This really exciting project has presented numerous technical and organizational challenges, as was to be expected in an undertaking of this size and complexity. Our project team addressed all issues as they arisen and in the end, we have overcome all the challenges.
To begin with, this was a very extensive project, with over 35,000 inspection hours used for non-destructive testing on our part. The inspection work had to be done on multiple plants simultaneously. We worked closely with clients’ engineering teams to plan and schedule the inspection activities so as to keep up with the overall erection progress without interfering with other construction activities. It was a very difficult task to coordinate nightly radiographic testing during the periods when the construction was going 24/7 and involved many companies from different countries. It required a very close collaboration with Andritz’s safety department and a great deal of flexibility from all parties involved. We had to re-arrange the work frequently depending on lifting equipment and scaffolds availability, shifting priorities, adverse weather conditions or local labor strikes that could paralyze the construction activities for days. Nevertheless, our project team managed all the scheduling issues confidently with a successful outcome.
100% radiographic testing of welds on massive duplex pressure vessels turned out to be one of the most challenging inspection tasks. LBNiW x-rayed over 1,5 km of heavy wall welding on a very demanding time schedule. In order to achieve this, our experts decided to use the panoramic tube which allowed us to x-ray one full circumferential weld and its adjacent vertical sections (almost 20m of welds) at a time with a single exposure. This solution greatly improved the productivity of radiographic testing and helped to meet the inspection deadlines.
In addition, we had to comply with the very strict safety rules that were imposed by Montes del Plata. Health and safety were of paramount importance to the investor and this was an area which we gave particular focus, working closely with colleagues from Andritz and MdP. Our inspection activities were subject to intense scrutiny at times. Each workday would start with a documented safety orientation that would include risk assessment related to the particular inspection location and testing method used and cover safe work practices that remedy the identified risks. Working at heights up to 60m, or in confined spaces was our everyday reality and safety protocol had to be strictly followed and documented which was meticulously checked by site safety department.