An International manufacturer and supplier of connectors for the oil industry came to Tempco looking for a way to heat and cool a 316 stainless steel vessel that houses a mix of water and hydrocarbons pressurized with an inert gas. They put their connectors in there and “age” them for a week as a qualifying test. The problem they had was that the vessel manufacturer limited the heating and cooling rate due to the vessel material being 316 stainless steel. 316 Stainless Steel is quite terrible at transferring heat. It can build up very high thermal stresses when the heating rate or cooling rate is excessive. The heating and cooling of the vessel was limited to 120° F/hour at the OD of the vessel.
The customer wanted to cool the vessel from 650° F down to 70° F. They knew they could achieve this with liquid cooling – however, when they initially set out to get liquid-cooled heaters, the target cooling rate was nearly 300°/hour. They questioned if a finned cast aluminum heater and an air-cooled shroud system would manage the lower rate that’s required. They also said, “Frankly, if we can avoid the headaches associated with a liquid cooling loop, the fluid, the heat exchanger, etc. – we are all for it.”
Tempco worked closely with the customer going over cooling calculations and exchanging information about the project. In the end Tempco concluded that a Cool-to-the-Touch air-cooled shroud system using finned cast aluminum heaters and a low CFM centrifugal blower would meet the required cooling rate set by the vessel manufacturer and in turn satisfied our customer’s needs. The entire system was delivered to the customer, from design to manufactured, in less than 5 weeks.