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Coker Access: Shell Martinez Flexi-Coker Unit Expanding Platform

Martinez, CA 

Contractor: Shell Martinez 

Project Scope

The customer required a circular platform that was able to expand to stay near the walls of a cone-shaped flexi-coker unit. Increased lifting capacity was required to enable a hydraulic chipping machine to remove coke for maintenance and inspection of the tower. 


  • The cone-shaped structure ranged from 9 ft to 20 ft, requiring a platform that could expand to accommodate the varying dimensions. 
  • The coke removal was to be performed by a 2,700-lb remote-controlled hydraulic chipping machine, which needed to be transported on the platform. This required additional lifting capacity as well as platform stabilization.
  • A custom, on-site training program was required for the crews prior to the start of the project to ensure their ability to self-perform the assembly, installation, operation, and removal of the platform.


Because the structure was continuously in operation, Spider’s engineers and project team worked site unseen to design a custom circular aluminum platform. The platform was expandable from 9 ft in 1 ft increments, and included pre-cut grated decking and expandable handrails. Powered by four SC1500 traction hoists, the platform had an increased lifting capacity to accommodate the 2,700-lb hydraulic chipping machine. Telescopic stabilization legs with isolation were added to enable welding on the platform. Spider trainers spent three full days conducting customized in-class and hands-on training for fifteen crew members two months prior to the project to ensure safe and smooth operation.

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