Complex lifting operation for removal and re-installation of MRF burner barrel

Planning and supervision of lifting operations by competent personnel ensures lifting is carried out in a safe manner


  • One contractor to manage all aspects of lifting operation
  • Lifting operation completed safely without any incidents


Altrad Sparrows provide safety supervision to support crane lifting and rigging operations performed on the Chuandongbei (CDB) Gas Project and have maintained this role since 2009. Since first gas in January 2016, Altrad Sparrows have employed a team of appointed persons / lift supervisors to support production and maintenance operations, including periodic turnarounds.

The client required us to develop a safe system of work for the removal and re-installation of the the Main Reaction Furnace (MRF) burner barrel to enable effective refractory replacement.

The MRF is located in the centre of the sulfur recovery unit which meant that access was difficult and the lift plan would need to consider issues such as the suitability of lifting equipment, blind and tandem lifting, location of surrounding obstacles and structures and creating a clear travel path for the load.

A suitable lifting appliance capable of safely handling the 28t gross weight load at a load radius of 28m also had to be sourced – while considering travel access, egress and site conditions.


  • During initial planning the APs identified that the MRF was surrounded by obstacles, structures and other hazards restricting a clear path for ease of removal and re-installation. Following consultation with on-site engineers, it was established that the combustible air inlet pipe spool required machining and fabricating to include a new flange for removal, and the burner barrel gas gun assembly also required dismantling before the vessel could be extracted
  • The APs reviewed the MRF manufacturer’s instructions and identified that a bespoke spreader lifting beam was required to safely handle the load on the dedicated lifting lugs. A work order request was submitted and the task to design and fabricate a spreader lifting beam was issued to an approved contractor. Altrad Sparrows was responsible for testing, inspection and certifying the spreader beam before being put into service
  • To lift the MRF, Altrad Sparrows identified that the most cost-effective and practical option was to hire an all-terrain mobile crane to complete the lifting operation. After reviewing several cranes and their respective load duty charts, it was established that only the 500t crane could safely handle the load. The 500t crane was verified suitable for the task, passed thorough inspection, including trial lifts and was delivered and assembled on-site on schedule
  • The weight of the crane meant that civil was required to strengthen the existing groundworks, as well as placement of 4m2steel matting under four outriggers, to maintain safe ground bearing pressures and crane stability
  • The APs selected a competent lift team, each member with suitable experience and competency to perform the complex lifting operation, checked and verified individual certification and arranged for client site-specific training
  • The whole operation to remove/install the MRF burner barrel for refractory replacement was executed in a safe and controlled manner, in accordance with the plan and on schedule.


  • Crane and lifting services management
  • Multi-discipline engineering/design
  • Crane operations
  • Rigging/lifting
  • Inspection / testing
  • Cranes
  • Rigging/lifting equipment
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