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!

 

Precision Shafts to Get You Running Again!

They say “wheels make the world go round”, but without shafts, nothing would ever move.

 

3D Render of Shaft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A shaft connects a mechanical power source to gears, wheels, turbines, rotors and much more. Shafts can be as simple a basic round bar or as complex as containing exacting bearing fits, keyways, sleeves, grease fittings, snap ring grooves and splines.

 

Broken Shaft – Removed from Assembly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Often, the shafts we see have been in service for many years, sometimes running non-stop. Unfortunately when these older shafts break (as shown here), there aren’t drawings available and not a lot of time to get the new shaft machined and the unit running again.

 

Half a Shaft – Part A
Half a Shaft – Part B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shaft broke and we got it in 2 sections, still in the housing. After disassembly, we made hand sketches. While the housing was cleaned and checked, we created 3D drawings and then machined a new shaft.

 

Shop Sketch of Shaft
3D CAD Drawing of Shaft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the new shaft ready for inspection. After passing final inspection, the housing was reassembled and the unit was ready for production use.

 

Finished Shaft – Ready for Unit Assembly
Shaft in Assembly – Almost Ready!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully a broken shaft won’t take one of your machines, or worse, your facility down. But if it does, Riggs Machine has the experience to get you running again.

 

Final Assembly – Ready to Ship
Final Unit – Assembled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

Shims – more than just a strip of metal

SHIM – A washer or thin strip of metal used to align parts, make them fit or reduce wear.

 

a new shim set – ready for installation

 

These, sometimes extremely slender, strips of metal are very crucial in industrial operations. From getting a pump to line up perfectly or to make a surface level, a shim must be exact.

 

don’t let your shims get this bad!

 

Shims come in a variety of materials, but most commonly from metals such as carbon steel, brass and stainless steel. And they also vary greatly in their thickness from up to 1/4” thick and down to .001 thick (imagine an industrial foil).

 

.003 thick shims – for precise applications

 

And the tolerances they must hold are key to their functionality. They cannot deviate across the surface, their dimensions must be held.

 

 

Often industrial shims come in sets of varying thicknesses. They can be added individually to get the final adjustments perfect.

 

a pack of new new shims

 

They also come in many different shapes, often having to be custom designed to fit around existing bolt holes and other features. We like to add the small hand holds (show below) to make installation and adjustment easier.

 

custom designed shims
pump shims w-install tabs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Riggs Machine and Fabricating we understand Industrial Shims and their importance in setup, maintenance and repairs. We understand the tolerances and design elements that separate a shim from a strip of metal. Yes, there is a difference. If the shop you are working with now doesn’t agree with that, then you are working with the wrong place. Time to call Riggs Machine.

 


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!

Engine Case Blower

This assembly is used in an automobile assembly line. When engine cases come out of a bath after final machining, the fluid needs to be cleaned off before handling and assembly.

   

This blower unit utilizes a series of Exair Air Knives to create walls of air to blow the cases dry. It also uses a SMC air cylinder to raise and lower the case in and out of the unit.