Hydrogen generation units in refineries, fertilizer and chemical industries are critical equipment for further row material processing. The hydrogen is manufactured in tubular reactors – referred as catalytic tubes or main tubes or reformer tubes.
The proper functioning of these units is vital to achieving continuous production. Unscheduled breakdown of these units can bring down the plant to complete halt with a high degree of temperature swings in many associated units. And thus it cannot be taken for longer shutdown or slowdowns. Also, the longer unscheduled inspection turns into a costly business affair. ARTiS™ (Automated Reformer Tube inspection System), developed indigenously by TCR Advanced provides a unique solution to precisely predict the remaining life of individual tubes and set the frequency of inspection monitoring.
ARTiS™ is a robotic crawler that deploys multiple techniques of inspection including Ultrasonic flaw detection for creep fissures and creep strain measurements. The scanning is completed in a very short duration on entire length of the tube.
Some of the key features of ARTiS™ system of TCR is:
- ARTiS™ avoids the need for scaffolding and saves inspection time, achieving reduced shutdown of the plant.
- While scanning, to the full height of the tube, it provides ultrasonic attenuation, the diameter of the tube and bowing at a predetermined interval of distance.
- Tabular and digital output on creep strain and attenuation levels along the length of the tube.
- Precise assessment of the remaining life of each tube based on the metallurgical condition as well as proven quantitative methods (API 530 & API 579-1/ASME FFS-1). This helps in better future turnaround management as well as tube replacement scheduling.
- Graphical illustration of the tube condition in a reformer, from which one can illustrate the condition of tubes near and away from the burner location. And thus adjustment can be done such that unwanted snag or hick-ups can be avoided.
- Automation deploys limited water source for coupling and nearly eliminates the need for overhead water drum arrangement, which overcomes additional issues related to drum filling, vacuum water clogging, etc.
TCR has successfully completed more than 50000 tubes scanning for various industries, helping them achieve the critical inspection of reformer in cost-effective manner.