International Paper Headbox Improvement
Springfield, Ore.              
Award of Merit

Owner: Jacobs Engineering Group (for International Paper)
Lead Design Firm: Jacobs Engineering Group
General Contractor: Greenberry Industrial LLC

Each step in industrial papermaking presents its own hazards, from headbox to press to dryer to winder. Bring in a crew of construction workers to set up new equipment adjacent to the working machinery, and the margin for error shrinks to nearly zero.

At the headbox improvement project at the International Paper (IP) containerboard plant in Springfield, Ore., workers logged more than 180,000 hours without a single recordable injury. The $15-million project replaced the plant’s primary and secondary headboxes, slitting equipment, approach piping and mechanical systems. Crews spent nearly two years working around active machinery, says Chase Oyler, project manager for general contractor Greenberry Industrial LLC.

“It’s like rebuilding a car or truck while it’s driving down the road,” Oyler says. “There’s the heat, the confined spaces, the rotating equipment. We were using heavy bridge cranes, moving overhead loads.”

The team established a hazard-observation reporting structure previously unused at the plant. “Someone might see something that was technically OK, but could cause a problem,” Chase says, “and 99% of the time, [IP] addressed it.” The new hazard-reporting system resulted in more than 100 changes in work practices throughout the plant.

Greenberry was originally hired to handle only the planning and pre-outage work, as IP planned to bring in a larger specialty shop to set and connect major equipment during the final plant outage. Instead, IP asked Greenberry in May 2016 to be the project’s prime contractor.

To meet an aggressive schedule, the team shifted into design-build mode, installing piping and other subsystems as the engineers finalized the drawings. The team continued to maintain high quality standards, according to Greenberry, with third-party nondestructive exams showing only a 1% failure rate for over 4,000 pipe welds.

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