May 2011

Special Report: Maintenance/Reliability

Nickel recycle: Extending service life for reformer tubes

Case studies investigate methods to conserve high-nickel tubes for fertilizer facilities

Kunte, S. B., Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd.

This case study deals with the conservation of centrifugally cast reformer tubes in the fertilizer industry. A fertilizer plant investigated how to extend the service life of reformer tubes beyond design limits. The study describes two cases: one case focused on HK-40 tubes and the other with HP micro-alloyed tubes. In both cases, reworking the tubes proved to lengthen the service life for the reformer tubes. The recovery and reinstallation procedures were successful. Such actions not only resulted in huge savings on the reformer-tube inventories but also in conserving expensive raw materials, such as nickel. Metal shortages. There is a fear that the rising demand for nickel (Ni) will cau

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