Case Studies

R & H Quality Refractory Services Inc.

Safety-oriented refractory installations and maintenance

Mark Hanudel was working for an oil company when he decided it was time for a change of scenery. Recognizing a need in the petrochemical market for safe, high-quality refractory services, he established R & H Quality Refractory Services Inc. For more than 20 years, the business has provided petrochemical facilities in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Colorado.

The business has built up a reputation for efficient and safe installations of firebrick and high-temperature linings over the course of two decades. R & H Quality also provides maintenance and repair solutions as well as mechanical services for refineries and major petrochemical clients along the Gulf Coast.

Refractory bricks and coatings protect vessels and stacks, maintaining a barrier between extreme heat and the structure and machinery clients rely on to keep their facilities operating safely. These companies will see significant growth in the next few years, providing opportunities for related industries across the American Gulf coast.

While there are other companies that provide refractory solutions for area refineries and petrochemical plants, Hanudel and his team stand out from competitors by excelling in technical innovation and problem-solving. R & H Quality has built strong and lasting relationships with clients along the coast, who depend on the business for hard work, attention to detail and an outstanding safety record.

R & H Quality Refractory Services, Inc.

Safety first

As a contractor, quality and efficiency play a natural role in the continued growth of R & H Quality. While the business is able to turn around proper, durable installations in short time frames, it is safety that stands out as the key to the company’s success.

“Safety is paramount,” Hanudel explains. “If you don’t have a safe record and a program that is effective to prevent injuries, you cannot operate in this business with the high-profile customers we work with. Our customers include a lot of Fortune 500 companies that demand the highest standards of performance.”

In order to maintain a market that includes such high-profile clientele, R & H Quality conducts a tremendous amount of safety training. While some aspects of the safety program are put on with in-house resources, Hanudel works with many third-party safety professionals to keep his team up-to-date on best practices.

“Safety is a huge part of our company culture and our staff embraces that,” Hanudel says. “We spend a lot of pre-turnaround time on plans and hazard risk analyses, working at the probability and gravity of various scenarios. We lay out mitigation steps to take in order to first prevent and then second minimize impact in case of an incident.”

Unmatched expertise

Concern for safety is only matched by the company’s dedication to quality and durability. Hanudel and his colleagues take into account chemicals, corrosive reactions, temperature, abrasion and erosion to select materials that will offer customers the most improved service factor.

“Companies are concerned about downtime, so we work to minimize the need for repeat repairs,” Hanudel says. “Our goal is to offer refractory solutions with the longest runtime possible. We are known for that. Other refractory companies have worked with customers for a few years, but because their installations do not withstand the stresses in these facilities, those customers have come to us.”

This strong safety program and leading expertise on staff at R & H Quality have contributed significantly to the success of many recent projects. For example, Hanudel and his team re-bricked a 210-foot high, 18-foot wide stack in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The massive project took a month and a half to complete and required engineered scaffolding, sourced from a strategic partner, in order to ensure safe access to work areas. The crew also installed an internal, crane-rigged elevator system for improved mobility.

R & H Quality performs a majority of work in-house, including refractory design, installation, welding and structural steel repair. R&H has maintenance contracts with customers to perform work on a daily basis. However, most of the work is performed in major turnarounds.  An example of a high-performance project is the complete rebuild of an incinerator box for a plant in New Orleans. Most projects of this type take around three weeks to complete, but Hanudel and his team took an additional few weeks because of the size and complexity of the project.

Quality management

While it is one thing to strive for quality, safety and efficiency, R & H Quality takes performance a step further with a devotion to performance metrics. Hanudel and his management team are tuned into a number of quality management systems. The business tracks construction productivity, training, customer satisfaction and other key performance indicators.

“We monitor these factors and publish them to distribute to our employees on a monthly basis,” Hanudel says. “We want them to see the direction the company is going from a safety, productivity, training and customer-service standpoint.”

R&H Quality recently received the Level II Award from the Louisiana Quality Foundation for its commitment to continuous improvement.

This constant involvement in company structure imposes accountability and keeps employees in the loop. Over the years, this approach has kept key staff members engaged, leading to low turnover and high expertise on-staff. Many of Hanudel’s employees have been with the business since Hanudel opened the doors in 1994.

These figures also help Hanudel determine where and when changes need to be made in the business. “I have a great management team, but it is also my company, so I can implement what I feel needs to be done based on those numbers,” he elaborates. “We have the organization and discipline of a large company, but we can react quickly like a small business.”

Efficiency, safety, quality and responsiveness are the hallmarks of R & H Quality Refractory Services Inc., providing clear, measured high-performance that keeps customers coming back.

Published on: July 10, 2015

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