Performance Audit optimizes the steam cracker of a global petrochemical company

Alfa Laval Performance Audit and Reconditioning provided optimal water cooling heat exchanger performance and prolonged service intervals. The result: increased total output of the installation and reduced annual maintenance budget.

DATE 2023-11-28

Performance Audit without opening the units

“For optimum output, each unit has to perform equally,” says Stijn Moolenaar, Outside Sales Engineer, Alfa Laval Benelux. “But we suspected this wasn’t the case – in part because of uneven fouling caused by the brackish water from the Schelde River being used as cooling water. We offered a Performance Audit to collect and analyze data on actual operating conditions and to determine the state of the plates – without opening the units.” 

Reconditioning improved performance

While the nine Alfa Laval heat exchangers were designed to house 493 plates, some had fewer. Additionally, there was also a mixture of plates, making it impossible for each heat exchanger to perform equally. 

“The gaskets were near the end of their lifetime. This could cause unplanned maintenance of the units, therefore, we concluded to perform a complete Alfa Laval Reconditioning Gasketed Plate Heat Exchanger in our Alfa Laval Service Centre in Waalwijk (Netherlands). We then brought the plate number up to 493 for each heat exchanger and replaced low-theta plates with high-theta plates to improve performance,” says Moolenaar. 

Exclusive Stock minimized downtime

Since sufficient cooling is critical to the plant's performance, the heat exchangers could only be taken out of service during the colder months of the year – and then only one unit at a time. Each unit had to be up and running again within one week. 

To ensure fast turnaround, we used Alfa Laval Exclusive Stock to guarantee availability of high-theta plates during the entire process" - Moolenar, Outside Sales Engineer, Alfa Laval Benelux

Afterwards, another Performance Audit was carried out in order to fine-tune the units and ensure each one delivered equal performance. 

Extending performance with the Alfa Laval 360° Service Portfolio

Our extensive service portfolio offers all the services you need to ensure top performance,
maximum uptime and operating efficiency from your Alfa Laval equipment throughout its life cycle. Our team of experts and the availability of parts bring you peace of mind.

More about Alfa Laval 360° Service Portfolio

The customer

With over 133,000 employees and sites around the globe, this customer is one of the world’s largest suppliers of petrochemicals. Part of this site in Belgium, Antwerp, the steam cracker plant is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Europe.