Combining NDE and Engineering Analysis to Optimize Tube Life in Steam Reformers
Having the ability to substantially extend tube life in Steam Reformers is essential in maximizing use of capital investments in Methanol, Hydrogen, and Ammonia plants. With the price of nickel at an all time high, the cost of installing a single reformer tube can be upwards of $20,000 USD. However, in today’s highly competitive markets the effect of the unplanned downtime in reducing the plant on-stream factor is far greater than the installed cost of a single reformer tube.
The plant engineers need to have data which will allow them to better manage the reformer tubes and where circumstances allow them to safely extend the tube life expectancy beyond the typical 100,000 operating hours, as generally defined by their creep-based design by furnace designers .
Over the last 6 years over 100 plants around the world have applied the Laser-Optic Tube Inspection System LOTISTM “internal” laser-based reformer tube testing technique to obtain invaluable tube creep information as it relates to tube damage in the early stages as well as allowing the determination of when a tube should be retired from service.