Using a Superheat SmartFurnace for heat treating pipe welds right in its own fabrication shop, rather than off-site, Manhattan Mechanical Services saved a large oil-refinery customer up to 40% on labor costs.
Manhattan Mechanical Services, a large, merit shop industrial mechanical-services contractor, recently completed a piping fabrication project for the fifth-largest oil-refining company in the country, located in the greater Chicago area. Using a Superheat SmartFurnace™ for heat treating pipe welds right in its own fabrication shop, rather than off-site, Manhattan Mechanical Services saved the oil-refinery customer up to 40% on labor costs.
Manhattan Mechanical Services supports its customers in various types of work: industrial maintenance services, process piping, structural steel, equipment installation, scaffolding and insulation. The company specializes in providing turnkey projects to its customers.
Recently, the company adopted Superheat’s new SmartFurnace II, which has exponentially accelerated the heat-treating process for pipe welds. This process has been slow and costly in the past. As the first industrial mechanical contractor in the Midwest to incorporate the SmartFurnace II into its heat-treating process, the company has reduced costs and saved time for its clients.
Fig. 1. Initial loading of pipe spools before undergoing heat treatment in the Superheat SmartFur-nace™ II
According to Thomas Korocy, Manhattan Mechanical Services quality-control manager, the recent oil-refinery project involved fabricating the trim and associated piping for one of the client’s large pres-sure vessels. The materials had to be stress-relieved, which involves heat treating to reduce or eliminate residual stresses and then cooling at a slow enough rate to prevent these stresses from redeveloping.
With the remotely operated SmartFurnace II (12.5 feet long x 4.5 feet wide x 4.3 feet high), located at Manhattan Mechanical’s new fabrication facility in East Chicago, Ind., the company was able to pro-vide immediate heat-treatment services to the refinery.
“Superheat’s innovative software solutions helped us provide the most efficient, state-of-the-art, on-site heat treatment to our customer,” Korocy said.
The SmartFurnace and SmartCenter: How it Works, Project Timelines and Costs
By allowing Manhattan Mechanical to heat treat the pipe welds at their own facility – thereby boosting efficiency and reducing labor costs for the refinery – the SmartFurnace has provided a significant competitive advantage. Traditionally, furnaces are located at the heat-treatment provider’s facility, resulting in higher costs and longer project periods.
“It’s no secret that maintenance work in the industrial construction field is extremely time-sensitive,” Korocy said. “Instead of needing to transport the welds to a different facility to be heat treated, we saved a shift or even two shifts in the schedule with the SmartFurnace II located right in our fabrication shop.”
“The time savings was a big advantage and translated into considerable cost savings for our customer,” Korocy continued. “Any downtime we can avoid could save a plant thousands of dollars in potentially lost revenue.”
Manhattan Mechanical had ready access to Superheat’s system, according to Korocy. “Anytime we’re ready to do a heat treat, we simply log in and notify Superheat, swiping a SmartCard on the unit. They then monitor the process at their SmartCenter in Houston.”
Using the Superheat SmartWay quality-assurance program, Manhattan Mechanical can turnkey a project without having to call in a subcontractor. As noted, Superheat’s SmartCenter technology pro-vides remote operation to all on-site equipment. Manhattan Mechanical’s staff digitally drops in heat-treatment requests and views real-time weld statuses and live charts from any device.
Superheat’s remote control of the furnace eliminates the need for on-site operators, thus providing the opportunity to keep pace with strict, 24-hour response emergency projects.
Fig. 2. A reducing, flanged spool before undergoing heat treatment in the Superheat SmartFurnace™ II
“Using the SmartFurnace helped us get the job done sooner.”
According to Korocy, Manhattan Mechanical was able to heat treat a large number of welds simultaneously on the refinery project and reduce labor costs.
“The savings is especially significant when compared with local heat treating, which involves attaching a thermocouple, or two, to the pipe and wrapping the materials with ceramic heaters,” Korocy said. “Heat treating could also require calling the heat-treating facility to make a special request for heat treatment within, say, the next two days.”
According to Korocy, the heat-treating provider might be backed up and “offer to do it within the next two weeks instead.” The only alternative would then be to dispatch a group into the field to perform localized heat treatment where each weld would be individually wrapped and heated.
With this field method, the power source would be an individual generator powered by diesel, limiting the amount of heat energy it could provide. In contrast, the SmartFurnace II offers the highest capacity with the smallest footprint and the lowest power requirements in the industry.
“When heat treating longer pipe spools, you must be mindful not to overheat while making sure that you have the proper supports in place,” Korocy explained. “It’s doable, but it’s very time-consuming. We are able to remove that time and risk from the equation with the in-house furnace.”
Fig. 4. The Superheat SmartFurnace™ III
In short, “using the SmartFurnace helped us get the job done sooner,” Korocy said. Today, Manhattan Mechanical can do hundreds of welds in a heat-treat cycle, minimizing labor costs and time.
“With everything being done paperless and electronically, you really only have one person communi-cating with the heat-treating service company,” Korocy said. “The last heating cycle we performed for the vessel replacement contained 64 welds, but we could have put double or even triple that amount in the SmartFurnace II.”
For more information: Contact Thomas Korocy, quality control manager, Manhattan Mechanical Services, 3450 Michigan Ave, East Chicago, IN 46312; tel: 815-478-9940; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; web: https://meritshopworks.com