Tube inserts enhance heat exchangers in Far East process applications

M. Gough Cal Gavin Air coolers designed with the Hitran system for minimum weight and cost, for an installation in the Indian Ocean [picture courtesy ONGC/ Hyundai/BTT]. Acceptance of new techniques and products to the point of common use and understanding can take many years in the conservative process industry. It must have taken considerable courage by engineers in the past, for example, to implement the removing of trays from a column and replacement with a random packing.

Nov 1st, 1995
11off25

M. Gough
Cal Gavin
Air coolers designed with the Hitran system for minimum weight and cost, for an installation in the Indian Ocean [picture courtesy ONGC/ Hyundai/BTT].


Acceptance of new techniques and products to the point of common use and understanding can take many years in the conservative process industry. It must have taken considerable courage by engineers in the past, for example, to implement the removing of trays from a column and replacement with a random packing.

However, wide-ranging success resulted from this simple device as the process industry steadily adopted this technology; then the world moved on again and structured packing became state of the art.

Having thereby improved distillation processes, pressure then returned on the engineers to improve performance of the associated reboilers and condensers. Hardware and software solutions steadily emerged, to the point that a whole new area of technology is now available.

One such technique rapidly gaining acceptance, particularly in Indonesia, is the use of wire matrix tube inserts. These relatively simple devices, made and marketed in the UK by Cal Gavin under the name Hitran thermal systems, have been well proven to increase heat exchanger performance and reduce the likelihood of fouling.

The high level of performance achievable results in substantial savings when retrofitted, and considerable size and weight reduction for new equipment. No compromise is made to the mechanical integrity of the exchanger, with the inserts simply pulled into the tubes and secured at the ends.

Developed chiefly in the UK over the past decade, these insert systems have now been incorporated in over 2,000 exchangers worldwide and are increasingly being specified for projects in Southeast Asia. Applications have included: EPMI refinery and platforms, Seligi platform for Petronas Carigali, Malaysia; Herra platform, ONGC, India; Batangas, Philippines; Glycol exchangers, Shell, Brunei; Lube oil collers, Mobil Oil, Indonesia.

Interest in this technology in Indonesia for de-bottlenecking gas processing plants is growing rapidly, based on the success of installations in treatment plants elsewhere. Inquiries have come from plant engineers, contractors and exchanger manufacturers. The oil and gas industry in Indonesia is seen as a strong potential user of this type of retrofit enhancement.

Cal Gavin also provides a design, simulation and troubleshooting service to assist companies with plant re-vamp projects or single exchanger problems.

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