Hewden supports SSI UK with restart of Europe’s second largest blast furnace
- 22 June 2012
- Company & Industry News
Following its closure in early 2010, it was thought unlikely that the blast furnace at Redcar steelworks would ever re-open. Its pipes had become clogged with debris and the furnace was in need of relining - a process which can take years of planning.
However, thanks to its new owners, Thai firm Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI), supported by multi-product hire specialist, Hewden, the restart of the furnace has been completed in just nine months.
The right people for the job
The restart of the furnace demanded the use of extra, specialist equipment from Hewden including access platforms, lighting, gas detection, compressors, pumps, power generation, fuel management, cranes and various types of welding and hand tools - with additional labour services managing welfare and housekeeping duties.
Coordinating the hire and off-hire of each piece of equipment, chasing up kit that fails to appear, dealing with equipment breakdowns and repair or replacement, as well as negotiating hire extensions can often lead to over runs occurring when a number of hire companies are selected to fulfil specific product requirements.
So, to ensure the project ran smoothly and on time, SSI called upon Hewden to handle its entire hire management process.
By contracting its full hire management process to Hewden, SSI was able to minimise any logistical difficulties. Paul Sheppard, an industrial account manager for Hewden who had previous experience of working on the Redcar site, was inset within the SSI team and was tasked with supplying hire equipment from Hewden's own range as efficiently as possible.
When required, Hewden also took full responsibility for sourcing and managing equipment from approved third party specialists, including smaller site essentials such as site consumables and fencing.
To cater for the amount of contractors and sub contractors working on site, temporary villages were constructed from over 200 cabins and 4 multiple modular accommodation units, providing canteen areas, drying rooms, offices, clocking stations, showers and other amenities. With this number of personnel on site, radio communications was also another key area to consider.
"The scale of the project required the use of almost 40 accommodation units across the steelmaking site alone," says Willie McKeown of the steelmaking team at SSI.
"Hewden was able to meet our requirements with its energy efficient, eco-cabins, with a very fast turnaround.
"If we encountered any issues with the units, we'd simply call Paul Sheppard and the problem would be dealt with immediately."
Hewden was also tasked with the management and co-ordination of all crane activities. The company's crane coordinators provided contract lifts, risk assessments, method statements, lift supervisors and lift plans to ensure smooth operation - with crane operations ranging from 500t mobile cranes to 12t iron fairies on the cast house floor.
To ensure any potential emergencies could be dealt with quickly, Hewden was required to be on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Familiarity with the industry, processes and the Redcar site enabled Hewden to build up a full picture of the project, taking into consideration the health and safety implications of certain types of tasks including access limits, height restrictions, proximity of power, fire and rail risks.
Based on this information, Hewden was able to source and make available equipment that was fully suited to the site and application, enabling work to be carried out safely within hazardous zones.
In addition, Hewden carried out risk assessments to ensure that in the 'worst case scenario' spares were readily available, with full engineering cover for any maintenance and breakdowns.
With labour and the appropriate resources secured, the next step for SSI was to determine whether Hewden was easy to do business with; in short, whether its administration routines and accounting practices would avoid additional complexity for the team.
To help manage administration, processing time and cash flow, Hewden was able to offer a consolidated invoice service, meaning SSI received just one invoice a month.
Commenting on the hire management service received from Hewden, Bill Manning, project manager at SSI concludes:
"Throughout this entire project Hewden has provided a solution that not only removed the burden of managing third party equipment suppliers, but also delivered cost savings and efficiency benefits, as well as ensuring full compliance with health, safety and environmental standards.
"All of the equipment supplied to site arrived fit-for-purpose and in tip-top condition. The hire planning and management we received contributed greatly to the success of the project, ensuring it ran to schedule."
Since the restart of the blast furnace and commencement of steel making, Hewden has remained on the Redcar site, supporting SSI with 24-hour hire supervision.