Lucite Chemical Plate Demolition

Lucite International of Memphis contacted Bluegrass regarding the removal of a refractory-lined steel boiler.


Memphis, TN


Lucite International


In dismantling the boiler, Lucite International needed to remove two end risers from the steel boilerplate which were 11 feet in diameter, 0.5 inches thick, and had a refractory lining 10 inches thick. In the past men were hired to enter the boiler through a manhole, chip off the refractory lining to expose the steel shell, then use a blow torch to cut it. This method was dangerous and time-consuming. Sawing the risers with a diamond wire saw would cut through both the steel shell and the refractory lining, providing a safe and efficient alternative.


To complete this job, Bluegrass operators first mounted the wire saw to base of the steel boiler. Then they wrapped the diamond wire around the end of the boilerplate where the cut was to be made and began sawing. Operators had to keep the end section secured while it was cut so it did not pinch the wire. The first boiler was cut in approximately 10 hours, with no interruptions and no problems. The riser, complete with boilerplate and refractory lining, was ready for removal.

The technicians repeated this same process with the other end, but while cutting the second plate some difficulties were encountered. On the second riser, the section began to move as it was being cut and operators had to discontinue cutting. Since the cut was almost complete, the remaining 18 inches could be cut using a blowtorch.


Each cut took less than one shift and the job was completed in the two day time period. In all, over 300 square inches of metal and 60 square feet of refractory were cut with the diamond wire saw. Although diamond wire sawing is normally associated with cutting concrete or stone, Bluegrass proved applications of this technology can push the boundaries and prove the technology can be applied to heavy metals as well.