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TRACERCO Diagnostics™ - Distribution Study

Technique Identifies Design Flaw

An experienced team of Tracerco technologists recently carried out a large number of helium leak test studies on various heat exchangers on a customer's site, a major fine chemicals manufacturer. The team of technologists used the TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Helium Leak Study, which in this case was used in an offline capacity due to the extra sensitivity required from the test and the confidence it provided the customer.

Various types of heat exchangers were tested (spiral, shell & tube, plate) during the study and the results were made available immediately.

Helium Leak Study

The TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Helium Leak Study was carried out as follows:

  • A gross leak test using nitrogen is carried out first to identify major leak sources
  • After these major leaks are corrected, helium is then placed in the environment on the high pressure side of the vessel;
  • The vessel is allowed to "Soak" for a period of time OR a vacuum is pulled on the low pressure side of the vessel;
  • The gas present in the low pressure side is continuously sampled and analysed for helium using a specially designed mass spectrometer.
  • The concentration of the helium indicates the size of the leak.

A total of ten heat exchangers were tested over a one week period in which Tracerco provided a 24 hours a day, seven days a week cover for the turnaround.

The results of the TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Helium Leak Study confirmed that a number of exchangers had small leaks within them and these were repaired and then re-tested, thus ensuring the plant was operating safely and at optimised performance.

The benefits of the TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Helium Leak Study are as follows:

  • The results from the studies are available immediately on site thereby reducing the vessel and plant downtime;
  • The tests can be carried out quickly (using the vacuum test) thereby reducing the plant downtime;
  • The tests are highly accurate, providing a high level of confidence;
  • The tests can be carried out on a hot vessel, thereby reducing the cool time and hence downtime;
  • Tracerco can provide cover 24 hours per day, seven days per week to optimise turnaround time.

If you would like to know more about our helium leak testing technology, please feel free to contact us.

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