The spout deck on a recovery boiler is considered the most dangerous area for operators and one of the leading causes of recordable injuries. As such, all operators know that having to plug a single spout for any reason can be a dangerous and time-consuming process. Proper precautions and safety methods are necessary to ensure the safety of operators attempting to plug the spout, as well as preventing harmful materials from dropping into the dissolving tank and affecting overall operations. To improve safety in performing this operation, Valmet has recently developed a refractory plug that is custom shaped for the Valmet insertable smelt spout. This new product is designed to provide a quick and reliable option for operators to intentionally terminate smelt flow to a smelt spout.
The Valmet insertable refractory plug was custom designed to quickly and efficiently plug the smelt flow to a smelt spout when necessary. It works by using a high temperature rope wrapped around the plug as a gasket to create a tight seal between the metal spout and the refractory plug. The plug is also high temperature refractory rated for use in recovery boiler lower furnaces, and is designed for both short term and long term use. All of the Valmet custom plugs are kiln fired over a controlled temperature sequence prior to delivery and are available for immediate use, and are significantly easier, quicker and safer to both install and remove than using a rammable material.
The product also includes a stainless steel locking handle integrated into the smelt spout hood enclosure which is designed to quickly install the plug at the proper elevation/alignment and to secure the plug in place to the micro-hood system. The locking handle anchors the plug in the opening with the gasket compressed so it does not unexpectedly become dislodged. It takes approximately 10-20 seconds to install and secure in place which is a significant reduction in time and improvement to operator safety by attempting alternative methods. The locking handle is supported 100% by the micro-hood system to maintain alignment during changes in thermal growth of the boiler.
What are the Benefits of the Reliable Spout Plug?
With the ability to quickly and safely plug a smelt spout, the ability to perform maintenance work or replace damaged shatter jet parts now becomes safer and more straightforward. When the plug is in place it is now easier to inspect and clean hood internals while the unit is online. It also allows for reducing the number of spouts in service to maintain normal smelt flow under lower operating loads. Customers already using Valmet insertable smelt spouts can purchase these plugs and locking handles as a spare part by obtaining a Valmet “starter kit” which includes all parts needed to begin using the plug.
For more information about the Valmet custom Spout plug please contact our Smelt Spout Product Manager Dan Morrison