Beryllium Pebbles Plant
Project Profile: Beryllium Pebbles Plant
Firm name: Middough Inc.
Project building name and location: Beryllium Pebbles Plant, Elmore, Ohio
Type of building and type of project: Metals Producing Facility, New Construction
Project completion date and project duration: 2010
Engineering challenges and solutions:
Middough provided basic and detailed engineering, procurement, and construction management services for Materion’s $90+ million beryllium “Pebbles Plant” in Elmore, OH. This landmark project re-establishes a domestic supply of primary (high purity) beryllium for defense and civilian utilization. Essential uses of beryllium for which there is no suitable substitute include airborne Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems for fighter aircraft and attack helicopters, guidance systems on existing strategic missiles, surveillance satellites, ballistic missile defense systems, and reflectors for high flux, nuclear test reactors. Because of the strategic importance of beryllium to the defense and space industries, the U.S. Department of Defense provided over $70 million in funding for the project.
Engineering this complex, one-of-a-kind facility required many innovations to update decades old production technologies. Working in close collaboration with Materion’s own subject matter experts Middough integrated contributions from an extensive array of technical disciplines including chemicals and metals processing, industrial facility design, material handling, and clean room know-how drawn from our experience in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
A key challenge was to develop a process layout that efficiently consolidated historically separate operations under one roof. The unit operations are linked together by a heavily automated network of conveyors, elevators, and robotics. The plant is also outfitted with state-of-the-art safety features and air handling systems.