Mechanical Project Engineer: Kelan Nowak
Location: Burns Harbor, Indiana
Industry: Steel Plant Capacity: 4.7 million tons of raw steel per year
Revenue: $78 Billion (corporation)
Employees: 320,000 worldwide (3,500 Burns Harbor)
A mechanical project engineer at one of ArcelorMittal’s largest facilities in the US, Kelan Nowak, needed valves that sealed 100% every time so no particulates would trigger alarms in the smokestack. He also needed valves that could be maintained in the field in little time and with virtually no tools. Finally, he needed a valve provider that delivered excellent service.
Nowak got all three when he chose to install Plattco’s 8” electric H-0812 Double Flap Airlock Valve. The search for new valves was prompted by a poor experience Nowak had with another company’s double flap valves. “We didn’t have a lot of success with the competing valves,” he explains. “From day one, they leaked. I could put my hand on the vent and feel that it was sucking air constantly. That told me they weren’t working properly.”
In response, Nowak contacted Plattco, which has installed more than 200 8” and 10” Double Flap Airlock Valves at the Burns Harbor plant since 1978. “In my 27 years at the Burns Harbor plant, the spec is almost always the Plattco double dump valves,” he explains. “It’s easy to see why. Plattco valves consistently out-perform the competition in terms of quality and overall value.”
Nowak says installation of the H-0812 valves in the fume collection system has improved operational efficiency and environmental compliance. “Because the Plattco valves seal perfectly every time, we don’t risk an environmental violation because particulates have escaped the baghouse and reached the smokestack,” he says. “This is critical because any time dust probes in our stacks detect particulates, we need a corrective action plan to maintain environmental compliance. This is costly and a distraction from our core mission.”
One great aspect of the Plattco valve design, according to Nowak, is the use of cam locking handles for the doors. In normal operations, foreign matter can jam the valve or the hopper and a field worker has to clear the jam to keep the system running. “The Plattco design makes it easy for a field worker to pull the plates to remove the debris,” Nowak says.
“Unlike competing designs that have numerous bolts that must be removed and then replaced, the Plattco system enables the worker to just hit the cam with a hammer and it swings open, providing access to the inside. It’s a good design because the fewer tools you need in the field, the better.”
“We get great customer support from Plattco,” Nowak says. “The local rep visits the plant every month to check on the installation. And when we need things, we call Plattco and they deliver.”
Eleven Plattco H-0812 valves have been installed in the past two years and there are plans to transition more baghouses at the Burns Harbor plant to Plattco valves. “We’re having the same problems with poor seals on the competitor’s valve installed on three other large bag houses,” he says. “We’ll fix the problem by installing another 24 Plattco valves.”Download the Case Study