Clifton Hill, Missouri
Thomas Hill Energy Center, operated by Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI), is a power plant that converts coal into electrical energy. In 2013, AECI identified that a number of its plant doors needed to be replaced. “Doors are an important part of our production process,” says Arnold Compton, material handling superintendent of coal yard operations. “If something goes wrong, they can potentially throw off the whole network.”
According to Curtis Stundebeck, senior engineer at AECI, many of the doors were installed in the ‘80s and ‘90s. “There was wear on the door closures and latch mechanisms,” he says, “and there were some corrosion issues. The coal yard is a pretty demanding environment.”
To put together a plan to replace the doors, AECI looked to PS Access Solutions, a company with whom they shared a history of successful partnerships. A team from PS Access Solutions kicked things off by performing an audit of more than 160 doors at Thomas Hill Energy Center. They photographed each door, took notes, gave it an identifying number and listed the proper upgrade for each item. Then they developed a five-year plan to implement the upgrades, spreading out the expense and prioritizing which doors should be replaced first.
“That assessment has been valuable” says Stundebeck. “I simply tell them which doors we’re ready to replace each year, and they have all the information on it. They send the applicable doors, and we get them installed. It’s as simple as that.”
PS Access Solutions provided a combination of swing and sliding industrial doors. The swing doors were used in electrical rooms and other areas that needed a tight seal. They also utilized a bar latch system, which lasts longer in industrial environments than traditional hardware. The sliding doors were primarily used in areas where differentiating pressures were present. The doors featured larger windows to provide more light and improve safety in the facility.
AECI has contracted out the installation to three different installers, and overall the project has gone smoothly. “We’re very satisfied with the durability of these doors and the ease with which they have been installed,” says Stundebeck.
The project is midway through its five-year plan with several years left to go. So far things have gone well. “Our doors from PS Access Solutions have met our expectations, and overall the experience has been positive,” says Compton. “That’s all you can hope for in a project of this scope.”