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Major investments at Lostock site

As part of its significant capital investment programme for 2016, TCE's soda ash plant underwent its second 'planned stoppage' period in October, during which several important investments were made, with significant safety, environmental and production benefits.

This included a £300k investment in a new vessel in the distillation system, replacement of some of the plant's huge water mains, and investments in improved access into kiln chambers as part of the site's ongoing safety programme.

In addition to underpinning plant reliability going forward, it also increases the safety and environmental integrity as frequent maintenance of prelimers decreases ammonia losses. A new mechanical seal was also included. The photo shows the new vessel with the specialist resin coating which prevents corrosion underneath the lagging.

Replacements of some of the site water mains were also carried out on stoppage day.

The doorway shown in the photo was installed during the kiln chamber overhaul work in the downturn. Pete Buckley, Lime Maintenance Engineer said “It is vital that we get my team out quickly if there was ever a need. This new door enables us to have a safer and more effective rescue plan if we are carrying out major work within the kiln chamber.”

The longest-duration job undertaken on Lostock’s stoppage day also had major safety, environment and production benefits, and was a major step forward in lime dust improvement, as a new transfer chute was brought in to the lime operations.

Lime Plant Manager Richard Parkhill said: “This latest project is a key step in our long term strategy to improve the levels of burnt lime dust in the plant so that we can drive our aim to reduce the need for RPE for people working on the plant. We have more money budgeted for further improvements in the financial year and are looking at further improving dust suppression on the lime bands and a second vacuum cleaning unit.”