Using Rope Access to overcome your ‘Mission Impossible’

Every once in a while, a job request comes in that requires a level of ‘out of the box thinking’ that makes our brains buzz: a great example of this is a job we recently completed for a high-profile client.

On the face of it, the job seemed straightforward: remove a broken glass tube and insert two bungs into the sidewalls of a warm air heat exchanger. However when the glass tube in question is located within a confined space and the rigging options are extremely limited the request becomes more of a challenge. Then, when you factor into the equation that the broken tube you need to remove is surrounded by hundreds of other glass tubes and there is virtually nothing to stand on (apart from the hundreds of aforementioned extremely fragile glass tubes) then the job hits that ‘Mission Impossible’ level of challenge that sets our brains buzzing.

Our client had had a sleepless night or two worrying about how he was going to overcome the issue within the heat exchanger and, knowing that the plant was going to be offline (and losing money) until he figured out a solution only added to his anxiety. Having worked with Aspect3Sixty in the past, and knowing that we had consistently delivered a higher level of service than any other Rope Access company he has ever used, he figured that bringing our expertise and ‘can do’ approach to the table, was his best option to get the issue resolved in a safe and efficient manner as quickly as possible.

Now, because neither myself or my technicians have the ability to levitate, it was critically important to come up with a way for us to complete the job safely and to the complete satisfaction of our client without breaking any more glass tubes.

After some intensive brainstorming, thorough planning, the development of a comprehensive rescue plan and the implementation of a concise Job Method Statement and Risk Assessment, a solution was found, the job was planned, equipment was sourced and the team were ready to start. As the one who had accepted our “mission impossible” I volunteered to enter the heat exchanger and carry out the job. In fairness, any one of my excellent technicians could have pulled it off but I knew that, if an incident occurred or more tubes were broken, I didn’t want the responsibility for that to fall on anyone but myself.

After a few hours of hard work, the removal of the broken tube and installation of the two bungs was completed safely and without incident, the integrity of the heat exchanger was re-instated and that section of the plant was fit for service once again. The exact techniques used to undertake the workscope will remain an Aspect3Sixty trade secret, but I am proud to report that our client was completely satisfied (and highly relieved) with the work that we carried out and the site safety supervisor had no concerns or issues with the systems of work we used.

This job is a great example of why, once a client uses Aspect3Sixty for one job, they keep using us for all of their ongoing rope access and confined space workscope requirements. At Aspect3Sixty we’re committed to increasing our clients’ profitability by completing jobs safely, cost effectively and ahead of schedule and we enjoy the ‘brain buzz’ of those challenging jobs that our competitors aren’t always so keen to tackle.

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