Never thought we would make an on-site repair like this one

The operator was making his routine check on the boiler when he spotted clinker through the observation glass of the fire tube. Clinker, which is formed from unburned diesel fuel, is not unusual. He stopped the flame, opened the firetube, pulled out the clinker, and restarted the burner. Hours later, the operator made his next … Read more

The low-down on pressure vessel inspections

Recently I received some calls from customers with a complaint I had never heard before. Their oilfield boilers had come back from our shop after annual maintenance. “Where,” they asked, “is the inspection certificate?” In Alberta, all boilers are required to hold a Certificate of Inspection Permit. Every province has something similar. These customers asked … Read more

Adventures in the remote

The rig was at a place so remote, it was outside the range of cellphone service. The toolpush had to drive out of the bush and then sit in his truck while we talked. His nearest connection with the world was 30 km away from the site. He called at 8 p.m. Friday night. They … Read more

How we developed the cube heater

In 2008 a project manager at a major energy company came to us with an interesting request. The manager was responsible for overseeing a quarter of one of the large processing facilities located in the boreal region north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. A challenging problem On his section stood an array of 200 valves through … Read more