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Rope Access Company Replaces Spring Hangers at NRG site

Under ASME Code B31, power generation facilities are required to conduct inspections and repairs on all piping systems. After all, when such systems experience degradation over time, the consequences can be detrimental to performance. Piping systems sag and lose proper slopes, transferring weight onto surrounding equipment and nozzles. The weight transfer can lead to overstressing of piping and equipment. Stress corrosion and creep can cause components to fail, induce flow problems and impair the working conditions of the systems.

MHT Access Services offers an innovative way to perform pipe support inspection and maintenance through the use of abseiling techniques. These techniques provide safe, immediate access to difficult or challenging locations, while at the same time offering measurable incentives for facility managers. The use of rope access techniques and procedures virtually eliminates the cost and time requirements associated with scaffolding.


NRG Energy recently contracted MHT to perform repairs on the pipe supports associated with the high-energy piping systems at its Greens Bayou facility in Houston. MHT utilized rope access to install nine critical constant spring hangers and two snubbers and adjust four variable spring hangers.

“We had been working with an outside contractor on some of our high energy piping,” said Warren McConnell of NRG. “They determined that some of the hangers needed to be replaced. The contractor suggested we consider MHT Access because it had used them in the past and it worked out very well in terms of quality and cost.”

This type of work is sometimes performed using scaffolding and cranes, but MHT’s rope access capability allowed it to exceed NRG’s expectations. MHT utilizes a five-person team, which includes a pipe support specialist, three rope access technicians and a welder. The team, suspended from the facility’s structure can get as close as they need to repair a piping support system.

“The spring hangers were located on the eighth and ninth floors and were extremely large and not cost effective to scaffold,” said Chuck Thornton, pipe support division manager for MHT.

“Throughout the job, they kept us well informed and ensured safety was an important part of every task,” said McConnell. “They were positive and informative and answered all of our questions. They furnished reports that showed what they had done and where they were going. They had safety meetings each day to review the scope of work and how it would be performed. We actually had them develop specifications for the new hangers that we purchased based on existing drawings. They did everything in a professional and safe manner.”