Autoclave System for Preserving Railroad Ties

In 2007, our company was contacted by Amerities Holding, LLC with the intent of acquiring an estimate for some autoclaves they would need for a new facility they were building to treat railroad crossties for their client, Union Pacific Railroad.

Amerities original intent was to design the facility’s equipment in-house, with the assistance of an outside engineering firm for assistance in the creation of equipment specifications and project management. Once the specifications were created, Amerities would award contracts to other companies to construct and/or install the additional equipment needed for preserving the crossties with creosote inside the autoclaves we were estimating for them.

Through several meetings with Amerities key stakeholders, and visits by those stakeholders to past projects we constructed for past clients, we were given not only the contract for the autoclaves, but also a contract for the design, construction, and installation of all the equipment Ameriites would need to preserve the crossties for their clients. The scope of the contract included:

  • Assistance with obtaining financing for the facility’s wood preservation equipment. We assisted Amerities key stakeholders with a number of financial institutions requests for information of the equipment Amerities would need for preserving the railroad ties at this new facility.
  • Creation of design specifications and approval of construction for field erected storage tanks;
  • Creation of design specifications and approval of construction for facility’s heat exchangers;
  • Creation of design specifications and approval of construction for facility’s pump equipment;
  • Creation of design specifications and approval of construction for cooling equipment, including condensers and cooling towers;
  • Creation of design specifications for the autoclave’s air filter system;
  • Creation of design specifications, construction, and installation of (2) 8′ diameter by 156′ long autoclaves;
  • Design, construction, and installation of treated crossties material handling system. This system included the cars for carrying the railroad crossties into and out of the autoclaves, drip bays for storage of recently treated crossties, and a transfer deck for movement of the loaded cars between the autoclaves, drip bays, and load/unload areas;
    Creation of design specifications, construction, and installation of the piping that would connect the autoclaves to the storage tanks, pumps, condensers, cooling towers, heat exchangers, and boilers;
  • Creation of design specifications, construction, and installation of the computer system and instrumentation that would be needed to automate the facility’s autoclaves, storage tanks, pumps, condensers, cooling towers, heat exchangers, and boilers.

In 2010, Amerities new crosstie treating facility was brought online in Hope, AR. Since that time the facility has operated on a 24 hour per day schedule with minimal down-time for maintenance related issues.

“It was a pleasure to work with TankFab on this project. They communicated well and were sensitive to our needs while on site.”

Bob Worfel, Project Manager, Great Southern Wood

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