Borescope Increases Know-How by Continuously Measuring Temperature of Tube Walls for Air Liquide - Case study


Courtesy of AMETEK Land

Air Liquide, the world leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and health, has implemented AMETEK Land's Near Infrared Borescope (NIR-B) 3XR, an enhanced thermal imager, and now is gaining in know-how by continuously measuring temperature of tube walls within its steam methane reformers (SMR).

Founded in 1902, Air Liquide group supplies industrial gases and related services to customers in a range of industries, including oil and gas, chemicals, metals, construction, food and beverage, research and analysis, electronics and healthcare among others. It is present in 80 countries with approximately 67,000 employees and serves more than 3 million customers and patients.

Air Liquide's steam methane reformers, producing hydrogen and carbon dioxide industrial gases, are critical assets and their operation, safety and reliability, are of paramount importance, however they are very challenging assets to maintain and operate. Some of the common problems in reformer operation are burner, flue gas distribution and catalyst issues. All of these problems can directly affect Tube Wall Temperatures (TWT), tube life and lead to premature tube failure. They can also lead a producer being overly cautious on TWT and losing valuable production every year.

Using AMETEK Land's Cyclops, a portable non-contact pyrometer, TWT readings are taken manually through peep doors. These measurements are spot readings. When opening peep doors, tubes cool, affecting the accuracy of temperature measurement, plus enormous stress is added to the tubes resulting in potential damage to the tube wall.

Air Liquide understands the critical importance of managing TWT and required a solution to deliver highly accurate and more complete measurement of the equipment and process, compared to spot temperature measurements, whilst operating in a hazardous environment. AMETEK Land recommended its Near Infrared Borescope (NIR-B) 3XR, which provides a high resolution thermal image with real time high accuracy temperature measurements of both the tube wall and refractory wall surface, allowing for background compensation.

Developed specifically to operate in the hazardous area of a steam methane reformer, the NIR-B 3XR is ATEX and lECEx approved and CSA certified.The NIR Borescope (NIR-B) 3XR is a short wavelength radiometric infrared borescope imaging camera, which measures temperatures in the single range 600 to 1800 °C (1112 to 3272 °F) and utilizes the latest wide dynamic range imaging technology. This is ideal for Air Liquide's industrial gas application where there exist high differential temperatures in the field of view such as tube and furnace walls.
Air Liquide initially undertook a live trial of AMETEK Land's NIR-B at one pilot plant with the full support of AMETEK Land's team in Spain, which enabled the operators to fully test the instrument within their specific and harsh environment. Air Liquide confirmed the instrument's'suitability and proved the critical role it could play in enabling and enhancing tube know-how. The borescope is installed through the furnace wall in front of the tubes within the chamber. Via a field connection box, the thermal imager is connected to the control room.

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