Restricted access and a tough working environment had to be addressed by the team working on the cement plant renovation. The design and build contract involved a range of structural strengthening measures for the existing preheater tower to host additional equipment to boost production.

  • Name of the owner
    CRH
  • Name of the client
    RCBM
  • Delivery date of the project
    September 2018
  • Partners of the project
    FIC and FIMI JV

Preheater tower working brief

The client requirement to minimize the impact on production meant that only three months was available in which to complete the work across the eight-storey, 84-meter high building, and it had to be carried out while the tower was still in operation.
Work on the preheater tower had to be finished ahead of a scheduled replacement of the plant’s main cement kiln which could only take place during the dry season; this left just a month for preparation and mobilization ahead of implementation, and meant working during the rainy season.

  • 30
    Tons of steel fabricated and installed
  • 202
    Freyssibars installed, stressed and grouted
  • 84
    Height of the building (m)

A full range of strengthening techniques was used on the preheater tower

  • Application of carbon fibre fabric reinforcement and micro-concrete to increase capacity in the concrete structure
  • Additional lateral blisters and new elastomeric bearings
  • Strengthening of connections between the steel floor beams and the concrete columns.

A challenging working environment

The working environment was challenging for a number of reasons; there was no elevator access to the structure, operatives were working at height, and in temperatures of up to 50°C due to the operation of the preheater. Other subcontractors had to operate alongside, and restricted work spaces were common. Insulating panel shields and fans were used to improve working conditions inside the structure, with water stations provided at every floor.

Critical connections between the steel floor beams and the concrete tower were strengthened where necessary by the addition of lateral blisters around the existing bearings. New stiffeners added to the steel beams ensured that loads could be transferred on to the blisters.

In other places the entire structural connection was revised, with large custom-designed steel elements fabricated and manoeuvred carefully into the restricted space. The existing concrete slab had to be broken out and the new elements adjusted into position to enable the load transfer to be completed.

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