Ranch Cryogenics Inc. (RCI), based in Dwight Illinois, was contracted to move an idle nitrogen (N2) generator from Texas to South Carolina by 1st April.
An RCI crew started with a kickoff meeting at the Illinois office on 2nd February and was onsite in Texas two days later to start work. A month later, on 2nd March, the plant was packed up and ready to ship.
“It’s pretty unusual to have it done in that amount of time,” said Mike Duffy Jr., RCI President. “They needed to be able to start supplying product by 1st April, and that’s why it was such a tight schedule.
“We planned on working seven days a week, but it turned out we couldn’t work on Sundays. So that made it even more difficult.”
“Time tables vary with each project, but they’re ordinarily a little more flexible – often from four to six months. Two months is the tightest schedule we’ve had to work with,” Duffy said. “I literally drew out the layout in my Notebook and then we built it off of that.”
It worked to everyone’s advantage that the company had just hired Phil Sullivan, a 28-year welder-pipe fitter and repair veteran who was named construction manager for the project.
“Sullivan was there the whole time and really got things done,” Duffy said. “There was only a crew of five for RCI and three to four for a lot of it.”
Sullivan said the only unexpected setback was the weather in South Carolina – March turned out to be cold and wet.
“It was challenging because we had to lay everything out from Point A to Point B,” he said of the Texas portion of the job. “Then we had to pack everything up and be ready to start installing it.”
“Tearing down is easier than putting it back together. You have to take care of the equipment when you’re taking it apart, but I thought that went pretty well.”
“It was a tight schedule, but I’m used to it because of my past history. I used to do Coldbox emergency repair jobs all the time and it was always go-go-go. So it didn’t faze me much.”
The relocated plant was mechanically and electrically complete by 30th March. There were a couple of hurdles on the customer’s side – they had trouble getting the control system updated and communicating. Also, an air compressor factory representative wasn’t immediately available for machine commissioning.
Start-up occurred on 10thApril and by 13th April the plant was running and making purity.