International Cooling Tower USA Inc. (ICT) had a busy 2019, completing projects for some of the largest refining, chemical and petrochemical companies on the Gulf Coast. One project in particular put ICT to the test, but the company did what it does best: working quickly and efficiently against tight deadlines to exceed expectations. When it comes to emergency cooling tower work on the Gulf Coast, ICT has established itself as a “go-to” company.
At an industrial facility, an incident recently occurred where a four-cell tower needed to be completely rebuilt. Because of ICT’s previous work for this customer and its existing relationship, the company was chosen for the emergency cooling tower project. The incident occurred on a Saturday, and ICT was on-site the following day, performing cleanup and demo work. By Wednesday morning, ICT had secured material timelines as well as construction, manpower and installation plans.
“We were able to perform all the engineering and design required, as well as procure the material needed, in an extremely short amount of time,” said Mike Zazulak, project director — Gulf Coast, ICT. “Keep in mind we had no lead time on this project. The biggest challenge we faced was having the materials engineered, designed and fabricated fast enough for construction. We had to continuously design and fabricate pieces of the tower half-a-day or a day ahead of the construction schedule, which was quite a challenge.”
The customer gave ICT an eight-week deadline to have all four cells of the tower fully operational. With this short deadline in mind, ICT came up with a game plan, requiring work 24/7.
“The day shift consisted of about 35 people, while the night shift consisted of approximately 25 people,” Zazulak said. “They worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to achieve the customer’s deadline. We also brought on two additional full-time safety professionals who worked 24/7 to make sure everyone was safe.”
Normally, ICT uses a third-party vendor to fabricate items for a cooling tower project. The vendor will fabricate pieces of the structure at its facility using computer numeric control machines. However, with this emergency cooling tower rebuild, ICT brought on a crew of approximately 25 individuals who worked around-the-clock in ICT’s La Porte, Texas, shop. This crew fabricated the entire four-cell tower in two weeks, using hand tools primarily.
“We procured and fabricated the entire project in-house,” Zazulak stated. “We’ve built cooling towers before in eight weeks, but we had five months to plan then; for this project, we had six days to plan. Planning stages typically take months, not days. But everyone on the ICT team pulled together, and we did what we had to do to start construction. Once we started construction, we had to build two cells immediately so the customer’s production could be put back on line.”
According to Zazulak, everyone on the ICT team supported each other, and ICT was able to beat the customer’s deadline by 11 days.
“The client was beyond happy and appreciative,” Zazulak said. “Even though they didn’t plan for this incident and it was unfortunate, they were still extremely pleased with our work. A project like this would normally require five months of planning and three months of on-site work. To complete everything in under eight weeks is quite an accomplishment for ICT.”
ICT has been building cooling towers for over 60 years, and its personnel are true experts in their fields. This project confirms ICT’s dedication to establishing quality management principles and procedures and performing work correctly the first time.
“With a project like this, we had to have specific conference calls every day in the mornings and evenings to make sure the work transitioned properly,” said Aaron Schumann, field manager — Gulf Coast, ICT. “On this work schedule, if you left the office at 5 p.m. on Friday and returned Monday morning, six entire shifts were completed in the time you were gone. A week’s worth of work was being accomplished during one weekend, so it was quite the team effort. Everyone had to stay on track.”
When ICT finished construction, the new four-cell cooling tower measured over 100 feet long and more than 40 feet high. Aggreko and MP Environmental Services acted as subcontractors for ICT on the project.
“This project shows ICT’s capability to complete a large-scale project very quickly and safely,” said Jarrod McFee, project engineer, ICT. “It also demonstrates how organized we are and how quickly we can spring into action. Because of timing, we had multiple drafters — and props to our construction group for managing 24-hour workdays, which is something you don’t typically see in the cooling tower industry. Also, cooling tower projects aren’t typically worked on at night, but we had to do that as well. For this project, we had to do things ‘outside of the box’ in every department.”
ICT’s commitment to safety, quality and environmental sustainability has been the focus of its business practices for more than six decades. In 2020, ICT isn’t slowing down, and the company will continue to build on its momentum of success from 2019.
For more information, visit www.ictower.com or call (832) 780-6900.