2024 Gavrilovic-Wohlmuther WALLMON and MONITUBE cutting-edge solution for in-service monitoring of heat exchanger tube wall thickness change

This paper showcases two distinct, patented sensing systems, based on ultrasound and fibre-optic technology developed by Christof Group SBN. The sensors are purposefully crafted to enable uninterrupted, on-site tracking of alterations in the thickness of individual heat exchanger tube walls amidst high-pressure and high-temperature conditions, ensuring ongoing monitoring across time. The overall concept includes in both cases all necessary components, such as sensing unit itself, as well as measurement electronics and embedded software for signal processing. The remote monitoring and diagnostics service enables real-time data acquisition and comparison, whether conducted directly on-
site, or accessed remotely through an intranet or internet connection. Both sensor technologies enable detection of real-time changes in wall thickness, with proven accuracy of minimum 0.05 mm. This innovation is intended for any metallic tubes operating under high-pressure and high-temperature but it holds particular relevance for HP Strippers as the most critical equipment in the urea process, where gradual change in the heat exchanger tube wall thickness is the most pronounced and therefore most problematic. The proposed sensor technologies provide real-time data, facilitating a shift from scheduled, preventive maintenance of a plant to a more adaptive, condition-based strategy. Consequently, decisions regarding costly and time-consuming plant shutdowns can be driven by actual
data instead of relying on time-based estimates.
This paper was presented at the 2024 CRU Nitrogen & Syngas Conference in Gothenburg.

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