Workers keep coke plant in tip-top shape

Lots of things go into the making of steel, some of them so far behind the scenes you never read about them …

The Tribune Chronicle: “A worldwide shortage of coke […] means ISG must keep the Warren plant running at peak production.

The stack needed repairing because 25 years of wear and tear had caused the brick inner shaft – where the gas rises – to lean against the outer stack, which provides a shield against the weather.

If solid clay bricks fell in to the stack, they could block the waste heat passages that allow gas to flow from the 85 ovens, putting the operation in peril, said Joe Magni, the plant’s manager of engineering.

‘We’d have to shut the battery down,” he said.

The $350,000 capital project brought in four workers from Buffalo, N.Y.’s, International Chimney Corp. to replace bricks in the inner shaft and outer lining.

The company is experienced at ‘skywalking,” taking projects ranging from a couple of hundred feet high to 1,200 feet high, such as power plant stacks. It also is well-known for working on lighthouses; it gained fame for moving the 198-foot tall Cape Hatteras, N.C., lighthouse away from the eroding shoreline in 1999.

To get to the top, workers first had to anchor 28 ladders to the side of the stack. They start their shift each day at 7:15 a.m. by climbing the ladders to the top, where they stay until they come down at 4 p.m.”

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