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12/16/2017 Basic Considerations for Equipment and Piping Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Piping – What is Piping

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Basic Considerations for Equipment and


Piping Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger
Piping
 August 2, 2017      3 Comments (http://www.whatispiping.com/piping-layout-air-
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Exchangers are used in
layout-air-cooled-
the plants to utilize the
heat-exchanger) Enter Your Email ID He
atmospheric air to cool
the hydrocarbon ,
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transfer from fluid
(within tube) to be
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forced/induced draft
fan.

In Order to increase the Pressure Tests of Piping


heat transfer area, fins systems-Hydrotest Vs
are also attached Pneumatic Test
periphery of tubes. (http://www.whatispiping.c
These heat exchangers are generally designed, inspected and tested as per EN- tests-of-piping-systems-
ISO 13706. hydrotest-vs-pneumatic-
test)
The purpose of this article is to provide guide lines for Piping Layout connected 11 most important
to Air Cooled Heat Exchanger (Fig. 1) or Air Fin Fan Coolers. Click here to have a questions & answers from
brief idea for Air Cooled Heat Exchangers. (http://www.whatispiping.com/air- ASME B 31.3 which a
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Types of Air cooled Heat exchanger: must know
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ANALYSIS: A
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(http://www.whatispiping.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/A-typical-Air-
Cooled-Heat-Exchanger.jpg)
Fig. 1: A typical Air Cooled Heat Exchanger

Considerations for Equipment layout:

As this equipment needs good flow of air for the purpose of better
cooling, the location of the air fin fan cooler has to be such that it is not
directly crowded or surrounded by other structure or equipments which
blocks the path of plenty air flow.
This static equipment is generally installed on the top of pipe rack or
other structure so that there is no difficulty or obstruction which can
reduce proper air flow. Again by installing the air cooled heat exchangers
on top of the rack, huge space on the ground can be saved and the plant
will become more compact.
Based on the width of the pipe rack or structure, normally the tube bundle
length is fixed. Thus supporting legs of air cooler bundle comes on the
main civil or structural beams, which simplifies the pipe rack design. At the
same time it is desirable to adjust the pipe rack or the structure
longitudinal column spacing based on the width of the air cooler bundle
such that bundle legs straight away sit on top of the columns. Sometimes,

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12/16/2017 Basic Considerations for Equipment and Piping Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Piping – What is Piping

This may not be possible to adjust as each tube bundle might have varied
width depending on service condition and adjusting pipe rack columns for
different width may not be feasible from structural design and detailing
point of view.
Walkways between two sets of air coolers are desired, which means if one
cooler consists of ten bundles and other of five bundles then walkways has
to be provided in between, after 10th bundle and before of next five
bundles. This dimension of this walkway has to be minimum 1.5 to 2.0 m
wide as this will be the only place at such elevation to keep tools and parts
during maintenance.
The air Fin Fan coolers on the pipe rack shall be located in such a way that
the bundles are accessible with crane at least from one side.
Air Fin Fan coolers must have access platforms mounted on the air cooled
heat exchanger structure at least on the operating side. An all around
platform is a better provision for maintenance.
Air Fin coolers have motors hanging at the bottom of the coolers. Hence, It
is required to give access platforms underneath the cooler for
maintenance of the motors. Localized platform can also be used.
A regular staircase is need to be provided for accessing the air fin cooler
platforms or motor maintenance platforms.
Normally Inlet piping of air cooler requires a symmetrical distribution and
loops. The piping needs to be supported so either air cooler structural
columns or pipe rack structure columns need to be extended upwards to
properly support the piping. Such data has to be given at very early stage
in the project as this needs to be considered during pipe rack design.
If Air cooler is grade mounted then the area beneath the air cooler shall be
paved to avoid the flow of sand/ dust on tubes.

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12/16/2017 Basic Considerations for Equipment and Piping Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Piping – What is Piping

(http://www.whatispiping.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Typical-Layout-of-
Air-Cooled-Heat-Exchanger-Piping.jpg)
Fig. 2: Typical Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Piping

For two fans per bay, the height of the underside of the fan inlet bell (on forced
draft units) or of the underside of the bundle (on induced draft units) shall be at
least 2 m or one fan diameter (whichever is the greater) above the ground level,
elevated floor or pipe bridge. For three or more fans per bay, the height of the
underside of the bundle shall be agreed with the Principal.

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Major Considerations for Piping Layout:

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12/16/2017 Basic Considerations for Equipment and Piping Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Piping – What is Piping

The air coolers are normally used when a large quantity of vapour is required for
condensation or a huge quantity of gas or liquid needs to be cooled. Such
application is common in case of column overhead vapour condensation. The
major points which need to be taken care while pipe routing or laying air fin
cooler connected piping (Refer Fig. 2, Fig. 3, Fig. 4 and Fig. 5) are as follows:

From center line of complete air cooler assembly, the piping distribution to
the air cooler should be symmetrical.
If the supply line has very low pressure, care needs to be taken to keep no.
of bends or elbows to a minimum. But functionality and stress
requirements has to be considered. Line sizing during the distribution has
to be proper, if required the same has to be checked with process or
operations department.

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(http://www.whatispiping.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Air-Cooler-Inlet-
Piping-Arrangements.jpg)
Fig. 3: Typical Air Cooler Inlet Piping Arrangements

The length of all branch pipes for all tube bundles from its header has to
be more or less similar to keep pressure drop same and this will ensure
equal distribution of fluids to all bundles.
Normally inlet side header box is considered as fixed for piping connection
and the other header is floating. But the bundle can move in transverse
direction of tubes = 6 mm or if it is fixed at one edge then it can move by
13 mm in the other direction (as per API 661). This displacement is
required for piping header expansion compensation.However the same
has to be checked with air cooler vendor as they may provide other
displacement provisions.

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12/16/2017 Basic Considerations for Equipment and Piping Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Piping – What is Piping

(http://www.whatispiping.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Air-Cooler-Outlet-
Piping-Arrangements.jpg)
Fig. 4: Air Cooler Outlet Piping Arrangements

The movement of tube bundles in transverse direction could occur only


when the piping connected to equipment nozzles generate enough force
to overcome the friction at the bundle supports that is why it is a common
practise to provide SS or PTFE plate at the support point (but this must be
consulted with the vendor) to ease the movement.
The loads due to thermal expansion, pipe, insulation & fluid weight and
inside pressure of piping created on the bundle nozzle shall be less than
the limits given by EN-ISO 13706. Sometimes vendor allows a more
allowable load (normally 2 times of the code). So discuss the same with
vendor at initial stage of project.

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12/16/2017 Basic Considerations for Equipment and Piping Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Piping – What is Piping

(http://www.whatispiping.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Typical-Layout-of-
Air-Cooled-Heat-Exchanger-Inlet-and-outlet-Piping.jpg)
Fig 5: Typical Layout of Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Inlet and outlet Piping

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