Sliding Condenser Units
Robins & Morton, a privately-held construction and engineering company, was hired by Tampa Electric to complete the sliding of two condenser units underneath a steam turbine tabletop in Mulberry, Florida. The concrete foundation was roughly 10 feet thick with columns situated around it, which gave it the appearance of a tabletop. The units were to be slid between the columns and underneath the tabletop. The project was part of constructing a 4-on-1 combined cycle power plant, which refers to 4 existing CT units that are converted to run on a steam turbine platform. The project began and concluded in July 2015 with the physical sliding of the condenser units taking approximately two days.
“We were chosen to handle this project because we’ve basically been in charge of the whole construction down here in Tampa, Florida since the beginning,” Assistant Superintendent Sonny Calderone said. “We’re in charge of the mechanical erection of it at least, but it’s really just a part of the whole scoop of the project.”
With only one to four inches of clearance on top and only two inches on each side in order to effectively and safely slide the units, Calderone and his team knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“The challenge with getting two condenser units underneath the steam turbine tabletop is the fact that they always get stuck underneath the PSH deck,” Calderone continued. “With most projects, the physical sliding always takes the most time. Engineering-wise, the units are supposed to fit nice and snug. You usually only have a couple of inches to spare, but it’s the sliding and getting the units underneath that continues to always be the challenge with these sorts of projects. Normally, you’d use something like a winch or a pulley-type system and pull the units underneath. Sometimes, we use a hydraulic ram, but that just takes forever. If you use the table-pulling technique like a winch, then that requires a whole lot more engineering, which is extra time, money, and manpower.”
After coming to the conclusion that a hydraulic ram or a winch to pull them underneath would only result in more time, more money, and less productivity, Calderone found the solution to his problem – the Hydra-Slide™ system.
“It’s a common thing to use for steam turbine erections and rotor installation,” Calderone added. “I’ve used slide systems before. We would’ve used it for earlier projects had we remembered it. Luckily, we did for this project because the Hydra-Slide™ is one of the nicest systems we’ve used. You don’t have to reset it every time because it resets itself and it comes with its own hydraulics. It was easy to use and it went really fast.”
With the right equipment delivered right on time, Calderone and his team at Robins & Morton were able to finish the job early and be substantially under budget in the process.
“It not only saved time and labor,” Calderone concluded, “but it saved engineering hours and money. The project went a lot smoother than expected and it was really easy to show the client initially when we convinced them that we needed this sliding system to get the job done right. The project was successful and it was definitely faster than using the rams or any other type of method. If we hadn’t used the Hydra-Slide™, it would’ve taken more time and would’ve been more challenging. We will definitely use the system again in the future and we will continue to use LGH, as well.”
“It went really well,” Mechanical Superintendent Frank Green added. “We didn’t have any issues with the system getting off the track like we have had with other systems. Using the synchronous pump that it came with, it really made it super easy. You can always count on LGH to house the best equipment. We’ve worked with them before and we will definitely work with them again.”
Get to Know Hydra-Slide
Learn more about the story in our live webinar
ABOUT LGH: Lifting Gear Hire is the largest single organization in North America devoted exclusively to the provision of lifting and moving equipment for rent. LGH holds a comprehensive inventory for hoisting, rigging, jacking, pulling, material handling, and safety equipment. Rental equipment is available from over 20 locations throughout North America, and LGH customers are supported by local Rental Representatives.