L-13 members put their rigging, welding skills to test

Using their rigging skills, Local 13 members lift an 87-foot-tall, 85,000-pound scrubber section.

It’s another job well done with no defects, accidents, or complaints

Local 13 (Philadelphia) members have successfully completed a new wet gas scrubbing unit at the Valero Refinery in Delaware City, Del.

Working for Riggs Distler Inc., nearly 60 Boilermakers built a new pre-scrubber and absorber to replace a multi-clone precipitator that CBI (another Boilermaker union contractor) removed a few years prior. Located at Valero’s fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), the new scrubber will remove 81 percent of the particulates and 98 percent of the sulfur dioxide from the FCCU’s flue gas emission.

According to Mike Murray, the Local 13 erection foreman on the project, the crew had thousands of feet of circumferential weld with countless penetrations that resulted in zero defects. And to top it off, they had no lost-time injuries and no OSHA recordable injuries.

The pre-scrubber they built was 30 feet in diameter and 140 feet in height. Members erected it in five sections, ranging in weight from 50,000 pounds to 120,000 pounds.

The absorber was 32 feet in diameter and 194 feet in height. The first 120 feet of the absorber was made up of 15 ring sections. The ring sections were sub-assembled on site and then stacked two-to-four rings in height, based on weight or optimal construction breaks.

It took Local 13 members five lifts to raise the main column, with a typical weight of 90,000 pounds each lift. The top two-ring section, transition cone, and stack were sub-assembled as a single 87-foot-tall unit, weighing 85,000 pounds. Its lift is pictured here.

The absorber column has two collector trays and three packing beds. It took 14 shifts alone for Local 13 members to pack all 9,308 pieces of packing into the beds — an amazing 28 shifts ahead of schedule. In all, from the job’s startup in late June to mechanical completion in Dec. 2006, Local 13 members worked around 167,000 man-hours in 21 weeks.

The Local 13 crew included those pictured here, l. to r., Bob Enott, John Phillips, Jim Loftis, Bob Lutts, foreman Rich Kelley, Mike Hawke, foreman Mike Murray, general foreman George Hunsicker, Joe Haney, foreman Joe Long, Joe Phillips, Jorge Parla, Gary Wadsen, Joe Wright, Andy Lukanish, and Charlie Albright.