How Low can you go? Sometimes in the course of repair work, real life scariness comes into play. Deep holes, rushing water, confined spaces…. These repairs are not carried out by the faint of heart!
For the past few years, Pumpcoat ~ PCI Contractors have been called in to do repairs on various areas on a large shaft for a hydro-electric facility in Lowell, Mass. We repair a variety of shafts on a regular basis, but what makes this repair unique is that it several stories down in a pit that is regularly filled with rushing water. The shaft is part of the turbine system that generates the electricity for the plant. The entire piece of equipment goes down about 100 feet and has a series of wicket gates that open and close to control the flow of thousands of gallons of water from the dam through. Annually, the pit is de-watered for inspection and repair. Our workers went down approximately 60 feet (about 6 stories) into the pit via ladders and with safety harnesses. Although the water flow had been closed off, they could still hear the eerie sounds of the water many feet beneath them beyond the wicket gates. The walls around them in the pit were slick and slimy from being under water most of the time.
The repair required a first step of sand-blasting certain areas of the shaft. After which an NDE was carried out (NDE stands for Non-Destructive Examination) An NDE can include a variety of tasks such as Visual Examination, Ultrasonic testing, Liquid penetration and others. The Examination results show where there are corroded or pitted areas on the shaft that need repair. Once the NDE had been performed, the area is re-blasted and wiped clean. This brings the surface down to bare metal and removes any excess chips, rust or corrosion so the epoxy coating adheres to the surface.
PCI Workers then applied a coating of Arcor EE-11 Ceramic filled epoxy. This epoxy is perfectly suited for immersion service, and produces a tough, chemical resistant coating. The workers clean up and get back out of the pit, and once cured, the shaft is put back into service.
You hear stories from time to time in the news about repair workers getting hurt or killed on the job. So how does this happen, or rather, how can it be kept from happening?
Several safety measures are taken to prevent accidents on the job. In the case of the deep pit shaft repair, we had a Safety Rescue team onsite whose sole job was to have the equipment at the ready to extract a person if their safety harness failed or they ran into some other issue while at the bottom of the pit. Pumpcoat workers are Confined Space Trained, so they had the necessary skills and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for that particular job. PPE can include respirators, suits, gloves, masks, eye & ear protection. Other safety measures can that be used for different projects include air monitoring (for build-up of toxic gases) and air compressors with hoses to blow in fresh air to areas where work is being performed (like the bottom of a tank where other gasses can stagnate). If the equipment normally involves moving parts, a Lockout/Tagout is performed. (A safety protocol that can include a padlock inserted through to physically keep the equipment from being turned on, kind of like a chain through bicycle spokes). Most facilities have additional protocols set up so they know where all personnel & contractors are, and have extraction plans set up in case someone gets hurt. These are just some of the safety measures that are in place to prevent accidents and ensure worker safety.
The truth is that much of what the average person takes for granted – running water, electricity, heat and air-conditioning, etc. is handled by variety of infrastructure equipment that needs to be kept running and in good shape. The invisible hands of modern conveniences are really the culmination of many people who are responsible for keeping the pieces in working order. Some repairs can be scary but proper safety precautions can minimize the risks.
Pumpcoat – PCI Contractors has done many epoxy floors over the years. We have become the “go-to” company for coatings on floors and equipment. Recently we installed some epoxy flooring for a large University in Boston. It was applied in their dormitory bathrooms. In addition to the normal Duraflex flooring system, we added a 4 inch cove base.
The old floor in the bathroom was tile. Although still structurally sound, the tile and grout was old and had begun to stain and wear making it look continuously grungy. When grout begins to wear down, the pitting creates a prime place for bacteria to grow, so it becomes harder to keep clean and sanitize. The Epoxy floor was installed directly onto the tile using it as a substrate. Prep included acetone wiping, dustless diamond grinding, grit blasting of the corners and edges. The toilets and most other plumbing fixtures were removed or taped off prior to the coating.
Duraflex Duraquartz is a three part epoxy system. The initial coat was poured on and also served to level the old tile floor. The grinding as part of the prep process increased the surface area of the substrate and allowed the tile to adhere to the epoxy layer. The mid coat was Dura-glaze. It was troweled down and then a quartz colored blend was broadcast throughout which is what give the unique color and dimension to the finished floor. After the curing time, two layers of Duraflex Ultra clear top coat were added. Then a 4 inch cove was created around the walls.
A cove base is a continuation of the epoxy floor that runs up the wall. Usually coves are anywhere from 2-4 inches in height. Coves are beneficial for a few reasons. Just like the epoxy floor, they create an easy to clean, seamless surface. Especially in a lavatory where there is a good amount of water and moisture, a regular baseboard or wallboard would easily succumb to mildew and mold. Epoxy floors and coves are also chemically resistant and durable. Where previously, the grout from the tile floor had begun to break down and pit, the epoxy stands up to traditional cleaners and repeated washings. Having a cove also means not having a crack between where the floor ends and the wall begins, which means less space for bacteria or mildew to form since the in-between areas like cracks are hard to clean. Finally, the cove base is aesthetically pleasing since there is no ‘visual break’ in the floor to wall surface.
Epoxy Coatings as applied by Pumpcoat – PCI Contractors can improve safety by creating a slip resistant flooring solution. In addition to being impact, heat and fire resistant, epoxy floors and cove bases are environmentally friendly and cost efficient choice. They are a terrific ‘Green’ alternative. Many epoxies we use have low or no VOC’s. Their ease of care requires fewer harsh chemicals for the environment too.
Give Pumpcoat a call for help with solutions to your flooring problems.
A Contractor had called Pumpcoat regarding our Specialty Coatings. We have coatings on parts installed in Ash Systems and other highly abrasive applications at Power plants throughout New England. He wanted to know if we had something that would be able to help one of their clients out. They were a Lab that had gate valves that were seeing high wear and corrosion rates in service. The Service the valve was in was high temperature vacuum service : 90o Celsius (approx. 194o Fahrenheit) and had HCL and Nano particulate in the gas that the valve came into contact with.
Initially we planned to do the entire coating with Arcor S-20, a high functionality epoxy Novolac designed particularly as a protective coating for metals in highly aggressive environments. After speaking more to the customer, our Lead technical engineer decided to go with a Hastelloy Spray coating with a top coat of S-20 so the wear rate would decrease significantly.
Hastelloy is actually a coating made up of powdered metal, that when spray-applied in a special chamber, adheres to the item. Hastelloy contains nickel, molybdenum and chromium and offers tremendous corrosive resistance and high temperature strength. It can be found in applications such as seals, springs, valves and even aerospace parts. The top coat of S-20 offers an additional layer of corrosive resistance.
By Spraying Hastelloy on 316 Stainless Steel, you can achieve corrosion resistance without the expense of a solid Hastelloy part
The Gate valve delivered to Pumpcoat’s shop, disassembled, and the valve part underwent the Hastelloy spray coating process. Pumpcoat then coated the parts with the S-20, did a Quality control check, and reassembled the valve for delivery back to the customer. The entire process took a couple weeks. The end result was a problem solved for our customer. If you have mechanical parts such as valves, seals or others that wear out quickly due to highly corrosive environments, call Pumpcoat at 508-540-5878 to see how we can help.
Pre-job safety orientation is nothing new in the world of contracting but when it involves working at a Nuclear Facility, it goes to a whole new level. Pumpcoat had gotten the project of coating the interior of two water tanks at a Nuclear Power plant in Maryland. Prior to the project beginning, our field service team traveled to their site for
the classes. It was 2 weeks of several hours each day of coursework for PCI’s workers, in order to learn the ins and outs of safety and what was allowed on a Nuclear site. Our office staff sent the paperwork regarding physicals, fit testing, background checks, PCI’s Safety Program and other protocol to their safety officer. Lists of tools and equipment had to be approved of before being allowed on site. The actual type of grit and epoxy also had to be pre-approved, as did the type of sandblasting suit and other PPE.
In the end, PCI Contractors passed the muster and were able to mobilize to site to work on the tanks.
During the project, each worker needed to sign in and go through a daily ‘tailgate’ meeting. Tailgate meetings are ones that PCI does as part of every service project, The workers discuss the possible safety issues, any site hazards and what is to be accomplished during the course of the day. They make sure their safety gear is properly functioning, etc. At the Nuclear facility, there were additional protocol, such as signing in and out of the work area, accounting for the tools that were brought into the area, and other things.
The tanks were potable Fire and Water storage tanks. As part of the project scope, PCI arranged for portable tanks to be brought in to store water. (The tanks that were being coated was the facility’s normal fire emergency supply). Working on one tank at a time, Each tank was grit blasted. Parts of the tanks interior were treated for corrosion with Arcor’s EE-95 paste grade material. Larger holes were plugged and blended into the epoxy for seamlessness. Top coats were applied of Arcor S-20, an NSF epoxy coating, which is approved for potable water. Spent grit was removed and disposed of in an environmentally aware manner. PCI Contractors were able to do the job efficiently and to the customer’s satisfaction. PCI Contractors is now in its 17th year of servicing customers. We are problem solvers and get the job done.
A Pumpcoat customer had an issue with cracked concrete flooring and out-of-date safety line striping. As a factory that manufactured roofing materials, their eye was on keeping their factory up-to-code and safe for their employees. They called Pumpcoat to help them achieve that goal.
Pumpcoat/PCI Contractors came in and did a site assessment. A section-by-section plan was created to remove the old lines, repair the spalling and cracked areas around their concrete floor, and lay down new epoxy Safety lineage, hazard notations and a top coat sealer.
Over the course of two months, Pumpcoat/PCI made several mobilizations and worked around the factory’s production schedule as to provide minimum disruption.
Pumpcoat/PCI prepped the floor using Blast-trac shot blasters. It was ground in different areas, profiled and cleaned, removing the old striping in the process. The concrete cracks and spalling were repaired . New Safety lines were taped down and applied using Duraflex Epoxy Safety colors – Red, Green & Yellow. The different areas were demarcated with area specific Safety notices – in example: “Fork lift traffic only”
The lines were then top-coated with a clear epoxy sealer for increased durability. Areas of the Office, Operator line, Maintenance Warehouse, Fabrication shop & Loading dock were re-striped in this manner.
The customer was very satisfied with the end result. The new safety striping brought the factory within compliance of the Health & Safety code, as well as being able to keep the factory operational while the work was being done.
If you have problems with compliance due to obsolete signage, safety striping, handicapped accessibility or other issues, please call PCI Contracting for a consultation today. We can help!
Recently Pumpcoat did a repair of a large Fairbanks Morse pump for a Municipal Water Authority in Massachusetts. The pump was situated at their Wastewater Treatment Facility, with the impeller weighing in at 10,000 lbs (6 ft diameter x 4 ft. High), and the shaft was 2,700 lbs, (6 ft long x 13 inches wide).
Pumpcoat arranged shipment of these parts to our affiliate Machine Shop, where they underwent repairs to bring them back to OEM specifications. The shaft was repaired in various places by being welded, undercut and rebuilt with plasma spray to return it to spec. Pitting on the impeller was repaired by the same means. The impeller vanes were hand dressed and the impeller ring was polished. The shaft and impeller were then dynamically balanced. Once returned to the facility for the pump to be reassembled.
Pumpcoat has been a supplier for close to 2 decades for Municipal, Power Gen, Industrial, and other types of facilities. We supply a wide variety of pump parts: OEM, aftermarket, and we also have the ability for parts replication (for hard to source parts, or uncommon applications such as high corrosion environments).
These additional sources allow us to be very competitive with pricing.
We also have the ability to make impellers, shafts & shaft sleeves from samples in a wide variety of alloys. This can save our customers time and money, especially on parts that have a long lead time or are hard to source.
We can be very helpful with pumps common at Water or Wastewater plants like Allis Chalmers, Fairbanks Morse, Goulds or Gorman Rupp pumps. Our services like repairs to shafts, impellers or pump rebuilds can also be economical over purchasing new pumps. Call or email Yvonne or Mike at Pumpcoat to see how we can best help your facility save time and money.