- Provided consulting support to clients regarding the assessment of
Acoustically Induced Vibration (AIV) in high capacity, pressure
reducing piping systems. In one case, this involved reviewing
work done by others and identifying serious errors that were made.
Another case involved revising the engineering guideline standard that
a client had been using to simplify it and provide additional details.
- Provided conceptual mechanical sketches for two coke transfer
lines between major pressure vessels that are part of a high
temperature process being developed by a third party. Work
included specification of refractory versus bare wall design,
preliminary specification of insulation requirements, pipe thickness
and metallurgy, connections types, and overall assessment of
mechanical feasibility of the design.
- Mechanical and materials engineering review was made of inspection
data of a pipeline feeding crude oil to a refinery. The line had
experienced significant internal and external corrosion in
aboveground, underground, and submarine portions of the line.
Various pipeline repair alternatives were provided, the most likely
corrosion mechanisms were identified, and recommendations made for
mitigation of the corrosion.
- As part of consulting support being provided for a major refinery
expansion project, mechanical engineering design audits were made of
the technical specifications prepared by others for long-lead time and
critical pressure vessels (e.g., heavy wall reactors, FCCU vessels,
etc.). Recommendations were made to revise these specifications to
improve the long-term reliability of the vessels.
- As part of the Owner’s Project Management team, reviewed and
commented on the detailed piping drawings prepared by the contractor
for a major offshore project being engineered in Korea. This work was
done in the contractor’s office over an approximate six week period.
- Completed Fitness-for-Service assessments of two towers at a
European refinery. Also provided recommendations for inspection plans
and inspection intervals. Determined that these 40 year old towers
were good for continued, reliable service well into the future.
- Completed multiple pressure vessel, storage tank, and piping
- Continued providing onsite and remote mechanical engineering
assistance for a European client in their project to review the
condition of their offsite piping systems and make any necessary
modifications. Work includes performing RBI assessments in order to
identify and then prioritize systems that should be addressed.
- Continued to provide a US refiner full-time mechanical engineering
assistance in performing Finite Element Analyses and general technical
- Continued to provide mechanical and materials engineering services
for a US chemicals client.
- Continued to provide mechanical engineering support for a European
- Developed a bracing system design for a Fluid Coker Elutriator
piping system in order to reduce its vibration. Excessive vibration
was identified by the refiner as being the cause of a branch
connection failure that occurred.
- Developed a new design for inter-mediate tube supports for a CO
Boiler that experienced significant failures during a short period of
operation. The new design included a material change that incorporated
foundry casting recommendations, changes to mechanical design and
installa-tion details, and improved inspection requirements. A
supplementary support arrange-ment was also recommended as an
alternative to having to replace multiple existing tube supports.
- Evaluated the cause of a Fluid Coker Reactor dipleg brace failure,
and whether it was appropriate to prematurely shut the unit down for
repair. It was concluded that the failure was probably caused by a
short-term temperature excursion, the probability of incurring an
emergency shut down of the unit before the next scheduled turnaround
was low, and that taking an unplanned shutdown to repair the brace was
not economically justified. It was also recommended that an improved
dipleg bracing arrangement be designed and fabricated so that it is
ready to install at the next opportunity.
- Fitness for Service (FFS) evaluations were concluded for several
pressure vessels and one crude preheat furnace for (a) a major
chemical plant in the US and (b) a key refiner in Europe. An FFS
course is now planned for the European client in Spring of 2008 when
the actual FFS work done will be utilized as one of several case
- Mechanical and materials engineering evaluation done of reactor
internal baffle failure that damaged both the baffle and internal
mixer blades. Concluded that attachment welds between the baffle
support and reactor shell were inadequate for the imposed liquid loads
generated by the mixer rotation.
- Mechanical engineering design audits were made of piping systems,
pressure vessels, heat exchangers, and packaged equipment being
supplied for onshore and offshore facilities for “upstream” projects.
Considerable effort was made to help ensure that the contractors were
using appropriate procedures to correct potential acoustically induced
piping vibration issues that were identified.
- Mechanical Engineering design audits were made of the technical
specifications prepared by others for new delayed coker drums. One
case was for a new grassroots unit, and the other was for replacement
drums in an existing unit. In both cases, numerous recommendations
were made to modify the specifications to improve the overall
in-service mechanical reliability of the drums.
- Onsite and offsite mechanical engineering consulting support was
provided during a major, refinery-wide turnaround. Some of this
support was as follow-up to piping system and pressure vessel
recommendations and analysis work that had been done before the T/A,
whereas the rest to address the typical piping and pressure vessel
issue that arise during a T/A, especially when large capacity,
fluid-solids type units are involved.
- Onsite mechanical engineering assistance provided to evaluate the
cause of through-wall cracks that occurred in the shell of a delayed
coking unit drum, causing a shut down. It was concluded that the
cracks were caused by high, localized thermal stresses in the shell
and initiated at pre-existing cracks that were not located/repaired
during a prior turnaround. Crack repair recommendations were provided.
Improvements to the process operating conditions and procedures were
also recommended that would reduce the localized cyclic thermal
gradients and resulting stresses.
- Onsite mechanical engineering consulting support provided during
an FCCU turnaround. Equipment inspections were made with a view to
evaluating the engineering aspects of equipment performance and
identifying repair or replace options. Recommendations were made to
address recurring maintenance items in order to improve overall unit
- Performed risk-based assessment of a reformer unit feed effluent
exchanger to determine if its inspection interval could be increased.
Based on mechanical, materials, and safety engineering evaluations,
concluded that the exchanger’s inspection interval may be increased
such that it did not need to be opened during an upcoming turnaround,
thus saving both time and expense.
- Provided continuing mechanical engineering support for a major
international oil company.
- Provided mechanical and civil engineering design review of design
details for a new crude oil storage tank being installed at a refinery
in the Far East. Identified numerous areas of the tank and foundation
designs that did not meet specification and required changes.
- Provided mechanical and refractory consulting assistance to a US
client in reviewing hot spots on a FCC external riser line.
- Provided mechanical engineering assistance in the evaluation and
repair of cracks that occurred in a large diameter, stainless steel
piping system at a Canadian oil sands facility. A temporary welded lap
band design was provided and ultimately installed, which minimized the
length of costly unit downtime.
- Provided mechanical engineering assistance to an EPC company
during their detailed engineering related to a major revamp of a
refinery fluid coker unit.
- Provided mechanical engineering Cold Eyes Review of a refinery’s
upcoming operating plan for their delayed coker unit. This review was
prompted due to reliability issues that the drums have had in the
past. Drum repair, operating, and design recommendations were provided
with the goal of improving the future reliability of the existing
drums, and to consider for possible replacement drums later.
- Provided mechanical engineering support as part of a HAZOP
- Provided mechanical engineering support to a South American
refiner. This work involves performing mechanical and thermal stress
analyses of the support skirt for the drums on a delayed coker unit,
and developing the mechanical design details for replacement skirts
that have slotted openings to reduce local thermal stresses.
- Provided Mechanical Engineering support, including finite element
analysis, pressure vessel, piping and tankage design review/analysis,
to supplement the staff of a major engineering organization.
- Provided limited process, operating guides, mechanical and
metallurgical study assistance to a contractor assessing suitability
of moth-balled pipeline crude unit equipment for reuse overseas.
- Provided Mechanical Engineering Quality Control support for a US
client on their Sulfur Recovery Unit and Hydrotreater Unit capital
projects. Also providing similar Machinery Engineering Quality Control
support for a European client on their refinery upgrading project.
This support involves reviewing the contractor’s and equipment
suppliers’ work to help ensure that they meet the specified project
- Provided process and mechanical technical support to refiner and
contractor for selected FCC regenerator internals, J‑bends, and
standpipes in detail design phase.
- Reviewed and provided comments regarding new internals for major
FCCU vessel at a refinery in Europe.
- Reviewed design and operating information associated with the
fatigue failure of a small diameter connection located in a marketing
terminal with the objective of determining its root cause. While other
factors may have contributed to the failure, it was most likely caused
by vibration. Recommendations were made to improve the mechanical
integrity of this and other similar small diameter connections located
at that site and other terminals.
- Reviewed design of existing FCCU regenerator air distribution grid
that had experienced multiple failures and cracking of the support
skirt and grid itself over the years. After performing Finite Element
Analyses, design changes were recommended for a planned replacement
grid that would improve its mechanical integrity. These included
improved attachment details to minimize stress concentrations, welding
electrode recommendations, installation of grid metal thermocouples,
and a modified grid hole blanking pattern.
- Reviewed typical mechanical design details and repairs being used
for external floating roof storage tanks installed at a refinery in
Europe. Found that these generally meet current industry requirements,
with improvements recommended for specific items.
- Started mechanical engineering design audit activity of critical
piping systems for a grass roots FCCU and Hydrocracker project for a
client in the Far East. The work is focused primarily on the main,
refractory-lined systems in the FCCU, and the critical high
pressure/temperature lines in the Hydrocracker. An engineer from the
prime contractor is resident in Carmagen’s office for an extended
period during this work.
- Technical support being provided to a major European refiner in
reviewing their offsites piping systems and storage tanks. Objectives
include comparing their current design, installation, inspection, and
maintenance practices to those used by “Best in Class” facilities and
provide recommendations for possible improvements.
- Carried out a structural review of the support structure and
hold-down system for several LPG spheres.
- Continued to support a client’s request to witness shop tests on a
number of rotating equipment components for several domestic
- Performed a number of equipment-layout oriented consulting
services for refiners in the USA, Europe, and Far East.
- Provided specialized equipment layout consulting for a large,
grassroots facility in the Middle East.
- Provided process and mechanical engineering support for a
licensor’s process development/design effort for commercialization of
an overseas demonstration plant for new LPG Dehydrogenation
- Provided conceptual mechanical sketches for two coke transfer
lines between major pressure vessels that are part of a high
temperature process being developed by a third party. Work included
specification of refractory versus bare wall design, preliminary
specification of insulation requirements, pipe thickness and
metallurgy, connection types, and overall assessment of mechanical
feasibility of the design.