Flange Management Success

James Walker was for selected for the 3rd time to provide flange management services on one of the largest turnaround events at one of Europe’s largest refineries. The order was received by James Walker Benelux and the project has now been successfully completed.

The project saw around 3,500 contractors on-site to work on several process units and the goal from the customer was clear: not only a leak free start-up, but 100% leak-tightness until the next planned turnaround which is due in 2021.

Preparation for the latest turnaround by the James Walker Flange Management Solution project team with Eric van Leijden and Ed Versluis started more than a year in advance. A number of hot gas piping flange connections on the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit operate at an extremely high temperature of +700°C. These extreme temperatures led to a reduction of material properties in all flange components resulting in too high a percentage of flange leaks on the hot gas piping system.

The existing flange designs were closely analysed with EN1591-1 calculations and some finite element analysis (FEA). It turned out that on some flange connections modifications were required and the recommended James Walker flange modifications were 100% technically approved by the client’s engineering team in advance of the turnaround. These modifications also led to the selection and supply of high temperature gaskets and RotaBolt tension control fasteners and on some bolted joints the use of bolt collars.

In addition to the modifications carried out on these critical flanges, the James Walker scope of bad performing (bad-actors) flange connections was further increased with a number of heat exchange and transfer line flange connections.

Ed Versluis (James Walker FMS/RotaBolt) and Peter van Es (James Walker Benelux) followed and supervised the activities of the mechanical contractors on all critical flange connections, in order to make sure the target of 100% leak free performance of joints on the critical flange register. At the end of the project came the ‘moment of truth’…  all units did start up without any leakage on any of the flanges that were in the scope that had been handed over to James Walker.

14 May 2018

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