Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Steam test is almost similar to air test. Instead of injecting air, we injected steam into the vessels and pipelines. The reason we conduct steam test is to check for any leakages in the vessels and pipelines. However, unlike air test, steam test is easier to detect leak because steam will visibly shoot out from the leaking point when the pressure is already high (about 1.5 to 2 bars).
It is not necessary to maintain the steam pressure higher than 2 bars as it is already more than sufficient. Applying more steam will only be wasting time, energy and money. In addition to that, it will take longer time to release the steam after completing the process.
For our case, we did steam test at the beginning and at the end of the shutdown. Both were necessary (depending on the condition of the plant). We identified the leaking points and welded them from the earlier test. The final steam test was carried out to double check before plant start-up. Both steam tests have their own downside. The first one will delay cooling of vessels, because steam is hot. Therefore, upon opening the manhole, we have to allow at least 1/2 a day before entering the vessels. Another downside which applied for both earlier and later steam tests were the amount of water produced as condensate from the steam. During plant cleaning, existence of water is not really a problem. However, during plant start-up, water has to be fully drained before pumping oil into plant. Having a mixture of water and oil will create various problem including oil quality.
Air Test Before Plant Start-Up
Monday, February 26, 2007
The excruciating plant shutdown was finally over on Saturday. We started-up the plant on Saturday 2200 hrs. Hopefully everything will run silky smooth. We conducted both air and steam tests twice in two different sections in the plant. From the first air test (at the bleaching section), we hold the air pressure inside the vessels and pipelines at 1.5 bar (it took about 1 hour ++ to build the pressure up to 1.5 bar). The pressure dropped to 1.0 bar in 1.5 hours. This indicates that there were some leakages in the system and we need to search for it. Supervisors and plant operators hunted for the leaking points, equipped with alkaline solution to detect leaking air by spraying them on the vessels and pipelines. It's like finding a needle in a haystack, the leak could be anywhere on the pipe surface. After numerous sprays and long search for it, we acquired quite a number of tiny bubbles. Leak can simply be detected when bubble appeared from the leaking points. They were marked and maintenance fitters attended and welded them after we released the air.
Releasing air process does not take a short time. That's why we need to coordinate the shutdown properly and effectively. After detecting the leaking points, air was released from the vessels and pipelines. This took about 2 hours. After air pressure is lesser, maintenance fitters welded the leaking points. Upon completion and satisfied with the workmanship of the maintenance team, we repeated the air test, hold it at 1.2 bar. We targeted the previous leaking points, sprayed them and they were all ok except for one point beneath a retention vessel. We released the steam again, called the fitters and asked them to re-weld the point. Confident that the welding work is good, I instructed my supervisor to release the air. There goes another hour, waiting for the air to escape. At that point, bleaching section is ready for plant start-up.
I'll share about the steam test tomorrow.
Advanced Measurements, Control and Distributed I/O Monitoring
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Just informing, I'll be attending Advanced Measurements, Control and Distributed I/O Monitoring in the Oil, Gas and Energy Industry Seminar. The seminar is free and will be held in Sofitel Palm Resort, Senai, Malaysia this coming Wednesday organized by National Instrument. Get the details below.
28/02/2007 | 02:00 P.M. - 05:00 P.M.
Sofitel Palm Resort
Off Jalan Jumbo
Senai, Johor, MY 81250
Registration will ensure that you are allocated a seat as well as the necessary seminar hand-outs. In the event that there are changes to the seminar, we would also be able to inform you immediately.
Shutdown Day 5
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Time is running swiftly. We stopped the plant on Monday, and now Friday is over. In day #5, we had the JKKP (Department of Safety & Health - DOSH) inspector inspecting all our pressure vessels and high pressure boiler. Everything was smooth and working perfectly fine. Immediately after the JKKP inspector left, we boxed-up the vessels and high pressure boiler. We fixed back the Niagara filter leaf. We did some cleaning as well. Tomorrow, we are going to complete balance maintenance job. Later, we will carry on with steam and air test. Finally, we shall start up the plant. Hopefully we'll have a perfect start up.
Labels: Plant Shutdown
Friday, February 23, 2007
In a production plant, we need a very good process control equipment and system. We learned the theory in a Chemical Engineering subject called Process Control and Instrumentation. It was hard for me to imagine what process control and instrumentation is all about when I studied the subjects few years back.
When I start working in a plant, then everything becomes clear. One of the most important equipment is valve. There are various types of valve. We have butterfly valve, ball valve, gate valve, globe valve, check valve etc. Each type of valve have their own pros and cons as well as functional area. There are a lot of things to talked about valve. However, in this post, I'm going to cover just a little bit about butterfly valve.
The following photos illustrate a typical butterfly valve. It is a 3" Belgium Ventiel (BV) butterfly valve. This valve have created a very serious contamination and lost earlier because it leaks.
It was day 4 of the plant shutdown and it's nearly coming to an end. It was also a wet wet world in the plant. We have to do a lot of washing and cleaning. Tomorrow will be the JKKP inspection day and we have to ensure that the plant and pressure vessels are perfect and clean. Just now, we removed scrap metal, spent earth, damaged insulation and other waste / rubbish. Darkish and dirty floor with oil traces was mopped and cleaned. In general, I'm pleased with the work performed by my down line.
Labels: Plant Shutdown
Electrical Problems and Preventive Measures
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
To run a plant , electricity is one of the most important utilities besides water and natural gas. Electricity is required to run the motors, pumps, control panel, control system, lightings, cooling tower fans, etc. If electricity is suddenly cut-off due to what ever reasons, the plant will immediately be affected. Pump would not run and all valves must be immediately close to contained the oil. Vacuum system will fail and oil quality will be off-spec, hence the oil must be rejected to the crude storage tank. All factory or plants spend tremendous amount of electricity to run a plant besides using it for basic lighting, air conditioner, PC, server etc.
I am not very good in electrical subject but I have to know and learn few of the basic electrical stuff because it is required to run a plant. I learned about it from the charge man, electrical executives and supervisors. Here I list down some of the major electrical problems that normally would occur. At least it can give us some idea on what potential problem can occur from the electrical perspective.
Major Electrical Problems:
(B) Earth Leakage
(C) System failure due to lack of maintenance
Caused of over current:
(1) Excessive heat generated: additional equipment installed without upgrading panel board and cable.
(2) Motors / Equipment Failure
Motors that are not maintained properly require more power/current e.g. air conditioning system that is not serviced may demand more current.
1. Maintain the equipment to make sure current demand is at rated capacity.
2. Regular maintenance and cleaning - Visual checking and Infra-red temperature checking (annually)
Over-current protection & Prevention Equipment
(1) MCB (miniature circuit breaker) – for current <>
(2) MCCB (moulded case circuit breaker) – for current > 100 A (e.g. motors)
(3) ACB (Air circuit breaker) - > 400 A (main board)
(B) Earth Leakage
(1) All electrical equipment must be properly earthed
- To protect people from being electrocuted
(2) All leakages must be brought down to <>
(3) 3 types of earthing relay systems:
(i) EF (earth fault) relay (> 200A, high tension & LV system)
(ii) ELR (earth leakage) relay (<>
(iii) Earth leakage circuit breaker (<60a,>
(C) System failure due to lack of maintenance
(1) Tighten loose connections
(2) Regular calibrations of equipment
(3) Regular cleaning of equipment
Labels: Learning Curve
I received an email from Chemical Engineering magazine newsletter informing about the 2007 Chem Show Conference to be held in Javits Convention Center, New York from October 30 to November 1, 2007. The conference is calling for papers to be presented and published. The topic s to be covered are as shown below:
- Energy efficiency
- Process control and instrumentation
- Process-plant safety
- Green engineering
- Pumps, valves, other fluid-flow equipment
- Solid-liquid separations
- Water pollution control
- Air pollution control
- Process integration
- Process-plant water supply
How to submit a paper:
They invite abstracts (less than 200 words) for proposed, non-promotional, technical presentations on the above conference topics or related fields. Emphasis should be on modern proven technologies, application of best practices, improvement of return on investment.
Send by March 1, 2007 to: Nicholas P. Chopey at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax to (212) 621-4694.
Presentations to run for about 25 minutes, followed by 5 minutes for questions and discussion.Get further details from http://www.che.com/
Shutdown activity is going on which means a lot usage of water for cleaning purposes. In addition to that we have to conduct "Cleaning in Progress" (CIP) for the shell and tube heat exchanger. CIP is carried out to remove the scale and carbon deposited inside the shell and tube in order to improve the heat transfer. Unfortunately, suddenly the water supply was cut off without any notice. Worse than that, nobody realized the unavailability of the water supply for about 3 hours. Upon realizing it, we have to depend on our reserve water supply which is only about 1500 m3. The reserve water is normally saved for the utility boiler because steam is a necessity to run a plant. If steam is not produced with sufficient pressure, production will be affected and if too less, it will stop all plants.
All activity involving water have to be stopped. We have to save the water for the boiler. The plant shutdown cleaning activity was affected and delayed as well. Luckily, the water supplied was back a few hours later and we continued with our shutdown cleaning activities.
Pipeline and Gas Technology Magazine
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
As usual I have been receiving emails regarding a lots of thing related to chemical engineering. The following is the content of an email that I received from Pipeline and Gas Technology stating that they have a digital copy and you can have it.
To preview the current issue, click hereNow you can read PipeLine and Gas Technology the same day it's released - days or even weeks ahead of your colleagues.
The digital edition is an exact replica of the print magazine
Automatically includes all published supplements & special technical reports.
Plus, these great features and benefits:
- Single and multi-word searches
- Quick, 1-click zoom in and out functions for easier reading
- Table of contents with hyperlinks to specific articles, ads and features
- Thumbnails of all pages allow for easy navigation to your favorite sections
- Email staff, authors and advertisers while reading the issue
- Forward an article or advertisement to a colleague while reading an issue
- Easy access to past issue archives
And, there are NO restrictions on who can receive the PipeLine and Gas Technology digital edition.
So, sign up today! Be sure you note your digital delivery preference, and we'll activate/start your subscription with the next available issue.
Hart Energy Publishing
1616 S. Voss Road, Ste 1000, Houston, TX 77057
713.260.6442 (Customer Service) 713.840.1449 (Fax) email@example.com
To be removed from future solicitations, please REPLY, type REMOVE in the subject line and SEND.
I came home from work and it was already midnight. I like it this way because I can escape the heavy traffic jam. It was quite a hectic day at work especially when the shutdown just started. We have to do a lot of activities to stop the plant. I experienced and learned a lot of things and would like to share it with my loyal readers. The only thing is that, I cannot tell all of it in one shot. Due to time limitations, I will share them bit by bit.
We did the steam test to check and detect leakages in the vacuum pipe. This is because the vacuum system in the plant is poor. We build up the pressure to 1.8 bars and inspected the line. It’s easy to view some leakages because it is simply very obvious because steam came out from it. While we already settled with the number of leakages that we found earlier, we discovered a few more very tiny leakages that is impossible to see. They were extremely small and appeared like a crack. Very small droplet of water appeared out of the pipe after the steam test was set up to 1.8 bars. We marked the leaking points with some red colour spray. The maintenance fitters will possibly weld or clamp or replace the leaking point tomorrow.
I hope after all the discovered leaking pipe problems have been solved, the vacuum system will be improved and the plant will be in a better shape than before.
Labels: Plant Shutdown
Plant Shutdown Again
Monday, February 19, 2007
It's a public holiday in Malaysia now with people celebrating Chinese New Year. Everybody is gathering with their family or having a great vacation in various places. However, again I have another plant shutdown and therefore I could not enjoy my holiday. Of course, we had plant to go to Kuantan to visit my in laws, but that could not happen. Maybe next time.
For this shutdown, my working time will be slightly different. I'm going to work from 2 pm to 11pm. My senior colleague will be in charge in the morning until 5 pm. We have to properly monitor the shutdown work to ensure everything is OK. That's why we split our working time. The whole process will take 1 week to complete and I hope everything will run silky smooth.
My wife wrote something about my duty inside her blog.
Labels: Plant Shutdown
Oilcrops Market Network
Sunday, February 18, 2007
The Oilcrops Market Network (OMN) is administered by the Commodities and Trade Division of FAO. The purpose of this electronic service is to provide an informal forum for the discussion, among subscribers, of issues relevant to the national and international markets for oilcrops,
oils and fats and oilcakes and meals. Users are requested to enhance the scope of the service by supplying information on current market developments, including on technical and economic factors having an impact on production, consumption, trade, stocks and prices.
The network is open, free of charge, to all the persons or firms that want to subscribe. Registered users are invited to supply articles, publications and statistical reports on the oilcrops sector in their respective countries/regions. They are also encouraged to post questions
and answers on topics of interest related to oilcrops. Contributions are welcome in either English, French or Spanish. FAO will periodically contribute its market reports on oilcrops to this network and act as a moderator, receiving and forwarding participants' messages.
In summary, the two objectives of this new service are
a. the direct exchange of information on oilcrops markets between list members via the FAO mail server;
b. the circulation of FAO's reports dealing with current developments in the world market for oilcrops.
Please address your contributions to the List-address Oilcrops-L@mailserv.fao.org (please note that the List-address is different from the address you use to subscribe to the List). The
moderator will forward your messages to the whole participants list.
It would be appreciated if, once subscribed, you send an Email to the List-address providing the following information:
a.. your name
b.. company (name and type of business)
c.. postal address
d.. tel. / fax / Email
e.. main areas of interest
f.. type of information, which you can contribute to the Network
(e.g. statistics, market commentary, newspaper clippings, weather/production reports, policy papers, etc.):-
For further information regarding the OMN, please contact:
Commodity Specialist and
Secretary, Intergovernmental Group on Oilseeds, Oils and Fats
FAO, Commodities and Trade Division
Via Terme Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy
Phone: +3906 57053498
Fax: +3906 57054495
POC2007 is now Opened for Registration!
12 – 14 March 2007
KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIADear Colleague,
POC2007 is now opened for registration! Register today at the Early Bird rate of RM 1,699! We have an excellent programme lined up for you. You can expect an information-packed conference & exhibition and ample networking opportunities.
Registration for EXHIBITION spaces will be opened soon! However, you can book your space in advance. EARLY BIRD RATE is RM7,000.00 for space only. Kindly contact Phoebe (details as below) for more information.
Are your colleagues and friends interested in the POC2007?
Kindly forward/inform them about this advertisement.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
I have adopted some info from Nippon website regarding their ability to provide high quality paint to be used in plants (oil and gas, oil and fats and other sort of industries) to paint various equipments and parts.
Today, NIPPON PAINT is right out in the front line of this industry offering a unique range of high performance single and two component water-borne and solvent free protective coatings, safe and convenience, environmental friendly products yet bacteria resistance.
A wide and extensive range of proven NIPPON PAINT coating systems have been developed and are used for long term maintenance free coating protection of metallic, cementitious & timber substrate, in numerous landmark projects nationwide. The industries of which NIPPON PAINT protective coating have been used for long term maintenance free protective coatings are:
- Long term corrosion protection for structural steel for Oil & Gas refineries, petrochemical processing plants, pulp & paper mills, steel mills, fertiliser plants, power generation plants, processing & manufacturing plants, Bridges and Jetties.
- Internal and External protection of pipelines, storage tanks and vessels.
- Hygiene coating protection of processing plant and equipment throughout the food, drink, pharmaceutical, hospital, clinic and water treatment and supply industries.
- Corrosion protection of steel structures burried underground & underwater, sheet & pipepiles.
- High temperature coating for Chimney, flare stack, boiler, high heat pipings & ductworks.
- Industrial flooring protection, clean room coating, antistatic flooring system.
- Limited fire hazard performance coating protection of buildings, plant and equipments.
I use to think painting was simple and easy. But, when it comes to painting pumps, heat exchanger frame, walls, beam etc it opens a new chapter of knowledge inside me. Yesterday, we met with Nippon paint supplier. We learned something new about metal surface, epoxy, coating technology and others.
As I mentioned earlier in my previous post regarding 5S, we intend to improve the cleanliness and condition of our plant. We want the paint to last for about 2-3 years minimum. We don't want the paint to be nice for only a few months time before it faded and chipped of.
Initially, the supplier said that zinc chromate should be applied to prevent corrosion from progressing on the metal surface. It acts as a primer (which means the first layer to be appllied on the metal surface). Then, undercoat or finishing coat will be applied and this depends on how much cost we are willing to pay (either to have single coat or double coat). Having 2 layers of coating is better but the price is higher.
However, after considering the high temperature of pumps and heat exchanger frames and other tough environment factors in the plant, a primer layer of epoxy was suggested. Earlier, I heard that epoxy as a primer is the best to suit for tough environment, but technically I don't really know the chemistry detail behind it. A special coat (that will create stronger bond with the epoxy primer) will ensure that the quality of paint and its colour will last longer. Those combination will be slightly more expansive due to its quality.
We did get some advice on the correct painting technique and other relevant informations. Now, I'm waiting for the quotation of the primer and coating (paints).
Following is the correct painting technique from
Painting The Right Way
Now that you have chosen your ideal colours and type of finish, here are a few important tips to make your paint job came out with flying colours.
1. Prepare the Surface
- The most important stage. Ensure all surfaces are clean, dry and grease-free.
- Wash with water & liquid detergent.
- For heavy and stubborn stains, use turpentine and wash thoroughly.
- Fungus & mould: remove as above, followed by fungicidal wash or bleach.
2. Apply the Sealer or Primer
3. Apply the Undercoat
4. Apply the Finishing Coat
5. Be responsible to the environment
- Do not dispose of unwanted paint down drains.
- Allow paint to dry out in the container before dropping them into the rubbish bins.
Inviting Chemical Engineering World Contributor
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
My work as a process engineer and the travelling time to work and home really consumed a lot of my time. The only time to spent with my family or doing other activities (including posting in this blog) is at night (except during holiday which I rarely have). Actually, I have a lot of things in mind to share and post but unfortunately, again it's the time constraint.
At the same time, I think, it's better if some new and fresh content related to any "Chemical Engineering/Oil & Gas/Oil & Fats/Industry/Academia/Research" knowledge and experience is added in the post. It will definitely enriched other readers and followers of the blog. Something new can be learned and discovered from the post. I know some of the readers and colleagues of mine out there who can contribute and share their insights and experiences with the rest in this blog.
I happily and sincerely invite anybody (from any part of the world) interested to share their knowledge and experience to post in this blog. You can do that by sending me the post to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For this round, I am rewarding the first person who send in their post to me a small token of appreciation. I look forward to receiving some interesting Chemical Engineering related post.
Labels: Chemical Engineering
Actual Working Hours
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
For your information, my official working time is from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm with lunch break interval from 1.00 to 2.00 pm. But, I normaly go home between 6.00 - 7.00 pm and hopefully reach home within an hour or more.
Within this limited space of time, I will try and do as much work as I can. However, there are two activities that further minimize and reduce my working time. The first one is "meeting" and the second is "interacting with suppliers". Let me reveal today as an example...
Everyday (including today), I have a minimum of 2 meetings which are held from 9.30 - 10.00 am (Maintenance/Project Meeting) and 11.30 am -1.00 pm (Production/Coordination Meeting). Total time spent for those meetings = 2 hours. That's why sometimes when my wife called, I have to say: "I'm in a meeting, I'll call you back later, honey..."
Upon reaching 1.00 pm, I'll have a break. This is my free time where I'll spend it either for lunch or short nap or surfing for info in the internet. Today, I did some surfing.
After lunch break, a supplier supplying filter sock came and met me. We talked and discussed few things regarding the filter sock problem and solution. Frankly speaking, I don't really know about filter sock. Therefore, anything that came out from the suppliers mouth, I just absorb it.
Later, another supplier selling bleaching earth came and beg us to purchase the product from him. We have not been ordering his bleaching earth since last November and he claimed that his business is geting from bad to worse. We have our reasons for not ordering the bleaching earth.
Meeting those 2 suppliers already cost me another 2 hours where I resumed working at 4.00 pm hours. Let me just simplify the situation:
Total official working hour = 8 hours
Time spent for meeting = 2 hours
Time spent meeting with suppliers = 2 hours
Balance time to do other work (preparing report(s), scheduling, inventory, monitoring plant and oil quality, phone calls, communicating with downlines etc) = 4 hours
To tell you the truth, 4 hours are sincerely not enough to do or complete the jobs. That's why most of the time I have to go back late. But I don't want to go back very late because the rate of work productivity has decrease. And I leave 50 km from my work place.
Monday, February 12, 2007
I have my own plans and targets for my plant. I want to make the plant a better place to work. I want to improve the system and way of work. I want to beautify the 9 storey physical refining plant. I want all the pumps, heat exchangers, insulation, vessels, cable tray, etc to look nice and well maintained. I want the paint on walls to be fresh and free from dirt. I want the plant to be totally clean and shining. I want the forklift to be in excellent tip top condition with new paint. I want to see the cooling towers, bleaching earth store and spent earth area to be in superb condition. I'm working on all of that with the help of all the plant supervisors and operators. These are what we call 5S. See below for the definition and description of 5S (A Japanese Concept of Total Productive Maintenance). I hope to achieve them within the second quarter this year.
5S is a reference to five Japanese words that describe standardized cleanup:
- Seiri (整理): tidiness, organization. Refers to the practice of sorting through all the tools, materials, etc., in the work area and keeping only essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded. This leads to fewer hazards and less clutter to interfere with productive work.
- Seiton (整頓): orderliness. Focuses on the need for an orderly workplace. Tools, equipment, and materials must be systematically arranged for the easiest and most efficient access. There must be a place for everything, and everything must be in its place.
- Seiso (清掃): cleanliness. Indicates the need to keep the workplace clean as well as neat. Cleaning in Japanese companies is a daily activity. At the end of each shift, the work area is cleaned up and everything is restored to its place.
- Seiketsu (清潔): standards. Allows for control and consistency. Basic housekeeping standards apply everywhere in the facility. Everyone knows exactly what his or her responsibilities are. House keeping duties are part of regular work routines.
- Shitsuke (躾): sustaining discipline. Refers to maintaining standards and keeping the facility in safe and efficient order day after day, year after year.
Shell Exploration and Production Oil and Gas Job
Friday, February 09, 2007
If you or your friends (in Malaysia) are interested to venture and experience the challenge of the oil and gas industry, there is an opportunity for you. I hope it's not too late for you. I know this info came a little bit late and some people from KL perhaps have miss the Shell Exploration and Production Open Day (interview). But I hope some of you might want to give it a shot. I had some piece of the oil and gas experience before. I'm glad I had tasted travelling on a helicopter and spending nights on several oil and gas drilling platform. Well, my time is over. I have my own family and kids and I want to be around them. That's why I switched job to always be with my family. What about you? Kuala Lumpur / 8 February 2007 / Crowne Plaza Hotel @ 5pm Kuantan / 9 February 2007 / Hyatt Kuantan @ 5pm What we look for: Qualification Bachelor?s or Master?s Degree in any related Engineering or Science field Discipline Instrument Engineering / Structural Engineering / Electrical Engineering / Process Engineering / Mechanical Engineering / Subsea Engineering / Reservoir Engineering / Drilling & Well Engineering / Geology & Geophysics / Offshore Construction / Production Engineering / Petrophysics / Project Engineering / Environmental Engineering and any other discipline that may be relevant. Experience We are recruiting high calibre professionals with over five years of working experience in the disciplines highlighted above. For further information and to register, please call A&R at +603 2084 3463.
Here are some details about the job:
Kuala Lumpur / 8 February 2007 / Crowne Plaza Hotel @ 5pm
Kuantan / 9 February 2007 / Hyatt Kuantan @ 5pm
What we look for:
Bachelor?s or Master?s Degree in any related Engineering or Science field
Instrument Engineering / Structural Engineering / Electrical Engineering / Process Engineering / Mechanical Engineering / Subsea Engineering / Reservoir Engineering / Drilling & Well Engineering / Geology & Geophysics / Offshore Construction / Production Engineering / Petrophysics / Project Engineering / Environmental Engineering and any other discipline that may be relevant.
We are recruiting high calibre professionals with over five years of working experience in the disciplines highlighted above.
For further information and to register, please call A&R at +603 2084 3463.
For you guys who are interested in Oil and Gas field or want to learn more about it, check out the Middle East Oil & Gas Show & Conference 2007 (MEOS 2007). It's going to be held this March in Bahrin International Exhibition Centre. I would like to go but I can't go...No budget...Visitors can enter Free of Charge...just bring your body there....
Don't forget the date: 11-14 March 2007
Check out the MEOS 2007 Site HERE
Check out the MEOS 2007 Exhibitors HERE
Incase you want to attend and register, click HERE
Checking the Valves
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Before facing the shutdown in 11 days time, I toured my plant another round, just to check all the valves and other parts that need to be replaced. I went from one pump to another pump. There are a lot of pumps. They don't look good. Ugly black dirty oils covered them. I checked the suction and discharge ball valves. Some of the suction valve are 6" and 8" valve and the discharge valve are 4". Well, the sizes of big valves are easier to detect or decide. There's no big problem for me identifying them now. However, that was not the case when I joint the company earlier. It took me some time to get familiar with all types of valves and their brand.
Then I went from one heat exchanger to another heat exchanger. I checked out the drain valves. It's harder for me to estimate the sizes of those drain valves and deciding the brand. There are commonly small varying from 1/2" to 2". In between those sizes, there are also 1.75" 1", 1.5" and others. Deciding the correct size and brand is vital to order and purchase the repair kits/seats. Ordering the wrong spare parts will just be a total waste of money and time and the chance to replace the valve seats which can only be done during plant shutdown.
The darkish, oil layer covering the valves at the pumps and heat exchangers are something that must be improved. It should not be left dirty and uncomfortable for eyes. It should be cleaned and well maintained. I want the valves to be clean and shining like a new piece of metal. Well, We are working on that as well. I'm developing a 5S system (a Japanese Concept of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)) for maintaining the plant to be a clean healty place and pleasant working environment.
Plant Process & Oil Lost
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
While processing crude coconut oil to RBDCNO early February recently, there was some problem. The problem which was not realized by me is that the temperature control was slightly too high. Normally we should control the deodorization temperature between 240 - 245oC. However, the temperature when beyond that, about 246-249oC. As a result, in the pack column, where we are supposed to strip coconut fatty acid distillate (CFAD) via vacuum, some of the refined and bleached coconut oil escape together with the CFAD. Later, we realized that our CFAD tonnage is twice higher than what is normally achieved. That is not supposed to happen, but it does reflect that we are losing some of the refined bleached deodorized coconut oil (RBDCNO).
The price of RBDCNO is far expansive than CFAD. Assuming we lost 20 tonnes of RBDCNO which flows and mixed together with CFAD, and assuming the cost difference between RBDCNO and CFAD is about RM1500/MT; therefore 20 tonnes x RM1500/MT = RM20,000.00 lost worth of RBDCNO. Sadly speaking, that happen just because the temperature control was not within the designated range. Coconut oil easily break off at temperature's more than 246oC, unlike palm oil which can withstand temperature up to 270oC.
Morale of the story, some guidance or working instruction was prepared to be followed. During work/plant operation, we should follow the designated process parameters so that we can achieve our target quality and production.
Learn more about coconut oil here
Learn how coconut oil is produced
Checking Valve Repair Kit
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The shutdown is just nearby the corner. Early in the morning, I went to the store to check on some ball valve repair kit for the shutdown maintenance job. The repair kit is mostly the internal part of the valve that can be replaced. The valve seat need to be replaced because simple reasons like it has already worn out which resulted to leakage and also because of other reasons like the parts are jammed etc. Many other reason may lead to the valve seat replacement.
In my plant, most of the valve brand used are Worcester and Valtac. Therefore, I checked most of the Worcester and Valtac repair kits which varies from 3/4" to 6". The valve repair kit is also not a cheap stuff. They are damn expansive especially the black seat type which can withstand high temperature. The oil flowing inside my plant may reach up to a maximum of 270oC. That's why we need a quality repair kit that can withstand great temperature and pressure.
Education for Chemical Engineers
Monday, February 05, 2007
I received an email from Mr Stalker of IChemE regarding continuous education for chemical engineers. IChemE is now offering a very great tool to ensure excellent quality if Education for Chemical Engineers (ECE). I have not personally tried it yet, but perhaps considering. However, those chemical engineers educators in universities around the world can use their budget or grant for this valuable input.
I include all the neccesary details if incase anybody is interested with the IChemE education program.
Education for Chemical Engineers
Education for Chemical Engineers (ECE), is the new online journal, published by the Institution of Chemical Engineers, designed specifically for the academic chemical engineering community.
Subscribe to ECE in 2007 for only £150.00 + VAT.
ECE contains education research papers, resource reviews and teaching and learning notes and aims to be the primary journal for chemical, biomolecular and process engineering education.
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Heat Exchangers: Introduction and Basic Concepts
Saturday, February 03, 2007
A heat exchanger does exactly that -- exchanges heat between two streams, heating one and cooling the other. Levenspiel (1998) divides heat exchangers into three groups:
1. direct contact exchangers
Direct contact exchangers are self-explanatory. The hot and cold streams are brought into direct contact (mixed) and heat is transfered. These are particularly common when one stream is solid or entrained with a solid (air dryers, etc.) or for vapor-liquid sstems where only the liquid product is of value (spray dryers, cooling towers, etc.). Use of liquid-liquid systems is limited to immiscible pairs.
A regenerating exchanger transfers heat in steps: first from the hot fluid to a storage medium and subsequently from the storage medium to the cold fluid. A sand tank or rotary slab may be used as the storage phase.
In this class, we will primarily work with recuperating exchangers, since they are probably of the most industrial interest. In this arrangement, the hot and cold fluids are separated by a wall and heat is transferred by conduction through the wall. This class includes double pipe (hairpin), shell and tube, and compact (plate and frame, etc.) exchangers.
- cocurrent (a.k.a. parallel)
- crossflow (crosscurrent)
If there is no phase change, the temperature of a fluid in a heat exchanger will vary with position, so mean values are typically used. The bulk temperature is a "mixing cup" average and is used extensively.
When vapor is condensing (or liquid boiling), the temperature can generally be taken to be uniform throughout that region of the exchanger, since normal operation is usually at constant pressure. The big exception is in variable area exchangers where the heat transfer surface is covered and uncovered as the liquid phase rises and falls. Another example might be a surface condenser with a subcooling well.
The temperature approach or approach difference is the difference between the two entering or two exiting streams. Note that these may be very different, depending on the flow pattern. Often, design criteria will specify a minimum approach (for instance, 10 degrees).
Heat transfer is much better in turbulent flow than in laminar, so it is common to specify minimum fluid velocities. Brodkey and Hershey (1988, p. 532) suggest a minimum of 3 m/sec.
Most exchangers transfer heat radially in a cylindrical geometry, hence the cross-sectional heat transfer area varies logrithmically with radius.
Heat Exchanger Design
Process design of a heat exchanger comes down to three main questions:
What is the required heat load (heat duty)?
What configuration (double pipe, shell and tube) will be used?
What is the overall heat transfer coefficient?
Once these are determined, the designer can determine the required heat transfer area.
Brodkey, R.S. and H.C. Hershey, Transport Phenomena: A Unified Approach, McGraw-Hill, 1988, pp. 532.
Levenspiel, O., Engineering Flow and Heat Exchange, Revised Edition, Plenum Press, 1998, pp. 173-74, 243-47.
McCabe, W.L., J.C. Smith, and P. Harriott, Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering (5th Edition), McGraw-Hill, 1993, pp. 309-11.
McCabe, W.L., J.C. Smith, and P. Harriott, Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering (6th Edition), McGraw-Hill, 2001, pp. 315-17.
Adopted from: http://www.cbu.edu/~rprice/lectures/hxbasics.html
If you're a in the oils and fats industry and are working in a refinery, there'll be a dirty cooling tower. The condition of this dirty cooling tower is not very pleasant. The water is already mixed with fatty acid and some trace of oil. You need to be extra cautious when dealing with this type of cooling tower. One thing that you must avoid the most is welding. DO NOT WELD anything nearby the dirty cooling tower. This is very dangerous and hazardous. The fatty acid and oil that is contained inside the cooling tower water is very flamable and can caught fire easily. So, warn your people/technician/fitter > Never deal with any type of fire/spark nearby the dirty cooling tower.
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