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A large chemical plant on the east coast of the United States contacted Howden to perform a full Turnkey project on their critical path air preheaters.

In 2016 a chemical plant in Virginia contacted Howden to perform a full Turnkey project on their air preheaters. They were having severe imbalance issues with the rotor which would lead to rotor drive damage, and possibly bearing damage.

Howden found the following underlying issues; excessive wear on the rotor drive system, including the pinion gear and pin rack being damaged to the point of failure, and significant damage to the cold end baskets.

The customer provided a very short timeframe for the completion of all the necessary repairs, as chemical plants typically have shorter outages. In this case, Howden had just 16 days to complete the project. Due to the limited timeframe, the air preheater project was the critical path from the onset of the outage.

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Engineer inside rotating heat exchanger

The solution

In response to the conditions described Howden ensured adequate, qualified craftsmen were available to work around the clock, seven days a week. This required extensive planning and communication between the customer and Howden to ensure the project was executed without issues, considering the amount of people working in a very restricted work area. Howden was able to leverage the crew size and was successful in achieving the timely completion of the project.

The outcome

Overall the project was a success. Howden was able to complete the tasks and get the critical path air preheater back online sooner than originally planned. Howden decided to pro-actively use that time to perform an internal bearing inspection and make needed duct repairs as necessary.

Organization, adequate manpower, and equipment layout led to a very successful project and a very satisfied customer.

The customer expressed their satisfaction with Howden’s ability to be totally self sufficient, their extensive knowledge of the equipment, and ability to complete the project on time.


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