Steel smokestacks are always at risk for thinning and buckling of their shells due to corrosion and natural deterioration. Industrial Access offers years of experience in performing steel restoration and ring reinforcement installation that address the unequal load distribution on a stack. This solution ensures that the structure can continue operating without risking further damage and potential failure.
Minimal shutdown time required
Cost-effective, yet reliable repair solutions
Track record for high level of safety standards
Steel smokestacks are subject to loss of steel thickness due to atmospheric and flue gas corrosion. The harmful environment inside and around these structures cause thinning of the steel shell, which creates pin holes that allow humidity and acidity to gather, penetrate the steel walls and accelerate corrosion. In addition, stacks often have areas of isolated failure rings due to exterior appurtenances, like platform supports, stiffener rings, weld seams, etc. The resulting deterioration of the stack leads to uneven load distribution and increases the risk of buckling of the steel shell.
Many steel smokestacks also have fiber insulation installed underneath their shells or cladding. To ensure effective temperature regulation, the insulation must be protected from water. Acid rain and condensation sometimes seep through any vulnerable areas of the stack, which compromises insulation, causes uneven heat distribution and leads to heightened levels of steel corrosion. Thinning steel requires regular maintenance to prevent structure collapse.
Rigging and preparation for steel stack ring reinforcement
Severe steel corrosion and thinning
Holes in steel shell
The engineers and technicians at Industrial Access (IA) are experts in providing rigging and unique access solutions for industrial work at height. The access approach is developed with close attention to each individual structure and situation at hand. The crew is trained in rope access rigging and techniques to deliver services at maximized efficiency and safety. In addition, suspended work platforms or scaffolding can be designed and installed inside the stack to enable a smooth and effective repair procedure.
Welding plates together
Ring installation in progress
In order to maximize protection for steel smokestacks, a temperature resistant coating can be applied underneath exterior shell or cladding. This high performance technology is ideal for such an aggressive, corrosive environment that demands reliable protection against temperature dysregulation and heat sinks. This approach is useful for insulated stacks to combat the risks of water retention.
When it comes to steel that is already thinning, one of IA’s recommendations is to install full circumferential reinforcement rings in the affected areas. This solution provides an even, reliable support for the structural load and protects the stack from failure. The compromised area is cleaned and prepped as required to create a smooth surface to accept the new reinforcement ring plating. When needed, multiple rings are installed against the inner circumference of the stack and welded together to create an even continuous weld.
To ensure the effectiveness of the new reinforcement, a Dye Penetrant (DP) testing is often performed to check the quality of the welds. IA cleans the test surface with a solvent to remove any dirt or grease that might cause false indications, then the penetrant is applied to soak into any flaws. This is followed by a close visual inspection to observe any potential imperfections in need of immediate correction.
Reinforcement ring installation
Full circumferential ring installed
Reinforcement rings complete
This new reinforcement solution increases a deteriorated smokestack’s operational capacity and structural integrity. Unattended and unprotected thinning steel risks severe buckling, which would consequently lead to structural failure and collapse; therefore, it is important to perform regular inspections and maintenance on steel stacks to slow down deterioration and prevent extensive damage. Industrial Access helps their clients to ensure the safety and longevity of their smokestacks.