Preparing for the Outage

Preparing for an outage can be almost as stressful as the actual event. Gathering drawings, getting materials ready, prepping vendors, suppliers and employees. Trying your best not to overlook any details.

 

construction workers
Photo by Jess Lis from Freeimages
blueprints
Photo by Fira Anuar from Freeimages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But often it’s not the big ticket items that slow or even stop production, it could be something as simple as missing shims to get a new pump to the correct height, a missing blind to close off a pipe section before adding a new unit, keys for new shafts or custom bolts you swore you ordered and now will take a week to machine.

 

bleeder blind pump shim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve seen all of these, and more. The excuses are varied, who was responsible for ordering the items, I thought they were included with the quote, the existing ones should have worked with the new unit, and even – I just forgot!

 

frustrated man
Photo by Marabu from ABSFreePIC.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So how best to avoid these situations?

– Get current manufacturer drawings for new equipment. Trying to fit a new pump on an old base never works out. Plan for modifications and additions. Make sure everyone has the same version prints. Don’t rely on old drawings someone pulled from the file or had stored on their computer. Verify you are on the same version. If you have to, create a new master set and pass them out to everyone involved.

 

parts and prints

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Next, and sometimes more importantly, is having a local machine shop who can respond timely, ready for such emergencies. This might require several shops of varied disciplines; one for burn outs, one for custom bolts or nuts, one for blinds and piping…

 

weld shop

lathes in machine shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– You might want to get the shops involved early in the process, rather than late one evening when you realize something has gone wrong. They may make recommendations as to what items you may have overlooked. They may need to stock up on certain materials so you don’t have to wait to have them shipped in (and overnighted at an additional expense).

 

They may also have to juggle their schedule around to make sure they have the manpower available during the outage. Are they normally closed on weekends? Will they have a method to call someone in for a quick job? Are they in the middle of other shutdowns or production runs?

 

worker drilling

production parts being inspected
Photo by Michael Adkins photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some common last minute items:

  • Blinds (slip/paddle, bleeder and orifice)
  • Keys for shafting
  • Shims
  • Tube Plugs
  • Custom Bolts and Nuts (or just odd sized)
  • Non-stock metals (stainless piping or angle, brass bushings)

 

Benjamin Franklin

 

 

 

 

 

 

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

Handwheel Extensions & Ease of Operation

When a valve handle is not readily accessible, or the distance for proper operation is too great, a Handwheel Extension might be the solution.

Once affixed to the existing valve, workers have quick, ready and safe access to the controls when need arises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shown above, an inaccessible gate valve is below a platform. With a bolt-on Handwheel Extension, a worker on top of the platform now has convenient, safe access within reach and can operate the valve freely (without the need of ladders or rigging).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, by increasing the diameter of the handle on the Handwheel Extension, the valve may be easier to operate than it may have been with its original smaller handle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Handwheel Extensions are custom designed based on the valve size and distance from the valve to the operator’s control location.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handwheel Extensions are often galvanized to help withstand the weather, elements and possible corrosion from chemicals in the facility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have inaccessible valves that require outside rigging to operate or controls that put your employees in dangerous situations, call Riggs for an overview of the benefits that Handwheel Extensions can offer.

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

 

A Fabrication Story – The Bearing Pedestal

Pedestals – Old and New

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a reason for the fabricating in Riggs Machine & Fabricating. Here’s a perfect example. A client has an older machinery pedestal in very poor condition and needs a new assembly. There are, of course, no design drawings for the item, but luckily we can bring it to our shop.

 

Pedestal – Old Unit – Front
Pedestal – Old Unit – Side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First we make hand sketches of the unit. We review the original design to see if there were any structural defects that should be improved or any new features that the client would like to have implemented in the current design.

 

Pedestal – Hand DWG
Pedestal – CAD DWG
Pedestal – 3D Model

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, these sketches are converted to CAD drawings and then 3D models are created for fit-up and testing. It’s much faster (and cheaper) to test a new design in 3D than it is after cutting 1/2” thick plates. When we are satisfied with the design, the files are sent out to have plates cut.

 

Pedestal – Pallet of Parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what we get back from the waterjet cutters (Swift Manufacturing), nice pallet of loose parts. Now fabrication begins. If the designers did their work properly, the welders job should go smoothly.

 

Pedestal – New – Stage I
Pedestal – In Process – Rear
Pedestal – In Process II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here we have the final assembly. From hand sketches to CAD to 3D models to cut parts to fabrication in less time than it takes some companies to return your call.

 

Pedestal – Final
Pedestal – Final – Painted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

Rail Welding Shears

Used when creating a Butt Weld between two sections of train rail, this shear takes a lot of abuse. At the same time, it must follow very tight tolerances to maintain the profile of the rail (especially when a high speed train is running across it).

A New Rail Welding Shear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A butt weld is created in the field using a mobile electric flash-butt welder. The two sections are joined and electricity is applied to the rail ends. The flash-butt welder squeezes the sections together at very high pressure, permanently joining them, but this also creates a seam at the joint with a segment of slag.

Rail w/Hot Slag after Butt Weld
(notice the manual shear in the background)
“Thermite Rail Welding” by PetrS. 2013 licensed under CC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The RAIL WELDING SHEAR is clamped onto the rail and slid along the rail, by the mobile welder, cutting off the hot slag leaving only a small remainder that will be later ground smooth.

These shears are precision cut out of Nitronic 60 – a high strength metal known for it’s wear resistance – with a wire EDM machine. The EDM unit cuts parts slower, but with more precision than a waterjet or laser cutter.

EDM test for part fit-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final grooves are added via a CNC and the units are then inspected. A hard-surface weld is added and machined to create a precision cutting edge. The parts are assembled to complete the rail welding shear.

Rail Welding Shear Components

More Rail Welding Shear Parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are ready for the rail and making the travels of passengers and goods go smoother and safer.

Rail Welding Shear – Top

Rail Welding Shear – Side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This video shows a portable flash-butt welder in use. Notice the Rail Shear clamped on the rail before the unit is lowered on the section.

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

Welcome Gregg Nichols to the Riggs Team!

We’d like to welcome Gregg Nichols to our staff. Gregg has a combined 28 years in Industrial Distribution & Manufacturing Operations and Sales.

Gregg Nichols

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His prior experience includes 5 years with Perfection Rubber (operations manager and sales), 18 years with MSC / Dolin Supply (team leader and outside sales) and 4 years with American producers (outside and industrial sales)

The business segments he previously focused on included:

  • Coal
  • Construction
  • Chemical
  • Manufacturing
  • Petroleum
  • Power Generation
  • Steel Production

Gregg and Brent Inspect a New Platform

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gregg’s areas of expertise include:

  • Hydraulic Hoses, Tubes and Fittings
  • Metal working – Machining – Hole Making
  • Material Handling (lifting and rigging)
  • Pipes, Valves & Fittings
  • Safety

Gregg has jumped right in and got off to a strong start. His outgoing personality and years of knowledge have been a perfect fit here at Riggs. Call him for a visit to your facility and see why he’s an invaluable asset to our team!

Industrial Platform Handrail – Ergonomics and Safety

Industrial platforms and walkways typically use one of two types of handrail – round bar or angle.

round rail platform

updated angle based handrail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But recently we’ve seen the addition of a lower handrail, which is more ergonomic and comfortable.

smoother, more ergonomic grip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This additional handrail makes transversing stairs much safer. There are no breaks or pinch points as you move your hand along the rail. The placement is more convenient and it just has a better feel to it.

stairs w/ lower handrail

new handrail in place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even better, this handrail can be added to existing walkways and platforms. If you have a heavily trafficked area or a thoroughfare on which you’d like to beef up the safety – rather than replace the entire structure, consider this simple (and cost effective) addition. Give Riggs a call, we’re here to help.

easily added to existing walkways

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

Industrial Classroom Training Aids

If you ever wondered where the custom training equipment in industrial classrooms come from, then look no further than Riggs Machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Riggs we can create custom pieces from scratch, like this “oil flinger” demonstration unit. Shown from conception, with 3D renders, to the final unit in the classroom.

3D Oil Render Test

Oil Flinger 3D Render

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we also often disassemble, create “cut-away” sections, sandblast, paint and reassemble actual pieces of equipment to be used in working classrooms. These units are used for hands-on training before students hit the field. Much better than a video or book based lecture.

FinTube Assembly – Ready for Class

Custom Cut-Aways

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these jobs can be more time and labor intensive than actual repairs! But we don’t mind. We’re proud to be part of the team who help educate the next generation who will be keeping our refineries, steel mills and factories running.

Pump Cut Away in Process

Pump Lid – Painting Detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

The Target Blind – Revisited

Blinds, sometimes known as blanks, isolate a section of pipe for repair, maintenance or testing. There are many types of blinds as we have shown before from the slip blind, the spectacle blind to the bleeder blind.

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have a nice assortment of Target Blinds. Used much like the bleeder blind, the target blind is placed on the end of a pipe section rather than in the center of a section. Gauges can be placed on the valves to test the pressure in the section of piping. Sampling can also be taken from the valve if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The different sizes correspond with the different sizes of piping found within the refinery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This group of target blinds is a bit “beefier” than usual. They will be used during the permanent shutdown of a unit until the demolition of the unit occurs. There may be need for occasional venting of the piping section until the demo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

A Phonographic Finish!

No, not what is used when a race is too close to call (that’s a photo finish). But a machined finish added to the raised face on a flange to give an extra level of security to prevent leaks and maintain effective seals.

Spacer Flange w-Phonographic Finish

The Phonographic Finish is actually a serrated finish, either concentric or spiral (much like the grooves on a record), that will grip the gasket between pipe sections firmly.

Phonographic Finish – Close Up

These finishes are typically added on a lathe to specifications set either by the company ordering the flange, the manufacturer or ASME B16.5 guidelines. Below is a render of the completed flange with bolt holes. I would have included a photo of the actual completed unit, but as soon as it was finished, it was rushed to the job site! But that’s why we’re here. Everyone knows who to call when a custom part is needed in a hurry.

Spacer Flange – Render

 


Riggs Machine & Fabricating – Serving industry in KY, OH and WV for over 45 years!

Is Your Scaffold System OSHA Compliant?

Ladder on Scaffold by George Hoden

Do you use long term scaffolding in place of permanent platforms? Are they stable, secure and up to the new OSHA regulations? Are you still renting your scaffolding and paying for it month after month?

FALL PROTECTION & SCAFFOLDING VIOLATIONS

remain among OSHA’s most frequently cited standard violations.*

 

 

OSHA violations are now subject to higher penalties,

this signals a 78% increase in penalty amounts.*

 

Convert your temporary, unstable scaffolding to a sturdy, permanent structure. No more rentals, no more repairs, no more guard rails that are dangerously low and above all, avoid the fear of those outrageous OSHA fines.

A Riggs Machine representative will review your current needs and outline the best options for your facility. We even offer 3D renders of the unit before construction begins so you can visualize the actual unit design.

  

Walkways – Handrail – Ladders

Riggs can not only deliver new assemblies for your facility, but update your existing equipment to bring it up to the new standards.

 

 

 

 

 

OSHA – Final Rule to Update General Industry Walking-Working Surface and Fall Protection Standards

OSHA – Top Violations

* bdlaw.com – Notes regarding OSHA penalty increases and violation citation frequency.