Date: 6th September 2016
Author: Otto Simon
Battery 3 of the Appleby Coke Ovens (ACO) at Scunthorpe, is back in business!
The first push of the newly restored battery was conducted in late July after an extensive recovery project which included the replacement of all 33 oven door frames, pulman valves and ascension pipe assemblies, and service pipework. In addition to this, several end flue repairs and extensive ceramic welding of the oven refractory was carried out.
The project took more than 250,000 man-hours to complete and was achieved whilst working between 2 live batteries with minimal disruption to normal operations; which enabled continued production of coke for British Steel’s blast furnaces.
The battery had been steadily declining in its ability to produce coke and gas, and was struggling to produce enough coke to sustain the blast furnaces. In December 2015 the decision was made to ‘Hot Idle’ the battery (hold the battery at a temperature of 950°C while the work was carried out) and repair works commenced in January 2016.
Otto Simon carried out the majority of the project, acting as Principal Contractor under CDM 2015. Nick Shaw, Otto Simons’ Head of Coke, Construction and Commissioning said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with British Steel on this project. We forged a strong and productive working relationship to make sure the project was delivered safely and on time. Despite challenges of working between operational batteries, a tremendous amount of effort and engineering has gone into bringing battery 3 back into production with a greatly improved environmental performance."
Otto Simon’s hard work and the coordination between project teams has been praised by British Steel’s Recovery Team Leaders, Chris Peill and Dale Cryer. Dale said "Every single person involved in the project should feel proud with what we've achieved”, with Chris commenting: “There was fantastic cooperation between production teams and the rebuild contractors to get the project finished on time.”
Thanks to the recovery project, the plant’s production volume of coke has almost doubled from 4.5kt to approximately 9kt. Jim Worsely, Plant Manager ACO said: “The combined benefit of coke and gas production from battery 3 will be approximately £12m year on year. ACO has had a very challenging but productive 12 months. Delivering a 50% improvement in our safety performance along with nearly doubling the plant output is an incredible achievement. The team at ACO has a lot to be proud of."
The project was not without its difficulties. Working between two live ovens provided numerous health and safety risks which were expertly managed during the project thanks to the additional control measures put in place. "During this phenomenal project, the only 'injury’ we had was a small blood blister, which is absolutely incredible and shows how dedicated the guys were," said Jim. The additional measures put in place for this project are now being rolled out across the rest of ACO’s operations.
Jon Campbell, ACO Recovery Manager told Steel Matters, British Steel’s in-house magazine: "It gives me great pleasure to see the end of the phase of battery 3. It's personally been one of the most difficult challenges - to make sure a project, a live recovery and the prime manufacturing process was planned in such a way that all parties achieved their goals."
The project was a huge success for all involved and shows a commitment to the future of the Scunthorpe site. British Steel will now start to look at repair works for Batteries 1,2 and 4. Otto Simon was delighted to work alongside British Steel on this project, and is looking forward to further collaborations on this site in the future.