Last update: Jan 13, 2017
Heat Exchangers are pieces of process equipment built and designed for maximum efficiency of heat transfer between two different machines or mediums. In most industrial processes, the loss of heat is very wasteful and inefficient. Because of this, heat exchangers were created to capture and reuse heat that would otherwise be lost to the environment.
In general, a heat exchanger functions by allowing a hot fluid to flow through the exchanger past a cold fluid without intermixing the two. Heat flows from the hot fluid to the cold fluid, heating the cold fluid and cooling the hot fluid. This allows the heat to be transported and reused rather than simply discarded. The two fluids will flow past each other, with one usually being in a narrow pipe while the other flows outside the pipe in a surrounding shell.
There many different types of heat exchangers; some more appropriate for certain environments than others. Some have built-in dividers to separate the heat storage, while others allow the mixing of heat. Of these different types, each one fits into one of three larger classifications depending on its type of flow.
Recommend changes or revisions to this definition.
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.
September/October 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Kimberley Hayes at Olympus
Detecting, quantifying, and sizing indications characterized as a “crack” in critical equipment have long been the global benchmark of asset integrity programs. Therefore, the increased precision that inspection programs obtain using advanced technologies can dynamically improve the overall assessment.
March 30, 2016 By Jeremiah Wooten at Inspectioneering, LLC.
Inspectioneering recently had the opportunity to chat with Barney Smith, Turnaround Manager at Aggreko, a global leader in power, heating, cooling, and oil-free compressor rental solutions. Our discussion focused on catalyst cooling during hydrocarbon processing and how owner-operators can potentially improve their process.
January/February 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
Heat exchangers operating in refineries or petrochemical plants must be thoroughly cleaned and inspected throughout their operational lifetime to ensure safe and efficient operations.
Industrial Rope Access is a proven method of achieving a safe work position at elevated heights or areas that are difficult to access. When combined with advanced NDE technologies, rope access technicians can substantially reduce the cost of inspections and maintenance activities by virtually eliminating the need for fixed scaffolding.
January 11, 2016
Optimal cleaning to an "inspection clean" status ensures operational efficiency and a longer duration between heat exchanger cleaning requirements.
November 9, 2015 By Jeremiah Wooten at Inspectioneering, LLC.
Inspectioneering recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Brian Fahnestock about heat exchanger issues in the refining and petrochemical sectors and how temporary solutions can help mitigate the damage should a problem arise.
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
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.
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
By A.C. Gysbers at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.
The tubes of heat exchangers (HX), whether for a shell and tube bundle or an airfin, are typically subject to some form of nondestructive examination (NDE) to try and quantify the remaining wall thicknesses and corrosion rates to help a plant to determine remaining life or the need for intervention via re-tubing or replacement of these thin wall components.
April 20, 2015
We talk about heat exchangers quite a bit here on Inspectioneering, most recently in the January/February issue of the Journal. This is because heat exchangers are vital pieces of equipment in nearly every type of plant or facility.
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
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.
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
By Dr. Noam Amir at AcousticEye
Tube and shell heat exchangers are required to operate continuously in tough conditions for years, coping with thermal cycling, corrosive fluids on the tube and shell side, vibration and fouling of many different types, all collaborating towards degrading the performance of the unit and causing its eventual failure.
October 28, 2014
U.S. Chemical Safety Board safety video discussing the fatal April 2, 2010, explosion and fire at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington. A nearly 40-year-old heat exchanger violently ruptured, causing an explosion and fire that fatally injured seven workers – the largest loss of life at a U.S. refinery since 2005.
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
A small leak from top tubesheet-to-tube welds prompted further inspection of the 1¼Cr- ½Mo Ammonia Converter Boiler Feed Water (BFW) Exchanger during a planned shutdown. Further cracks were identified in the top channel to tubesheet butt weld that operated at 700 °F.
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.
Facilities are facing increasing challenges, including justifying inflated budgets, managing contractor hours, ensuring regulatory compliance and qualifying the work being completed. To help facilities manage evolving inspection requirements, PinnacleART offers Fixed-Price Inspection (FPI), meaning we will develop and execute a comprehensive Risk-Based Inspection plan for one fixed-price. Yes, you read that right – one fixed-price.
March/April 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
By Fernando Vicente at ABB
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.