Working with extreme precision
Pauw Roks is what they call an "old hand". He has worked in the insulation business since he was 18 so, at the age of 53, that's an impressive career spanning 35 years!
This true expert is currently the project manager for Hertel at Gasunie peak shave installation LNG in the Maasvlakte district of Rotterdam, where his team is insulating cryogenic pipes and equipment. "The insulation has to be really good here. Everything has to meet very stringent and specific technical and safety requirements. And that can be a very tricky job," says Pauw.
The factory in question was opened 30 years ago and is now in a phase of turnaround. So, every field of expertise has been called in, from insulation to scaffolding to RTD and mechanical. It's a big project, which has been occupying Gasunie for three years already. Jacques Pisters (Project Coordinator at Gasunie) is certainly happy with Hertel's work. "It's a complex job, because of the extremely tight space available for insulation, and the Hertel team isn't the only team carrying out work. But Hertel takes an unequivocally positive approach. The preparation has been second to none, and that shows when the team are at work. Moreover, the project team has impeccable credentials.”
A job for experts
The insulation work for Gasunie is a job for experts. As Pauw explains: "A cryogenic installation can't be insulated in the normal way. Each gap allows icicles to form and you can't spot a gap until the icicles are already there. Because of this, we have to work with extreme precision. Absolutely everything has to fit snugly. Not everybody can do this."
Skills are disappearing
This brings the conversation round to a growing problem in the industry: the shortage of good staff. Pauw believes that skills are disappearing, yet at the same time customers are imposing ever more stringent demands. Jacques Pisters echoes this view: "We are finding it increasingly difficult to find high-quality staff, with knowledge and experience. For this project involving cryogenic insulation, it was really tough finding the right people. Dealing with this problem and finding a structural solution is a challenge for the entire industry."
Back to the work at the Gasunie factory. Safety is paramount in the project - for both Hertel and Gasunie. Says Jacques: "Safety and quality are spearheads for us. In this project, time is another important factor, but it is in our best interests that all our employees return home safely at the end of the day. So our inspectors are keeping a very close eye on things on site." For Pauw, operating according to the most stringent safety requirements is a matter of course. "We absolutely cannot cut corners in this project, nor would we. Quality is also about delivering quality in safe conditions. To be honest, it makes this job even more fascinating."
Monday 13th of August 2012, 04:34:20 PM BST
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The safety performance delivered by the partnership between Hertel and UTOC has been recognised with an award by Lanxess. Hertel and UTOC are working together for lead contractor Foster Wheeler on the Lanxess BTR Project in Singapore.
It was clear from the start: there were literally 21 days for the maintenance shutdown in the Omrin boiler. That meant working under high pressure and asked for effective cooperation between Hertel and all other parties.
Frank Schiltkamp has worked at Hertel for 32 years and is currently the project manager and contact person for the customer and Hertel at the Amsterdamse Afval Energie Bedrijf. His pride is also evident in his responses: "The whole team is there day and night for AEB, in principle. I know that everybody keeps their mobiles by their bedside, just in case AEB calls."