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Tower Scan

Base Line Scans Used to Monitor Polymer Build-up

The TRU-SCAN®/Tru-Grid™ Scan technology has, for over 60 years been used by major oil and chemical companies around the world. It has successfully identified operational limitations, internal damage and blockages in most types of distillation and absorption towers. It has also assisted in commissioning and pre-shutdown planning.

A recent example of this powerful “non-invasive” inspection tool was a project Tracerco undertook for a European operator.

The project shows why an increasing number of clients are requesting “base-line” scans on towers that have a history of operational problems.Monitor polymer build up

The client first contacted Tracerco in late 2000 when they suspected some form of blockage within a tower containing two beds of structured packing. At this time a single scan of both beds was performed and it indicated that both beds were indeed very heavily fouled. This was shown a significantly higher bed density than was expected from the original density of the bed (as indicated by the suppliers specification). The results of this scan, (pink trace) together with the new “base line scans are by clicking on the image right:

Knowing the extent of the problem the client shutdown and entered the tower, were both beds were found to be heavily fouled with polymer to an extent that complete replacements were required.

Section of the packing
Picture showing a section of the packing.

Whilst some process changes have been made to try and reduce the possibility of the problem returning the client requested “base line” scans of the tower. (black and red traces). Performed during normal operations these will now be used for comparison when further scans are undertaken. These will be performed every three months so any build up of polymer within the beds can be monitored.

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