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Preventing high-temperature superheater casing failures

Eliminating unnecessary downtime for critical process equipment is always at the forefront of any plant operator’s mind. While plant components such as converters, burners, pressure vessels, piping, and valves are obvious components to monitor and regularly inspect, other aspects of the plant can be easily overlooked. High temperature superheaters, boilers, and economizers and their external insulation is one key design feature that can easily go over-looked and unchecked. In recent years, we have seen problems arise with casing and stiffener cracks as well as stiffeners warping, all due to either improper insulation blanket installation or inadequate rain/water protection.

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Cylindrical Superheaters for High Temperature & High Pressure Service

The waste heat recovery systems on sulfuric acid plants designed with technology by MECS, Inc. (MECS) typically feature a superheater downstream of the converter first pass operating in high temperature, high pressure service. These superheaters, usually designated as Superheater 1A or 1B, are required to handle gas-side conditions around 1,150°F and 7+ psig (621°C and 0.49+ barg), which can induce high mechanical stresses in the outer casing that are challenging for the superheater to accommodate.

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