Operators of industrial plants — whether chemical-processing, oil-and-gas or pulp-and-paper operations — face tough choices when it comes to repairing or replacing heat exchangers. Engineering departments must cope with ever-increasing production demands that push the limits of aging but critical equipment. At the same time, they are tasked with finding ways to improve operating efficiencies and reduce costs.
At times, lack of capital eliminates or delays the option of replacement. In those cases, plant personnel may be challenged with heat exchanger problems that cause unplanned downtime or demand escalating maintenance. Furthermore, issues such as fouling, fogging and corrosion can contribute to poor heat transfer, disrupt normal operations and often delay production schedules. If these and other challenges become so severe that the only viable option is replacement, engineers still must overcome other restrictions. Limited floor space, poor access for equipment installation and tight department budgets further constrain the number of viable solutions available.