Metal Cutting to Provide Access to Boilers

Piedmont Green Power’s boiler tubes — where water is transformed into the steam that turns the turbines — needed to be replaced. But access to the boiler tubes was a problem, located as they were behind a myriad of pipes.


Barnesville, GA


Atlantic Power, Bilfinger Industrial Services


Cutting and removing the intervening piping by “hot cutting” with torches and chipping out refractory was estimated to take 15-20 shifts, an expensive plan in terms of outage time and labor costs. The project contractor, Bilfinger Industrial Services, turned to Bluegrass.

We looked over the plans and sent a team to the site to review the situation. We then proposed an alternate route for accessing the boiler tubes. The Bluegrass proposal involved mounting our wire saw to I-beams put in place by Bilfinger to reinforce the wall and prevent bowing, and cutting a 48’ x 5’ opening from the side. Using this approach, the diamond wire saw would cut through a ½” thick steel plate, refractory, and numerous horizontal steel members. The challenge posed by this plan was operating 30’ above ground level. Therefore mounting the saw and directing the wire required resourcefulness and problem solving skills. Customized mounting brackets were fabricated in our Machine Shop.



Using cold cutting technology and running 2 saws simultaneously, our 6 technicians cut the entire opening in 3 shifts with no safety incidents. Our pre-planning strategies, robust equipment and skilled operators saved this customer time and money.

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