Process Equipment

Last update: Jan 13, 2017

Much of the equipment used in the refining and processing industries is known as Process Equipment. Most pieces of process equipment are designed to perform specific, singular tasks. Process equipment can be used for tasks a varied as storage, controlling flow, and containing chemical reactions.

There are two major types of process equipment: Fixed Equipment and Rotating Equipment.

Fixed equipment refers to any piece of process equipment that generally does not move. Fixed equipment is also sometimes known as static equipment and includes, but is:

Rotating equipment generally refers to any process equipment that moves or rotates. This type of equipment is most often used to drive process fluids through a system and includes:

  • turbines 
  • pumps
  • compressors
  • gearboxes
  • engines

When designing process equipment, it is important to take into consideration the kind of environment in which the equipment will be operating. It’s important to design the equipment so that it resists corrosion and other damage mechanisms likely to occur in that particular environment. Likewise, proper inspection and maintenance schedules are also integral in order to ensure the continued safety and functionality of the equipment over its lifespan. 


Recommend changes or revisions to this definition.


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Temporary Cooling Equipment Can Resolve Temporary Condensation Problems in Vacuum Distillation Units
Online Article
November 9, 2016 By Massimo Capra at Aggreko

Vacuum distillation plays a critical role in improving yields for petroleum refiners by producing high-value petroleum products out of the heavier oils left over from atmospheric distillation. When short-term disturbances cause temporary cooling challenges, these units could benefit from supplemental equipment that can help control the process operation temperature.

About Cooling Tower Inspections
November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal
By George L. Getz at The George Company

The following article on the art and science of cooling tower inspections is part one in a series. This first is a primer. We recommend that readers consider using this article to edit their engineering practices for cooling tower inspection against. Subsequent articles will cover case histories.

September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Harold Marburger at Dunn Heat Exchangers

This article is Part II of a three-part series that explores the various methods, benefits, challenges and solutions to efficiently and effectively clean heat exchangers, both onsite and offsite.

A Roadmap to Spare Parts Optimization
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Brad Moore at PinnacleART

Operators in all industries are trying to increase equipment availability, yet oftentimes critical process equipment is not available due to planned or unplanned maintenance. To increase equipment availability, steps must be taken to reduce downtime. One way to achieve this is to ensure that spare parts are organized and available in the event repairs are needed.

Do You Know Your Facility
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Toward the end of last year, Inspectioneering conducted a survey with the goal of answering the following question: "How many pressure vessels do facilities have compared to the number of inspectors responsible for them?" The answer to this question is an important metric for developing proper plant inspection staffing numbers. Inspection managers, among other facility decision-makers, may benefit by knowing this ratio relative to what exists at their own site.

A Guide to Storage Tank Inspection
July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Robert Frater at Engineering & Inspection Services, LLC

Refinery, petrochemical, and storage tank operators are responsible for properly cleaning facility tanks on a periodic maintenance basis, typically in 20 to 30 year increments. This article provides a suggested “checklist” of inspection activities to ensure safe and reliable operations after cleaning.

10 Tips for Effectively Troubleshooting Pumps
August 24, 2015 By Jeff Vollmer at Engineering & Inspection Services, LLC

Google “pump troubleshooting” and you will likely find multiple articles telling you that if your impeller has the wrong clearance, you will have a loss of capacity, or if your impeller is damaged, it could be the result of this or that. I didn’t want to just recreate one of those lists.

How to Effectively and Efficiently Clean Heat Exchangers, Part I
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Harold Marburger at Dunn Heat Exchangers

Whether onsite or offsite, the methods for cleaning shell and tube heat exchangers can vary. Refining and petrochemical operators will agree that high standards must be employed with each method. Choosing the right method can make the difference between smooth operations and unforeseen equipment shutdowns.

What’s your definition of risk?
Partner Content

PinnacleART’s engineers and inspectors can help your facility define, prioritize and mitigate risks within your facility. Let our team build, implement and maintain a comprehensive mechanical integrity and RBI program for your pressure vessels, heat exchangers, towers, storage tanks, piping, pump casings, pressure relief valves, critical check valves and more. Contact us at 281-598-1330 to learn more.

January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By Fred Schenkelberg at FMS Reliability

Reliability engineering tools and concepts can be used to avoid or delay failures, thus increasing product service life. Design or maintenance teams use reliability engineering techniques to identify failures and their causes.

The Many Parts of Injection Points
July/August 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
By Marc McConnell, P.E. at Versa Integrity Group

Who at your facility “owns” injection point hardware? Typically, injection point hardware falls into the “Gray Zone”.

Leaking Dryers and Scrubbers Located at Natural Gas Well Facilities
January/February 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
By Ana Benz at IRISNDT

In this article you will find the failure investigations of six 0.094 inch thick carbon steel vessels. These vessels were in service in natural gas well facilities; some functioned as dryers and were subjected to cyclic loads. Metallographic tests, hardness tests, and fracture surface scanning electron microscopy (SEM) examination results are presented for each of the vessels.

July/August 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
By Cliff Knight, P.E. at KnightHawk Engineering, Inc.

Steam turbines exist in most every major industrial facility. Many of these turbines have been running for years and have been very stable. Typically, after a period of time, the equipment is shut down for maintenance during a planned outage. It is more common than not that the turbine will experience problems after the shutdown and perhaps even failure or high vibration will occur.

Partner Content

It is difficult to cover all inspection applications with basic inspection procedures like radiography, ultrasonics, magnetic particle testing, and dye penetrant inspection. Owner-operators are finding that advanced NDE services such as guided-wave ultrasonics, AUT corrosion mapping, and eddy current testing are essential tools to keep their facilities operating safely and efficiently.

July/August 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
By Robert C. Davis at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.

At most operating facilities, a significant amount of time, effort, and money is expended on problem flanged joints that repeatedly leak. Joints that are repeatedly tightened online, that require installation of leak clamps, or that have resulted in unplanned outages to fix leaks are costly and unsafe.

March/April 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

Air-cooled heat exchangers (AC-HEs) are used extensively throughout the oil and gas industry, from upstream production to refineries and petrochemical plants, under high pressure and high temperature conditions, as well as corrosive fluids and environments. Some defects and discontinuities can be introduced during the heat exchanger manufacturing process and are not necessarily found as part of QA/QC inspections.

May/June 2011 Inspectioneering Journal
By Del Underwood at Det Norske Veritas

In two previous issues we discussed the important difference between steady and cyclic loading, and why loose bolts fail while tight ones do not. This issue will offer two suggestions for reducing the tendency for bolts to become loose.