New operating conditions require a metallurgy upgrade in a fractionation column
IGS HVTS facilitates the process change at a fraction of the cost, delivering 50% cost savings and 12 x time savings.
A fractionation column manufactured ten years ago for use at a refinery in Egypt had remained out of service due to a change in the original operating process. Fractionation columns are part of a refinery’s mission-critical equipment operating at approximately 370°C. They create usable fractions from heavy gas oils. In this case, the environment was much more aggressive than the column had been designed for, which meant the higher temperatures would impact the internal surface of the column unless it was protected with a suitable corrosion resistant alloy.
The Solution: HVTS Metal Alloy Cladding
Integrated Global Services (IGS) High Velocity Thermal Spray (HVTS) metal alloy cladding was the chosen solution to protect the internal surface of the fractionator column and bring the asset into service. A detailed technical proposal was submitted to the operator that outlined the process, timelines, costs, and similar case studies focusing on the long-term results of using HVTS.
A total area of 630m2 was sprayed with HVTS to protect the fractionation column from corrosion. In addition to the shell, although a much smaller area, internal vessel tray support rings, brackets, and other internal structures were also sprayed for protection. The IGS HVTS metal alloy cladding technology is a widely accepted technology to address corrosion issues on the internal surfaces of critical process equipment in the O&G sector globally.
There are key benefits of choosing IGS HVTS metal alloy cladding as opposed to manufacturing a new fractionator column and having it clad with stainless stell or Inconel during the manufacturing process. Firstly, a newly fabricated column would have taken 12+ months to manufacture and install, whereas IGS completed the HVTS application in just 38 days. The time saving has had a positive impact on productivity and increased asset uptime.
Another benefit of choosing the HVTS cladding when compared to the alternative option of a new-build column is the cost savings. The value of the IGS project was approximately 50% less than the manufacturing of a new column with Corrosion Resistant Alloy (CRA) cladding.
HVTS vs Weld Overlay
The HVTS application is significantly faster than weld metal overlay. HVTS solution provides excellent up-front cost reduction and long-term ROI due to material and labor savings. Savings as high as 50% are frequently achieved.
Furthermore, HVTS doesn’t create a Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) and therefore will require no post weld heat treating (PWHT) saving more time and putting equipment under less stress.
HVTS vs Organic Coatings
IGS HVTS has one major advantage against organic coatings. HVTS does not require any curing time or bake out. HVTS is also insensitive to atmospheric temperature and humidity. As a result, the HVTS application can reduce critical path turnaround time by up to ten days, bringing the unit back into operation that much sooner.
HVTS does not have the low service temperature limitations that organic coatings do. Metal coatings can withstand much harsher environments and are resistant to impact damage that may commonly occur during a turnaround.
Mohamed Al Ahwani, General Manager (Saudi Arabia & Egypt) at IGS, said:
“This has been another successful project for IGS. The client is very pleased with our professionalism and the results we have achieved. The column is now in service after ten years and we have significantly extended the lifetime of the refinery’s mission critical equipment in a cost and time efficient manner. We have saved our client 12 months of production by bringing the existing column into service, rather than a new column being manufactured. IGS has been called upon to inspect other crude distillation columns during the plant’s next shutdown.”