Process Equipment

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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 as 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 not limited to:

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.

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Articles about Process Equipment
January/February 2022 Inspectioneering Journal

Component type is important when assessing the applicability and limitations of a particular assessment (Part and Level) to a particular component. This article explains the evolution of component type definition over the years.

Authors: Greg Garic, P.E.
September/October 2017 Inspectioneering Journal

Although value-drivers often differ between facilities, all can agree that effective asset management strategies should lead to better decision making. In this case study, the authors detail how process-based risk management strategies can make for...

Online Article

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...

Authors: Massimo Capra
November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

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...

Authors: George L. Getz
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

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...

Authors: Brad Moore
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Equity Engineering Practices® (EEPs) are a collection of design and maintenance focused corporate standards that include >850 engineering standards, and >300 piping classes. Enhance your mechanical integrity programs, improve equipment...


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...

Authors: Nick Schmoyer
July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

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...

Authors: Robert Frater

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...

Authors: Jeff Vollmer
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

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.

July/August 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

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

Partner Content

Antea delivers highly flexible risk-based asset integrity software with 3D Digital Twin integration to optimize maintenance, reduce risk, and improve mechanical integrity for oil and gas, power generation, and chemical plants and facilities....

January/February 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

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,...

Authors: Ana Benz
July/August 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

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...

July/August 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

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...

Authors: Robert C. Davis
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...

Authors: Fernando Vicente
May/June 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

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.

Authors: Del Underwood
Partner Content

Ethos has assembled a team of experts who apply what they learned through years of process safety experience in the industry and dealing with OSHA and EPA. Click here to learn more about our services.

March/April 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

In the previous issue we dealt with the fact that bolts can withstand significantly less cyclic loading than steady loading. We are now looking at the mechanics of why bolts fail if flanges are allowed to separate during operation.

Authors: Del Underwood
March/April 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

The most common equipment vibration problems are often solved in industry without the use of specialty engineering resources. Routine vibration problems-from machinery imbalance and misalignment to simple cases of noise and resonance-are often...

January/February 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

A continually frustrating phenomenon to many of us is the situation where a tight bolt will function satisfactorily, but in the same situation, a loose bolt will fail...

Authors: Del Underwood
September/October 2009 Inspectioneering Journal

Leakage of pressure vessel and piping bolted joints in refineries is an unnecessary hazard, with high associated cost, that can be easily rectified using currently available technology. There have been advances in gasket testing technology in recent...

March/April 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

A unique technique for inspecting the floors of aboveground storage tank's (AST) emerged in the late 90's based on in-service robotic technology. The technology has come a long way since then, with new inspection and tank cleaning capabilities,...

Authors: Vincent Summa
Partner Content

With class-leading thermal performance, superior CUI defense, and complimentary engineering support, our aerogel insulation solutions are a top choice in helping facilities drive energy efficiency, improve safety, increase yields, and reduce downtime

September/October 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Is calibration of NDT or any other equipment necessary? The answer is certainly Yes! But a question still arises. Why? Because in the case of NDT it is required by national and international standards. Many NDT standards require that a system of...

July/August 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Aging phenolic resin reactors built in the 1960's were constructed of SA304 stainless steel, many of which were originally fabricated to ASME Section VIII standards were never registered as such nor with the National Board. Some of these reactors...

Authors: Mark Bagnell
July/August 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

This bulletin is part of a series of WRC Bulletins that contain the technical background and other information to evaluate damage mechanisms in various industries to facilitate the use of API 579. These bulletins, shown below, will be updated based...

May/June 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Current BSI and ASME codes for the construction of pressure vessels, boilers and piping specify that post-weld heat treatment is required if the thickness of the components being welded exceeds a specified value. This value depends on the type of...

July/August 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

The following is the final part of a 2-part series outlining the relationship between key operating parameters and corrosion that has been used to develop a set of guidelines to define an operating envelope.

Partner Content

Lessen downtime by enhancing your plant infrastructure, ensuring mechanical integrity, and extending equipment lifespan. Contact us for on-demand engineering expertise in assessment, problem-solving, specialized testing, and preventative solutions.

January/February 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Casting defects are an age old problem for our industry that seems to be getting worse as foundries in the older industrialized world shutdown for economic reasons.

Authors: John Reynolds
May/June 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Many of the guyed flare stacks and wire rope or strand supported structures in use in U.S. and overseas refineries, pipelines and chemical plants were erected in the 1950's, 60's and 70's. Some were built even earlier. While many of the components...

Authors: David R. Hall
March/April 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

Determination of the mechanical integrity of pipe and equipment in US process industries has evolved from day to day business to federal mandate (OSHA 1901.119) to a part of industry best practice. Insulated pipe and equipment pose specific...

Authors: Deal Moore
May/June 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

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.

Authors: Del Underwood
January/February 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

In the previous issue, we dealt with the fact that bolts can withstand significantly less cyclic loading then steady loading. We are now looking at the mechanics of why bolts fail if flanges are allowed to separate during operation.

Authors: Del Underwood
Partner Content

IGS’s automated surface protection solutions are revolutionizing asset integrity, including inspection, monitoring, assessment, and preservation throughout asset lifecycles. Discover how your plant could benefit.

July/August 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

Damage of carbon steel pressure vessels due to various in-service damage mechanisms continues to be a serious concern in the refining and petrochemical industries. A survey conducted in 1990 by the NACE T-8-16 Work Group to determine the nature and...

July/August 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

In a past issue, we discussed one solution to the instrument line block valve pendulum problem. This was where the valve assembly can be mounted remotely from the vibrating product line, such as at-grade. This issue covers two possibilities where...

Authors: Del Underwood
May/June 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

Case 1: Fuel Gas to Boilers in boiler house: in 1992 two flanges were installed for installation of knock blinds. No degassing was completed. Both welds were radiographed and noted as acceptable. Case 2: Alky Unit Flare Header: No degassing...

May/June 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

This final issue on gusset problems will discuss why gussets are "stiffeners" rather than "strengtheners." The effective load bearing capacity of a member of given strength is based upon how large a cross-sectional area is carrying the load....

Authors: Del Underwood
January/February 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

Last issue, in keeping with the evaluation that "gussets are stiffeners, not strengtheners," we discussed welding around the ends of the gusset plate instead of just along the sides in order to reduce the stress concentration. A further improvement...

January/February 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

On-line condition monitoring concepts which have originally been applied to vibration monitoring of rotating equipment are now being applied to monitoring the structural integrity of power plant components. Market demand for more flexible plant...

Authors: George Jones
September/October 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

A key to any piping evaluation program is to understand where problems can occur. Vibrating piping can propagate a crack relatively quickly. Have you ever installed gussets to stabilize a vibrating pipe situation only to find, shortly thereafter,...

Authors: Del Underwood
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