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GUIDELINES FOR SELECTION OF STRAINERS

Introduction
This document has been constructed to provide an introduction and general guidelines towards the specification and selection of strainer equipment. It is not intended to be a definitive work and does not cover specialist strainers. Instead it is focussed on the most common strainers used in todays process applications in the oil & gas industry. Strainers differ from filters in that a strainer provides typically a single barrier to the process stream and has a fixed opening (eg. 5mm perforated holes). Filters are normally constructed from a relatively thick fibrous material, which creates paths for the process stream to flow through of varying, random apertures. The debris is retained at various points in the material and the filter element eventually becomes loaded and has to be replaced. This article is aimed specifically at strainers. It is always recommended to seek expert advice from the respective filter and strainer specialist for each application.

Specification Requirements
The following information is fundamental to ensure the correct specification of strainer equipment for its intended purpose.

Filtration Size
The common purpose of a strainer is to remove debris from a process stream. Strainer elements are available with a range of filtration sizes from as large as 10mm perforations down to 25 micron (0.025mm) fine woven wire mesh. Correct selection of the filtration size is very important and should relate to the maximum particle size that downstream equipment (eg. pumps) is capable of handling. If the filtration size is too large then escaping debris could seriously effect the performance of downstream equipment. A filtration size that is too small could result in increased maintenance to clean the strainer and/or increased pressure drop, which can be detrimental to the downstream process.

STRAINER MESH COMPARISON GUIDE Mesh Size 20 Mesh 30 Mesh 40 Mesh 60 Mesh 80 Mesh 100 Mesh 120 Mesh 150 Mesh 200 Mesh 300 Mesh Micron Rating 740 microns 500 microns 400 microns 250 microns 200 microns 150 microns 125 microns 100 microns 76 microns 50 microns Gap Size mm 0.74 mm 0.50 mm 0.40 mm 0.25 mm 0.20 mm 0.15 mm 0.125 mm 0.10 mm 0.076 mm 0.05 mm Gap Size inch 0.030 in 0.020 in 0.015 in 0.010 in 0.008 in 0.006 in 0.005 in 0.0039 in 0.0030 in. 0.0020 in.

Note: Gap size is subject to mesh wire thickness. Therefore data is indicative only.

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GUIDELINES FOR SELECTION OF STRAINERS


Strainer Unit Sizing/Free Open Area It is not always the case that the strainer size should be equal to the line size. The strainer size should be determined from the potential dirt volume that the unit expects to retain and the maximum allowable pressure drop for the strainer. An undersized strainer will result in increased maintenance required to continually clean the elements. In worse instances it can create pressure drop problems in a process stream. The Free Open Area Ratio for strainers refers to the amount of free open area of the strainer and basket/element. It is the ratio of the open area through the strainer basket/element to the cross sectional area of the pipeline. A well-designed strainer should have an open ratio of at least 4:1. Anything less can result in excessive pressure drop. The ratio is calculated with a clean basket/element and as the basket/element begins to clog, the ratio will drop. Unless there is a wide safety margin, the area through the basket/element can rapidly become smaller than the pipe area. This will lead to a rapid increase in pressure drop (and loss of flow) through the strainer resulting in very frequent cleaning. A small free open area ratio results in reduced holding capacity of the basket/elements which is an important consideration if the amount of solids to be removed is large. Solids Content Although it is very difficult to receive realistic information on the potential solids content of a stream it is invaluable information required when considering the sizing of the strainer body. The element should be sized to adequately cater for the potential solids loading expected from the process stream. Where the solids loading is expected to be particularly high duplex (2x100%) strainers, Hellan type or automatic backwash strainers should be used to make the process of element cleaning quicker and easier. An undersized strainer will ultimately lead to process and maintenance problems. Strainer Clean Pressure Drop Guideline Selecting the proper size strainer for a particular application is crucial. The best strainers companies will have pressure drop information covering their range of equipment. A general guide for process engineers is that the pressure drop through the strainer should not be greater than 0.1 bar in the clean condition. If it is, the strainer selected is too small. Factors, such as viscosity, specific gravity and mesh lining size, all influence pressure drop through the unit, and they must be taken into account. Maximum Allowable Pressure Drop Downstream equipment such as pumps that require protection by strainers are normally also dependent upon a minimum head pressure in order that they shall function satisfactorily. It is therefore important that the maximum allowable pressure drop for the strainer is determined to ensure that the design of the strainer will not present problems to downstream process equipment. Failure to do this can lead to problems such as pump cavitation as a result of insufficient pump head. To prevent damage to downstream equipment continuous monitoring of the pressure drop across the strainer is necessary. Where pressure drop limits are critical a DP transmitter can provide first and second alarms to ensure that strainers are attended to as solids build up.

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GUIDELINES FOR SELECTION OF STRAINERS


Maximum Design Pressure/Temperature Range As with all piping equipment it is important to specify the design pressure and temperature range. Although design temperatures and pressures are covered in piping classes, these details are general covering a range of potential applications and do not necessarily address the specific requirements of each individual process line. It important for each strainer that the specific design conditions are provided. Design Pressure Drop across the Strainer Basket/Element While strainer housings are designed to withstand design pressures sometimes far in excess of their rated maximum operating pressures, this is not true of baskets which are not specifically designed for high pressure drops. As a result very few strainer baskets will withstand high pressure differentials through them. Example: A strainer running at a maximum operating pressure of 10 barg and the basket/element is allowed to become fully blocked then the basket/element can in the worst case be exposed to 10 bar pressure differential. Under these conditions the basket will more than likely collapse. Generally, the amount of pressure differential that baskets/elements can withstand when they become completely blocked is considerably less than the maximum strainer rated operating pressure. As a guide Tech-Trade AS recommends that the customers contact us if they know that the basket/element can be exposed to greater than 0.5 bar pressure drop for any reason. The larger the basket, the less differential pressure it can withstand. Where excessive pressure differentials are expected reinforced baskets/elements can be designed and manufactured. However, greater differential pressure requirements will lead to excessive reinforcement of the strainer elements which will in turn reduce the effective free open area and increase the clean pressure drop thus compounding the problem. The best solution is good monitoring and maintenance of a strainer suitably designed with sufficient free open area for the application and keep the velocities down. Materials Strainer materials should reflect the materials specified for the pipeline. This information is provided in the relevant piping class which normally also provides details on the relevant MDS. It is standard practice for the MDS requirements to cover pressure retaining parts such as the strainer body and cover but not items such as the strainer element. The element material should be of similar or better material standard as the body unless they are for temporary service only (eg: bathtub strainer elements). Directives and CE Marking Strainers fall into the category of equipment that is covered by the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED). Equipment may be subject to CE Marking requirements in line with the guidelines presented by the PED. The fluid and size/volume of the strainer will determine as to whether CE Marking is required or not. Automatic backwash strainers must also comply with other directives including the Machinery Directive (522), FEA-M and sometimes ATEX 94/9/EC Directive. CE Marking requirements must be covered as necessary in accordance with the applicable directives.

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CONICAL OR TOP HAT STRAINER


Advantages Low cost Compact Low weight Temporary Disadvantages

High pressure drop Low effective filtration area All debris collects directly in the path of the process stream Process must be isolated or bypassed prior to cleaning the element Pipework needs to be broken via pipe spool to allow the strainer to be removed from the line Typical Size Range 1 up to 48 Typical Pressure Class Range 150# up to 600# The conical strainer is designed specifically for commissioning purposes where a low-cost temporary strainer is required. The strainer does not have a pressure retaining housing as with other strainers designs. Instead it is normally installed between two flanges in a pipe spool to facilitate removal after it has served its purpose. The strainer is typically of cone shape constructed of perforated plate with additional welded mesh as required to achieve the necessary filtration. A ring supports the strainer between two flanges and a tag is used to identify to the operation when the strainer is installed. As the conical strainer is not strictly a pressure retaining device, it is not designed to a piping or vessel standard and normally does not require to comply to any MDS requirements. NORSOK defines specific requirements for a conical strainer in the document PD-080. As all debris collects in the path of the process stream, any build up can creat problems with blockage resulting in increasing pressure drop as the effective filtration area reduces. To minimise this effect the strainer can be installed with the flow travelling outside into the conical strainer. The conical strainer is not a good solution for streams with high dirt load but instead better suited as a guard filter to protect against accidental debris in the process stream.

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BATHTUB OR T-TYPE STRAINER


Advantages Low cost Compact Low weight Disadvantages

High pressure drop Very low effective filtration area All debris collects directly in the path of the process stream Process must be isolated or bypassed prior to cleaning the element Typical Size Range 2 up to 24 Typical Pressure Class Range 150# up to 2500# The bathtub strainer is best suited as a temporary strainer for commissioning or as a guard strainer protecting equipment against accidental debris in the process stream. The strainer is constructed from standard flanges and fittings, typically an equal tee and a weld neck flange/blind flange combination (dimensions in compliance with international piping standards). The strainer element sits inside the tee and is designed to provide optimum free area. Elements are constructed from perforated plate with wire mesh as required to provide even greater filtration. Bathtub strainers can provide filtration from 10mm with perforated plate down to 50 microns with mesh inserts. NORSOK defines requirements for a bathtub strainer in the document PD-081. As with a conical strainer, all debris collects in the process stream and any build up will block the flow increasing the pressure drop dramatically as the effective filtration area reduces. It is therefore not a good solution for streams with high dirt load but instead better suited as a guard filter to protect against accidental debris in the process stream.

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Y-TYPE STRAINER
Advantages Good effective filtration area Low cost Compact Low weight Debris collects away from the process stream Possible to purge a quantity of the debris whilst in operation by blow-down through the drain connection. Typical Size Range up to 24 Typical Pressure Class Range 150# up to 2500# Y-type strainers are compact strainer be manufactured either as cast, forged typically to standards such as ASME butt weld, NPT or a choice of connections. Disadvantages Process must be isolated or bypassed prior to cleaning the element Limited dirt holding capacity

solutions and can or fabricated units B31.3 with either different flanged

The element is typical cylindrical and sits in the strainer such that any debris enters the element and is collected away from the process stream. This allows the strainer to collect a considerable amount of debris without effecting the pressure drop. Y-type strainers are well suited to protecting pumps and compressors. Elements are constructed from perforated plate with wire mesh welded in as required to provide greater filtration. Y-type strainers can provide filtration from 10mm with perforated plate down to 50 microns with mesh inserts. There is no current NORSOK standard for Y-type strainers.

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SIMPLEX OR BASKET STRAINER


Advantages Superior filtration area Excellent volume holding capacity Custom design possible Debris collects away from the process stream Typical Size Range Typical Pressure Class Range Disadvantages Process must be isolated or bypassed prior to cleaning the element Higher cost Significant size Weight 1 up to 48 150# up to 300# for cast units 150# up to 2500# for fabricated unit

Basket Strainers are relatively larger than Y-type Strainers and are manufactured either as cast, forged or fabricated units typically to piping or pressure vessel standards with a choice of different screwed or flanged connections. The strainer element comes in the form of a removal basket which collects all the debris away from the process stream. The basket strainer offers the best effective filtration area and is suited to applications where relatively high dirt loads are anticipated in processes. Baskets are constructed from perforated plate with wire mesh provided as required to achieve even greater filtration. Basket strainers can provide filtration from 10mm with perforated plate down to 50 microns with mesh inserts. Proprietary design cast units are normally proven and tested to ASME B31.3. Fabricated units are normally design, manufactured and tested in accordance with a pressure vessel standard such as PD 5500 or ASME VIII. There is no current NORSOK standard for basket strainers.

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DUPLEX (2x100%) STRAINER


Advantages Disadvantages

Superior filtration area Higher cost Continuous filtration during basket change-out Significant size Custom design possible Weight Debris collects away from the process stream Typical Size Range 1 up to 48 Typical Pressure Class Range 150# up to 300# for cast units 150# up to 2500# for fabricated units The Duplex Strainer combines two basket strainers with a valve arrangement to provide a solution where the strainer basket can be removed and cleaned without the need of shutting down the process. However, the process of switching from one strainer to the other as well as basket cleaning is still a manual operation. Duplex Strainers can be either manufactured as a cast unit (see right) with proprietary design, integral valve arrangements for low pressure applications or fabricated with independent valves as a packaged arrangement for all pressure classes (see below). Baskets are normally constructed from perforated plate with wire mesh provided if necessary to provide even greater filtration much the same as for standard simplex strainers. Duplex strainers are used where it is not practical to shutdown process stream and where continuous filtration is absolutely necessary. Proprietary design cast units are normally proven and tested to ASME B31.3. Fabricated units are normally design, manufactured and tested in accordance with a pressure vessel standard such as PD 5500 or ASME VIII. There is no present NORSOK standard for duplex strainers.

Typical Fabricated Duplex Strainer Solution

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MECHANICAL SELF-CLEANING STRAINER - HELLAN


Advantages Compact vertical or horizontal inline solution Good effective filtration area Cleaning without access to fluids. HMS friendly. Continuous filtration during element cleaning Removal of debris via backwash valve Very rapid element cleaning within seconds Complete automation is possible with motor drives and activated valves Typical Size Range 2 up to 20 Typical Pressure Class Range 150# up to 300# Disadvantages Higher cost Limited Pressure Class to 300#

The Hellan strainer is a unique compact design manufactured in USA by Cleveland Gear. They are constructed from cast pressure retaining bodies which contain up to six individual elements of either perforated plate or wedge wire construction depending upon filtration requirements. Each element is linked to an external handwheel and can be rotated against a cleaning device (either a brush or scraper). Whereas most strainers collect debris within the filter element, the Hellan strainer allows debris to collect on the outside as flow travels into the element. Any debris is collected in a small chamber which forms part of the body. As the filter element becomes clogged each handwheel can be turn and the cleaning device will remove the debris from the element surface and allow it to collect in the chamber. The chamber leads to a backwash outlet connection which facilitates removal via a drain valve. The Hellan strainer facilitates rapid element cleaning during normal operation and simple disposal of debris without having to depressurise/open a vessel or come in contact with the waste product. The Hellan strainer is very well suited to protect low pressure firewater mains, process cooling circuits and processes where it is not desirable to come in contact with the fluid. Hellan strainers are tested in accordance with the American pressure vessel standard ASME VIII and can be supplied CE-marked to PED 97/23/EC. There is no current NORSOK standard for Hellan strainers.

SLEIPNER HEATING MEDIUM FILTRATION

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AUTOMATIC BACKWASH STRAINER


Advantages Superior effective filtration area Complete automation with motor drives and activated valves Continuous filtration during element cleaning Removal of debris via backwash valve Typical Size Range 2 up to 48 Typical Pressure Class Range 150# up to 2500# Automatic backwash strainers offer the best effective filtration area together with the convenience of completely automated online cleaning. Strainers are available either with cast bodies or as fabricated units design and manufactured in accordance with a pressure vessel standard. The elements are normally constructed from wedge wire which is well suited for backwash applications and provides for filtration down to 80 micron. Automatic backwash strainers are normally used to continuously filter high flowrate processes. They have been traditionally used as part of a seawater treatment package. Various manufacturers have subtly different designs of automatic backwash strainers with one or more fixed elements. There are several subtly different approaches to the method of element cleaning but normally it is achieved by using a small percentage of the process stream flow and redirecting it to remove the debris from the filter surface into a backwash flowline. The backwash is activated as a cycle which starts-up when a set pressure drop limit is reached or after a decided period of time has past. In addition it is also possible to activate backwash manually. Automatic Backwash Strainers are normally designed, manufactured and tested in accordance with a pressure vessel code for example: PD 5500, ASME VIII. There is no current NORSOK standard for Automatic Backwash Strainers. Disadvantages Higher cost Size

SPECIALISTS IN FILTERS AND STRAINERS


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