditional manner -- still yet without dumping the residue or spilling it everywhere. In our critical path layout, we specified the check point where the vessel would be opened and the cleaning procedures converted to manual removal, if the new approach was not meeting the removal criteria (i.e., not enough was being removed to meet the required completion time).

End Result

The job was conducted with such cleanliness that some of the plant personnel didn=t even know what was happening. Some assumed that the company had decided to skip cleaning the vessel during turnaround.

Was the new process a success? Yes!

What about the person managing the project - the one willing to try this new approach? A Hero in the plant!

Because both parties were willing to attempt something new, a new process was developed that saved the client both time and money and leapfrogged the process ahead for the rest of the industry.

What about the next time?

They=ve asked us to do it again!



Call us : 713-477-6460   Fax us: 713-477-7454      E-mail us: Chuck Goodner chuck,goodner@quadenviroservice.com , Fred Sieber sieberfa@quadenviroservice.com or Steve Ohm steve.ohm@quadenviroservice.com
Last modified: July 26, 2005