Corrosion Management in Small Diameter Pressure Vessels: Strippers, Separators and Condensers

Corrosion in Small Diameter Pressure Vessels: Challenges and Solutions

In the hydrocarbon processing and chemical industries, small-diameter pressure vessels, such as many strippers, absorbers, separators, and condensers play a crucial role in various operations. However, these compact vessels often face unique corrosion challenges that compromise their integrity and lead to costly repairs, unplanned shutdowns, and potential safety hazards.

Understanding the Corrosion Risks

Small-diameter vessels, especially those less than 1 meter in diameter, are susceptible to corrosion risks due to their compact size, limited access, and exposure to aggressive process environments. Some of the common corrosion risks include:

  • Localized Corrosion

Areas with turbulent flow, crevices, or stagnant conditions can lead to localized corrosion attacks, such as pitting, crevice, or erosion corrosion.

  • Amine Corrosion

In gas sweetening processes, amine units and associated equipment can be vulnerable to corrosion due to corrosive amine solutions and byproducts.

  • Naphtha Corrosion

Strippers and fractionation columns handling naphtha or other hydrocarbon streams can experience corrosion due to sulfur compounds, acids, and other corrosive species.

  • Overhead Corrosion

Condensers and overhead systems can be prone to corrosion from acidic condensates, chloride stress corrosion cracking, or high-temperature oxidation.


The Traditional Approach to Corrosion Mitigation in Small Vessels

Narrow diameter makes most corrosion mitigation techniques with man-entry requirements very challenging—not only for safety reasons but even more for application quality. Weld overlay, thermal spray and organic coatings are rarely applicable here. This leaves plant operators with only two options: corrosion inhibitors and like-for-like replacement of the corroded vessels.

Metalspray®: A Comprehensive Automated Solution by Integrated Global Services

Integrated Global Services offers a cutting-edge solution to address corrosion in small diameter pressure vessels: Automated Metalspray®. This advanced technology provides a reliable and efficient method for applying corrosion-resistant alloy cladding to the internal surfaces of compact vessels, effectively mitigating corrosion risks.

The Metalspray® Cladding Process

Step 1: Alloy Selection

Integrated Global Services offers a wide range of corrosion-resistant alloys, including stainless steel, nickel-based, and specialty alloys tailored to specific corrosion environments. Our experts assist in selecting the optimal alloy based on your process conditions and corrosion risks.

Step 2: Surface Preparation

The internal surfaces of the vessel are thoroughly cleaned and prepared to ensure optimal adhesion of the cladding material.

Step 3: Pre-cladding AI-assisted Laser Inspection

The vessel is thoroughly inspected to ensure surface readiness for the Metalspray® application.

Step 4: Automated Cladding Application

Our specialized robotic systems are deployed to precisely apply the corrosion-resistant alloy cladding using high-velocity thermal spray technology. This process ensures uniform coverage and consistent quality, even in hard-to-reach areas.

Step 5: Quality Assurance

Stringent quality control measures are implemented throughout the cladding process, including second AI-Assisted laser inspection, to ensure the integrity and performance of the cladded surfaces.

Step 6: Project report

We provide the customer with a complete project report including thickness mapping, photo and video evidence.

Benefits of Metalspray® for Corrosion Protection

Choosing Metalspray® offers numerous advantages for corrosion protection in small diameter pressure vessels.

  • Extended Service Life

The corrosion-resistant cladding significantly enhances the service life of your vessels, reducing the need for frequent replacements or repairs.

  • Improved Safety

By mitigating corrosion risks, automated cladding helps maintain the structural integrity of your vessels, ensuring safe operations and minimizing the potential for leaks or failures.

  • Cost Savings

Extending the lifespan of your pressure vessels and reducing unplanned shutdowns can lead to substantial long-term cost savings.

  • Efficient Application

Our automated cladding process ensures consistent and uniform coverage, even in confined spaces, with minimal downtime and disruption to your operations.

  • Versatility

The automated cladding solution can be applied to various vessel geometries, sizes, and materials, providing a flexible solution for diverse applications.

  • Customization

With our expertise in alloy selection and process optimization, we can tailor the cladding solution to meet your specific corrosion challenges and operating conditions.

  • Reliability

Over the last four decades, IGS has delivered more than seven thousand projects in more than fifty countries, around half of which are in the field of hydrocarbon processing corrosion protection.

Protect Your Small Diameter Pressure Vessels

Don’t let corrosion compromise the integrity and efficiency of your small diameter pressure vessels. Contact Integrated Global Services today to explore our automated Metalspray® solution. Our team of corrosion experts will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your equipment and provide a customized cladding solution to address your unique corrosion challenges.

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