New smokestack instrumentation a towering success thanks to Skyriders

18 January 2020: When electrical, mechanical and control engineering expert Proconics was recently called upon to install new gas-monitoring instrumentation at a major petrochemical producer, it turned to rope-access specialist Skyriders to provide the secure access and work-at-height required for the trunking, tubing and cabling.

This followed an earlier project whereby Skyriders was called upon for its inspection expertise to assist with the tests needed for remedial work to the smokestack. Marketing Manager Mike Zinn explains that rope access was essential to carry out various concrete inspections and sampling.

An initial drone inspection of the smokestack flagged various areas for close-up inspection by a rope-access team, which resulted in further cracking and spalling being identified. “This is a perfect example of the synergy between drone inspection and rope-access work,” comments Zinn.

The testing that had to be carried out included carbonation and cover meter testing and taking core samples for laboratory testing and analysis. In addition, the holes from which the material was removed had to be patched properly.

The testing was essential to determine if the smokestack was structurally sound in order to be able to accommodate the modifications in terms of wind load, among other factors. The inspection data was then handed over for reporting and recommendations.

An expert six-person Skyriders team completed the project in mid-September. A particularly challenging element of the project was that the sampling and subsequent repair work took place at a height of about 20 m to 90 m, and involved equipment such as electric grinders and jackhammers at height.

Hits: 3