Thursday, December 28, 2006
CFI finishes 210,000-pound vessel
By SUE WATSON
Contract Fabricators Inc. shipped one of its largest vessels last week to an oil refinery in Montana.
The vessel, which removes solids from petroleum gas to provide a environmentally cleaner gasoline at a increased operational efficiency, left CFI in Holly Springs on a flatbed Wednesday, Dec. 20.
The trip from Holly Springs to President’s Island in Memphis, where the vessel was to be loaded onto a barge to be carried up the Mississippi River, took six or seven hours to get to Memphis, according to Mike Clarkson, with CFI.
Because of its size and weight, transportation regulations in the states of Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri would not allow the vessel to be moved overland through those states, he said.
Escorts required for the trip to Memphis included bucket trucks to lift utility lines for the vessel to pass under and law enforcement to provide traffic clearance for the shipment. The load took up two traffic lanes.
Clarkson said this vessel is a new design for cleaning petroleum and replaces older, more maintenance intensive technology at reduced operating expenses.
“It will provide a higher quality and cleaner gas for the industry,” he said.
The project pumped between $1 and $2 million capital into the local economy, he said.
The vessel weighs 210,000 pounds and is 17 feet wide by 60 feet long.
It was completed and shipped on schedule taking about 10,000 man hours to build and about 9 months of fabrication time, Clarkson said. It will operate at 1,250 degrees Fahrenheit and acts like a distillation apparatus, vaporizing the gas while the heavier solids accumulate in the bottom and are drawn off separately.
“This is the largest piece we’ve shipped this year, maybe ever,” he said.
CFI has built components that weighed more and were larger but those in the past have been field assembled.
Because of the need to transport the vessel on an oversized flat-bed truck, CFI built an access road at the plant site just for the shipping.
CFI continues to build its reputation as a company that delivers products made to specifications on schedule, Clarkson said.
“Our customer said if we could get this out on time and with good quality, they will definitely show their appreciation with future work,” said Clarkson. “Our production people pulled together and did everything they needed to do, working odd hours, so we could stay on the delivery schedule.”
CFI will focus next year and in the near term on fabricating equipment for energy processes such as petroleum and electrical power generating processes, he said.
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