Troubleshooting effort solves exchanger problems in Saudi refinery

Troubleshooting efforts in the platformer unit in Saudi Aramco’s refinery (Fig. 1) identified problems related to a catalyst leak, carbon buildup on the exchanger shells, and high vibrations. Saudi Aramco’s refinery includes a platformer unit (Fig. 1).Click here to enlarge imageA vertical heat exchanger in the platformer unit was experiencing tube failures. Based on scale, tube sample analyses, and engineering evaluations, we found that the most likely cause of the tube leaks were melted tubes due to burn out of coked catalyst that carried over into the exchanger or a buildup of hydrocarbon deposits on the shell side.Bypassing the damaged exchanger resulted in high noise leve...

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