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Minimizing Flame Impingements In Fired Heaters

By Kandasamy Vinayagam, Heaters Revamping & Troubleshooting, Inc. |

    Fired heaters are used considerably in the chemical process industries (CPI), for heating crude oil in the petroleum refining and petrochemical sectors. Unfortunately, fired heaters are often taken for granted and neglected more than other equipment in terms of operation and maintenance. Proper care and attention to these heaters can prolong run lengths and increase reliability and safe operation. A common reaction to the need for more heat duty is to pump more fuel into the burners of a fired heater, without cross checking its heat-release design limits. This can cause long-term problems like flame impingement, tube bowing, sagging, leakage, rupture, damage and even explosion. Flame impingement is when a flame actually touches or engulfs the tubes or their supports. This condition is one of the major problems encountered in hard-firing heaters, and it can occur due to inadequate design, poor operation or poor maintenance. When flame impingement occurs for even a short duration, damage is done. Consequences can include failures in tubes that carry process fluids, tube supports, refractory, burners, casing and structural integrity. This article uses a horizontal-tube, up-fired, box-type, natural-draft heater with multiple…
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