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The Latest Advancements in Delayed Coke Drum Inspection: Robotic Crack Detection

with Rick Clark, CIA Inspection

Operating under severe conditions of cyclic heating and forced cooling, delayed coke drums distort and “bulge” in service. It is widely recognized that the ultimate failure mechanism for these vessels is weld cracking initiated, in or at close proximity to, the circumferential welds, and it is these “bulges” that are often associated with drum failure.

Since 1991, CIA has been operating the industry’s most comprehensive Laser Profiling and Remote Visual Inspection service used to locate, measure, and track & trend these vessel distortions. Over this time, CIA identified and registered hundreds of crack type indications throughout the global population of delayed coke drums however the technology at that time was unable to validate or quantify the nature of these indications “online” without shutting down production, constructing scaffolding, removing insulation and preparing the drum surface for further inspection; all very costly and timely actions. As part of it’s ongoing in-house research efforts, CIA embarked on a program to design, build and test a remotely deployed sensor which could identify, validate and quantify the length and depth of these crack type indications “online” in live coke drums without having to shut down the DCU process with the use of a customized NDE probe and robotic crawler.

This presentation will introduce the concept and highlight the benefit of this innovative inspection technique and describe how the latest advancements in coke drum inspection are being used around the globe to improve drum performance and operator safety.

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Posted by: The Refining Community

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