Vacuum Arc Remelting Furnace
IDP Project Management were commissioned to provide a multidisciplinary team to manage, design and deliver a highly complex, heavy metals furnace project for one of our key clients, a multinational metals organisation based in the USA.
The project required the delivery of a Vacuum Arc Remelting (VAR) furnace: a revolutionary piece of technology which provides a secondary remelting process for the production of large titanium ingots, the likes of which have an increased chemical and mechanical homogeneity for highly demanding applications. This process has remodelled methods of production, forming much purer metals which can be used in fields such as aviation, biomedical, and aerospace fields.
This project was a big step for IDP Project Management, offering an opportunity to gather a wealth of experience in a more technical, specialist engineering field and showcase our capability as a multidisciplinary team in the heavy metals sector. We stepped up to the challenge and provided a full suite of services including programme and project management, process engineering, M&E design consultancy, structural and technical engineering, CDM advisory, purchasing/cost management, and site supervision. The integrated team took the project from briefing through to delivery, technical and operational commissioning and handover.
For such a high spec, and potentially dangerous project, health and safety measures underpinned all aspects of the project. In response to HAZOP/HAZID/FMEA studies undertaken, both site-based stakeholders and specialist vendors collaborated to fulfil and achieve specifications outlined by regulations. These included required design objectives, critical H&S standards (Machinery Directive 2006), and appropriate commissioning validation requirements.
The project proved challenging in multiple ways. Firstly, was the deliverance of the project in such a constrained, challenging and ‘service-heavy’ operational environment. The wealth of our prior experience meant that thorough and pre-emptive planning could be applied to this, through collaboration with the specialists in the field and careful management with our onward supply chain.
Secondly, the potential risks involved with such an industrial-based environment meant that extra precautions had to be taken. The site management team navigated the operational challenges with efficiency, whilst maintaining operations of an adjacent, live furnace for the duration of the project. This presented significant challenges in term of safety with use of dangerous substances, gases and challenging access arrangements. Our team led a process to identify and specify functional safety requirements which in turn, informed the validation of the safety functions during commissioning process.
Though the project was challenging in many ways, through solid leadership and meticulous planning in collaboration with both the specialist venders and site-based stakeholders, the client’s objectives were fulfilled successfully. Our team thrived in the role. Challenges were thrown at us and solutions executed with efficiency – creating and compounding a new base of knowledge in our company for similar future schemes.
We are proud to have been involved with such a technically complex capital asset for our client and look forward to continuing our fantastic relationship with our clients and working on other similar projects in the manufacturing sector.