Case 1 – Helium recovery expertise increases productivity

RMW was asked to support productivity initiatives from an international medical products client operating a superconducting device with a large reservoir of liquid helium. The client faced thousands of dollars of additional costs when periodic operational upsets resulted in heat dump to the liquid inventory helium. The heat was in such quantities that all the inventory helium instantly evaporated and vented through a protective rupture disc. The client wished to avoid the costs of lost helium and recover this product when the operation produced the upsets.

The Challenge: Model the thermodynamic and fluid flow characteristics of the upset on a microsecond basis to act as a foundation for the recovery collection system design.

Within a week, RMW had modeled the technical characteristics of the release and fed the results into an overall system design. The RMW design not only captured and retained the helium saving costs, but the system operation was designed to maintain the integrity of the client’s medical device.

Case 2 – Technical and Economic Feasibility Study

A client had a feedgas stream made up of relatively low value inert gases but with a valuable single component. The extraction process was unusual but viable if the proper technology and economics were employed to accomplish the extraction process. They called on RMW expertise in industrial process analysis and design for help.

The Challenge: Review the domestic and global market conditions and supply situation for the extracted stream and estimate the future profitability of the product.

RMW first investigated the market aspects of the product by evaluating the global production capabilities, reviewing current and future market applications, and projecting the future market supply and demand situation. A conceptual design was developed using state of the art technology concepts. This design was then used as a basis for defining capital costs and operating expense for the intended facility. Finally, RMW detailed a fifteen-year profitability analysis including sensitivity review. As a result of the study, the client had a realistic technological and economic projection to move forward for formal project approval from upper management.

Case 3 – Equipment troubleshooting

RMW was approached by a specialty gas equipment supplier that provided a manufacturing client a purification equipment package. The current manufacturing process in the specialty gas plant prevented system operation as specified in the original purifier design.

The Challenge: Rapidly troubleshoot the operation system and define changes necessary to the equipment package to better match the current situation.

RMW met with both the equipment supplier and the specialty gas manufacturer to review past and current conditions. RMW did a complete process and mechanical design review of the system and operation. The analysis indicated a significantly higher load was present under intended operation than the originally equipment design specification and a likelihood of having to purchase a completely new purification package. After more detailed reviews, RMW suggested minor design and operation changes to the original purifier skid that optimized the purification package to the present conditions saving time, money and headaches for all parties.

Case 4 – Plant design and commissioning

A respected overseas industrial gas client decided to begin purchasing bulk quantities of liquid helium to gain economies of scale and to provide a source of product to transfer to high pressure gaseous cylinders and liquid dewars. While knowledgeable in most industrial gases this client decided to look to RMW's expertise in helium to facilitate the process.

The Challenge: Design state of the art overseas transfill plant and project manage the process Rapidly troubleshoot the operation system and define changes necessary to the equipment package to better match the current situation.

RMW established specifications and metrics for the plant operation and developed a design for the facility. The plant was designed to efficiently and safely capture helium flash loss and residual, purify that product, and then re-liquefy the results to minimize the helium loss and lower the plant operating cost. RMW provided a complete system design, project management, equipment procurement service, and field commissioning assistance. The client was provided with a state-of-the-arts facility in less than six months that met or exceeded all design, safety, and operational criteria.

Case 5 – Helium expertise yields results

Equipment troubleshooting

A client had a unique application needs for liquid helium in Antarctica for scientific analysis and experimentation. They approached RMW to provide a workable solution to increase the efficiency of a transfer process to smaller liquid containers "in hopes this would" increase the container turnaround.

The Challenge: Identify cost effective, safe, and easy implemented process techniques that will increase the liquid transfer yield and increase the client’s productivity.

RMW reviewed the current process and identified safety concerns as well as inefficiencies that prevented optimum yield. By developing a novel transfer process, RMW was able to increase the transfer yield by over 20% leading to rapid container turnaround and a safer, more operational efficient process.

Case 6 – Hydrogen expertise and business analysis

A client approached RMW to provide expertise involving hydrogen production and purification based on a waste stream from an adjacent third party facility that had high levels of impurities but a potentially economical solution for large volumes of industrial grade hydrogen. The client needed a feasibility study completed rapidly in order to secure the product source but only if it made technical and economic sense.

The Challenge: Develop a cost effective design solution and provide market and economic information to allow client investment consideration for the project.

RMW reviewed the process and developed a cycle that collected the gas, removed the impurities, compressed and filled gaseous tube trailers. The scope included flowsheet and process equipment specifications in sufficient detail to develop a refined capital and operating cost proforma estimate and contrasted this with existing operating plants. The result was completed within two weeks from contract award and RMW’s quick response and experience allowed the client to complete negotiations to secure the waste stream and move to project execution stage.