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Heat Exchanger Challenges at Southeast Asian Refinery

Field engineers at an oil refinery in Indonesia were working to resolve issues with leaking heat exchangers. The heat exchangers serve a variety of crude oils and are subject to periodic high and low temperatures. 

Certain industries that utilize piping flange joint assemblies, such as petrochemical, dictate a low tolerance for leaks, or fugitive emissions. Areas subject to high temperatures and thermal cycling can cause stress to flange joints, causing the bolted connections to lose tension and leak fugitive emissions.
 

Solon's Solution for Leaking Heat Exchangers

The team approached Solon Manufacturing Co. about live loading Solon® Flange Washers, or Belleville springs with higher loads designed to be used in flange applications, onto the gasket in order to maintain sufficient bolt tension and resultant gasket stresses. 

Flange washers made of H-13 tool steel are an excellent spring material option for heat exchanger applications because they withstand high temperatures and are corrosion resistant. The risk of failure fatigue is negligible due to the change in stress during temperature cycles being relatively small. The maximum heating and cooling rate are unlimited as well, since the flange acts as a heat sink, there is no change in temperature that could damage the springs. 

Results

The field engineers live loaded the gaskets of 17 of the leaking heat exchangers that were in service with Solon® Flange Washers, which resolved the emissions leaks. 

Solon Flange Washer Advantages

  • Reduce fugitive emissions
  • Maintain bolt integrity
  • Made in the USA
  • Economical alternative to costly system enhancements
  • Low maintenance 
Try our Flange Leak Prevention Calculator -  a product selection web tool to design a live loading system for flange applications. 

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