3 Ways Suspended Platforms Increase Efficiency for Vertical-Vessel Maintenance

3 Ways Suspended Platforms Increase Efficiency for Vertical-Vessel Maintenance
Posted by rtyu1yu on 2021/08/24
3 Ways Suspended Platforms Increase Efficiency for Vertical-Vessel Maintenance

    3 Ways Suspended Platforms Increase Efficiency for Vertical-Vessel Maintenance

    It’s time to upgrade maintenance practices for vertical vessels. Like any routine maintenance, inspecting, removing and

replacing refractory in vertical vessels places a costly burden on facilities in terms of downtime and lost productivity. One

of the main reasons for this is the traditional solution for accessing vertical surfaces – scaffolding – severely limits

efficiency. It also increases safety risks for employees.

    Processing facilities are taking action to reclaim maintenance productivity and safety by investing in custom-

manufactured suspended platforms for vertical-vessel operations.

These systems feature a lightweight, heavy-duty metal platform that is erected inside the vessel and raised or lowered using

manual or electric hoists for hassle-free maintenance and relining applications.

    Suspended platforms offer a number of benefits over scaffolding systems, starting with effectively eliminating the

protracted setup times that dominate scaffolding-based maintenance schedules. Here’s how these customized systems can boost

productivity and safety throughout the maintenance process.


    Speedy Setup

    The amount of time scaffolding systems take to erect is their biggest deterrent and the greatest drain on maintenance

productivity. This is due in part to the sheer complexity of the operation, which includes juggling a variety of pipes,

hardware, boards and other materials to create the structure. Erection times vary based on vessel size and configuration, but

even with an experienced crew, scaffolding can take several shifts all the way up to an entire week to construct. This puts

significant stress on maintenance budgets and timelines.

    To simplify the process and decrease setup times, steel suspended platform implement a modular design and pin-together construction. This greatly reduces the

number of components and tools required for erection and allows crews to complete setup in as little as two hours.

    Modular components manufactured from high-strength 6061-T6 aluminum provide the same strength as steel at one-third of

the weight. And, because vertical vessels often feature small access points, manufacturers limit the size of modular

components. The resulting pieces are easy to maneuver, weighing 40 pounds (18 kg) or less, and fit through a 22-inch-diameter

(560-mm-diameter) access hole. This provides a lighter, more easily maneuverable solution than scaffolding’s heavy wooden

planks and steel pipes, some of which are up to 14 feet long. 

    In addition, pin connections allow for fast assembly and improve platform strength over welded connections by allowing

for some flexibility while the platform is being raised or lowered. Welded joints are rigid, which increases stress on risers

at platform joints. Pin-together joints are a better solution to help maintain safety and stability when dealing with varying

speeds from the climbing hoists.

    It is worth noting that suspended platforms require some initial site preparations. This can increase setup times the

first go-round – sometimes up to a full shift for complicated systems. But in the long run, a suspended platform can save

facilities significant time and effort with each use, leading to significant ROI potential.

    For example, a copper plant replaced the scaffold system for their smelter with a

custom suspended platform. This increased

productivity and safety. Overall, the plant was able to save 320 man-hours per shutdown with the new system.


    Room to Move

    Even after the platform is assembled, the productivity benefits continue to add up. With scaffolding, tools and materials

need to be hoisted up to working height a little at a time, often manually. This is a slow process with a heavy physical

toll. It also limits productivity by restricting supply lines for materials, such as refractory brick, gunning equipment or

other necessities.

    A suspended platform, on the other hand, can easily transport up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg) up and down, and the open

design provides ample space for personnel, tools and materials. This allows several workers to operate in the same area

comfortably, as well as have everything they need close at hand for efficient maintenance. Crews simply load all necessary

materials at the start of the shift while the platform is positioned at the vessel’s access point. When more brick or other

supplies are required, the crew lowers the platform, loads the necessary materials and then easily returns to height. This

saves considerable time and energy and can increase productivity by limiting the number of trips up and down.

    The platform also provides more room and easier positioning for equipment such as gunning machines for shotcrete

applications. Crews simply set up the machine directly on the platform and maneuver the entire system up and down,

eliminating downtime from repositioning while maintaining an ideal distance from the vessel surface for proper adhesion.

Using a suspended platform for this application also eliminates the physical toll and risk to crews from heavy hoses hanging

from the scaffolding. 

    In addition, the open platform and electric hoist system allow for infinitely variable height, resulting in unrivaled

access for inspection, removal and replacement of refractory materials.

    Scaffolding is inherently rigid. It has to be to create a sturdy base of operations. However, this rigidity restricts

crew access to the burn surface. Pipes inhibit visual inspection and make it difficult to work on the area directly behind

them. The scaffolding structure can also obstruct small flaws, causing them to be overlooked. Crews must squat down or reach

up high when working on surfaces in between 8-foot scaffolding stories.

    Suspended platforms provide crews with 360-degree access at a comfortable working height, regardless of the task at hand.

To optimize accessibility and productivity for a particular facility, manufacturers also customize designs to fit vessels up

to 22 feet in diameter, so crews can get directly against the burn surface without risk of falling. This allows crews to

inspect every inch, catching even the small flaws that could lead to bigger problems down the line if overlooked. Also, some

suspended platforms allow crews to adjust the size of the platform by up to 3 feet while suspended by changing the outer

panels. This results in better accessibility and easy transition between different widths of a vessel.


    Ergonomics for Better Economics

    It goes without saying that having a platform, rather than a narrow scaffold, increases worker safety.

    Falls continue to rank number one in workplace injury reports, and refractory repair is not immune to tragic accidents.

Recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data identified 338 fatal falls to the lower level among 1,038 total construction

fatalities for the year. That same year, falls on the same level or to lower levels amounted to $17.1 billion (29.2%) of the

nearly $60 billion spent by employers on serious, non-fatal workplace injuries.

    A suspended platform replaces narrow wooden catwalks with an aluminum surface that spans the entire vessel, eliminating

the risk of falls or dropped objects. It also eliminates the need for workers to climb up and down carrying small tools and

the need to haul materials and larger equipment up to height, hand over hand, resulting in a much safer jobsite.

    There are long-term safety benefits that go beyond this. From setup through all aspects of refractory maintenance, an

aluminum suspended platform puts less

physical strain on employees. The lightweight, modular components are less cumbersome than long poles and heavy wooden

planks. Easy access to materials and tools reduces the risk of repetitive-motion injuries as well as minor cuts, bruises or

scrapes that come with manually moving refractory materials. Being able to position the platform at the ideal working height

for the job at hand limits bending or reaching, providing an ergonomic solution instead.

    All of these small but significant safety benefits lead to long-term savings in the form of worker’s compensation claims

and insurance premiums.

    Making the switch to a ZLP500 rope suspended platform requires some initial planning, but positive returns are almost

immediate. Facilities that have made the switch save tens of thousands of dollars with each maintenance cycle, providing a

return on investment in one or two uses. The key is working with a reputable manufacturer that can provide a customized

platform that fits a facility’s needs perfectly. Working together, these partners can revolutionize refractory maintenance

in vertical vessels.


    Mr. Jayesh Vadukiya, M.D, New Age Construction Equipment Engineering Company

    New Age Construction Equipment Engineering Company is one of the leading manufacturers of construction equipment like

Rope Suspended Working Platforms (Gondolas/ Cradles), Bar Bending Machines, Bar Cutting Machines, etc. The company is

strictly complying with ISO 9001:2008 certification and its products have also received CE certificates. The stringent

quality standards conforming to “OE” standards enable it to guarantee 100% satisfaction for the entire range of products.

    New Age believes in innovation, technology, and customization of its products, based on market research and end-users’

expectations, and has a strong sales & service team of professionals. The company has many instances of innovation and

customization, especially of its Rope Suspended Platforms (RSP) / Gondolas/ Cradles. Presenting here two success stories on

customized RSP for Dam & Silo Project.

    The job was to clean the wall of the dam. It was a very difficult job because of the wind pressure and the height of the

wall. The width of the road on the dam was too short to fix a standard upper mechanism of RSP. Another problem was the

customer’s requirement of designing the upper mechanism in such a way that vehicles should also pass through the upper

mechanism and their movement should not be stopped during the cleaning.

    Moreover, the upper mechanism was so heavy that it was next to impossible to shift it. The customer wanted to move the

wall machine (upper mechanism + cradle) from one place to another in a short time, and we did that without the help of any


    We designed the RSP in such a way that the client’s requirement was fulfilled, and work was done timely. We had also

provided specially designed Motorized device for shifting of wall machine without any requirement of labor. With our vast

experience of doing challenging projects, we are always ready to take new assignments and try to resolve all issues through

our customized solutions.

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