Innisfail residents are witness to a sky-high vertical lift.
On the north side of town, near Discovery Wildlife Centre, the Johns Manville Industrial Plant, which manufactures glass insulation products, is the setting of a major physical upgrade.
This is apparent to community citizens and visitors outside town limits driving along the QEII Highway who are noticing a gigantic crane lifting of tens of thousands of pounds of stainless steel hundreds of feet up in the sky.
The company, which employs 170 workers and has been in the community since 1977, is assembling a new process water system, as well as an emission abatement system.
The upgrade’s assembly includes replacing the existing 34-year-old stacks for three new circular stainless steel structures, each with three pieces. Each completed stack will weigh about 70,000 lbs.
“Environmental and community relations is a big part of the company mandate,” said Jim Wilson, the plant manager, adding the company is proud of its commitment to meet and surpass all regulatory environmental standards. “We do testing annually. And are well within required limits. We are well positioned for any regulatory changes in the long-term.”
Wilson would not disclose the cost to the plant’s upgrades but did say the figure is “substantial.”
Barry Deacon, a crane operator with Edmonton’s Sterling Crane office, said his machinery has the capability of lifting upwards to about 360 ft. from the ground. He said his crane is achieving a height of about 300 ft. in the Innisfail operation.
Deacon said it takes about two hours to lift each section of a stack, lift and maneuver it into position and then properly assemble and secure the piece. Sterling Crane has seven workers dedicated to the assembly, he said.
Deacon said his crane crew’s job will take about three weeks to complete.
Rob Carver, the plant’s liaison officer for the project, said the entire upgrade to the plant would be complete by next April.