Thermocouples installed on a furnace’s tubeskin measure the metal temperature of just those specific locations. Because fired heaters can run more safely and efficiently when operators have a complete spatial profile of tubeskin temperatures, WIKA has come up with the IR++ service: infrared scanning supplemented by in-depth data analysis and custom advisory.
Fired heaters are the workhorses of the downstream oil & gas and chemical/petrochemical industries, and a typical heater comprises hundreds of tubes. As hydrocarbons pass through these tubes, flames and hot gases inside the furnace transfer their thermal energy through the tube wall – heating, evaporating, and otherwise reacting with the process fluid in order to transform (reform) it into more usable products.
The Importance of Monitoring Tubeskin Temperatures
Furnace tubes are designed to withstand very high temperatures, but there is a metallurgical limit. Beyond that point, the tube’s structural integrity and lifespan begin to suffer. This greatly increases the chance of a tube failure, which would result in a catastrophic event as combustible hydrocarbons surge from the breached tube and into the flammable environment.
Continuous tube wall temperature (TWT) monitoring using surface thermocouples is a reliable way to ensure that the tubes’ temperature does not exceed their metallurgical limit. In other words, TWT monitoring allows operators to run heaters as close as possible to the tubes’ temperature limit, thereby maximizing capacity and process temperature without comprising tube integrity.
IR Scanning Complements Tubeskin Thermocouples
With hundreds of tubes in a typical heater, it is not economically feasible to install that many tubeskin thermocouples (TSTCs) for monitoring purposes. That leaves large surface areas without coverage.
Because furnace operators need comprehensive information on tube wall temperatures, WIKA USA offers IR++, an innovative service that combines infrared scans with in-depth data analysis and custom advisory. IR scanning is a tried-and-tested technology for supplementing the monitoring of critical fired heaters. WIKA goes several steps beyond by adding additional value with the following:
- Collection of onsite furnace operating data
- Data assessment using advanced IR image analysis software and other diagnostic tools
- Review of preliminary findings with site personnel
- Full performance report with observations and opportunities for improvement
- optional: guidance on the optimal number and placement of TSTCs
- Technical support as site personnel implement the recommendations
Our engineers and product specialists have decades of industrial experience and expertise in IR scanning and temperature measurement technologies. They will come to your site to collect the relevant data, analyze them, and then make recommendations for optimizing the performance of your critical heaters.
WIKA USA, Your Trusted Partner for Furnace Monitoring
The more you know about your fired heater, the better you can make data-backed decisions that boost its performance, meet production targets, and improve safety. Contact the experts at WIKA USA for more information on how IR++ can help you get the most out of your critical furnaces.