The only certainties in life are death, taxes, and that delayed coking drums crack. Every year at RefComm®, we have healthy discussions with experts from around the world on this phenomena. I believe we are inching ever closer to resolving this issue once and for all. For those who suffer with cracking drums, this resolution cannot come soon enough. Until then, there is a great solution: weld overlay in problem areas.
OK… many of you are thinking this is not new information. Yes, you are correct but…what is new is some long range studies that are demonstrating how weld overlay repairs have lasted 10+ years, 3-5x longer than other repair strategies. Mr. DuPlessis’s presentation with Dr. Samman, Successful Reversal of Deterioration in an Old Set of Coke Drums, reviewed his work at Suncor Energy with repairs, side entry to dual feed conversions, and R&D jointly conducted with Alberta University. Long story short, weld overlay can have a 10x increase in the fatigue life of the coke drum. WOW!
Robot welding is required. Manual overlay with stick welding just does not have the quality control of the machines even with the best qualified welder.
Struggling with replacement of your coke drums? There maybe some more life in that steel with a new coat of Inconel. If you are already working down the path of getting new drums, why not consider just adding weld overlay from the start. Yes, it will add cost but a risk and life cycle analysis with this new data may change your mind about the long term benefits.
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