William Grant & Sons Case Study

Updated on Wednesday 30 June 2021, 4:23 PM

2 Minute Read


William Grant & Sons is an independent Scottish distillery that has been producing whisky since 1887 and distils leading brands including Glenfiddich and Balvenie. When the company needed a heat exchanger replacing at their Girvan distillery, they contacted AIS Vanguard’s Glasgow depot for assistance.

The Project

The job involved swapping a 12-ton heat exchanger with a 17-ton replacement within a time critical window that involved switching off the plant for a maximum of just 18 hours over a weekend.

The asset’s location made the project much more complex than a straightforward lift of the old heat exchanger before putting the new one in place. Surrounded by other plant and live mechanical and electrical services, the heat exchanger could not be tracked out or lifted with a crane, so the Glasgow team had to devise an alternative approach that would answer safety and operational requirements.

Following a site visit to assess the requirements and consider the specific challenges of the project, we devised a solution that involved bringing in a scaffolding partner to design structural scaffolding, with ladder beams above the existing heat exchanger, routed through a high-level opening, with a landing platform at the other side of the plant.

With the scaffold pre-installed prior to the date agreed for the lifts, the AIS Vanguard team arrived on site at 7am on Friday morning to rig a sequence of 10 x 10-ton chain blocks to the high-level ladder beams and prepare all lifting equipment in preparation for the lift the following day.

The plant was switched off when the team arrived on site at 7am the following day. The team was then able to lift the heat exchanger to the high-level opening, where it was fleeted from each set of chain blocks, allowing it to be moved through the high-level opening to the landing platform.

Once at the landing platform, a mobile crane was used to lift the heat exchanger down and load it to transport. The new heat exchanger was then installed using a reverse of this process.

All works were completed by 16:00 hours on Saturday afternoon, allowing the plant to be switched back on ahead of schedule with a shutdown period of just nine hours.



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