Although so much of the world seems to be changing, there has been at least one constant for MPW – outstanding performances by the Engineering and Fabrication team.
MPW Director of Engineering & Manufacturing Justin Pierce said recent successful projects have included the Hexcel installation in Decatur, Alabama (featured on the cover of July’s Leader) and the award of the PBF Energy refinery in Delaware City, Delaware.
“The Hexcel design has been a unique challenge with the limitations of space,” Pierce said. “We really had to work with the customer to come up with the solution. It’s an especially valuable project for us because it’s in a different industry than IW is accustomed to.”
According to its website, Hexcel is a “leading producer of carbon fiber reinforcements and resin systems, and the world leader in honeycomb manufacturing for the commercial aerospace industry.” The Decatur plant “is the company’s primary PAN (polyacrylonitrile) precursor plant. PAN is the first step in the carbon fiber manufacturing process.”
Pierce said the Delaware City project dates to last year, when PBF personnel toured their Chalmette refinery after the startup of a 4,000-gpm system that was designed and built by MPW.
“They were impressed with MPW’s equipment to the point that they decided to bring us aboard at the sister plant. We just received the order this week,” he said.
Pierce said the Fabrication team has contributed to these successes despite the complications presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been an obvious challenge with social distancing and reduced support staff,” Pierce said. “There are new work practices such as disinfection, as well as reduced shift overlap that create more work. Raw material shortages and delays have also been factors throughout the pandemic.
“Maintaining the health and safety of our personnel while traveling for installations has been another obstacle. Every site has different coronavirus regulations, so we have to ensure we’re following those as well as our own. Another adjustment has been so many people working from home. There has been some modifications and some filling in as needed, but everyone has done a good job with responsiveness and engagement.”
Pierce said he has also seen good use of technology by MPW recently, as sales and other customer-focused personnel have been using remote-meeting software such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to work through the sales cycle. Pierce thinks many of these techniques will continue after the pandemic due to busy schedules and the time and costs associated with travel.
“I think the positive part of the experience is that everyone has maintained a good attitude and strong work ethic and we’ve been diligent about following guidelines,” he said. “Many people have pitched in to facilitate our ability to keep working. Employees have done a good job with cleaning and disinfection and the Security team has kept us safer with temperature stations and mask enforcement.”