A company in the petroleum industry came to Tempco requesting a complete engineered solution to heat two large, custom, u-shaped pipe pressure vessels. The vessels are used to heat an oil/water mixture to a specific temperature and pressure, and to hold both values for at least two hours.
The challenges of this design included:
- The overall size and non-uniformity of the pipe shape and diameter - the pipes were approximately eight feet in diameter, five feet tall and needed full coverage of heaters.
- The system was to operate in an open-air environment and needed reliable functionality in a variety of conditions.
- The customer needed a specific temperature ramp rate for both systems.
To meet all of these requirements it was determined that custom cast aluminum and bronze heaters were best suited for this application. To improve project efficiency the pipes were sent to Tempco for inspection throughout the design and casting process and remained with us for final assembly. Tempco’s on-site pattern shop ensured that we could manufacture the custom heaters with proper fit as quickly as possible.
For reliable function in a variety of weather conditions the heater system needed to be robust, moisture resistant and insulated. Tempco supplied custom insulation blankets with the castings to achieve efficient use of the heaters year round.
In order to determine the casting rating needed to achieve the desired ramp rate, we used a combination of theoretical calculation and historical test data. The system was also outfitted with thermocouple holes to allow the customer to monitor the temperature of the castings and the pipe throughout the process.
The total engineering time for this project was completed in three weeks. Production of the castings was completed in twelve weeks. The engineering team continued to work diligently through all of the manufacturing steps to ensure that the heaters would fit the needs of the customer.