Monitoring the mechanical integrity of heat exchangers



Monitoring the mechanical integrity (MI) of offshore oil and gas facilities is important. It enables early fault detection of emerging failure conditions and allows more time for planning and preparing remedial actions, which reduces revenue losses resulting from unnecessary and poorly coordinated maintenance actions. Static equipment, such as heat exchangers, constitutes crucial parts of offshore processing facilities. Heat exchangers are challenging to maintain, especially in ageing facilities, and major maintenance problems are the result of (a) poor designs, (b) poor utilization of process information, (c) poor interpretation of results, and (d) poor development and management of high-quality maintenance and MI programs. This article addresses the most important technological, human and organizational challenges concerning monitoring of MI of shell and tube heat exchangers, and discusses recommendations for future improvements. A good MI program benefits the operation and maintenance of heat exchangers, and will lead to improved safety and reduced costs. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2011