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Best Practice

SABP-G-011 19 July 2008


Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
(Fin-Fans) Reliability Document
Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines Standards Committee

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards


Table of Contents

1 Introduction.................................................... 2
2 Definitions...................................................... 3
3 Background.................................................... 4
4 Fin-Fan Arrangement and Configurations..... 5
5 Failure Modes in Fin-Fans............................. 7
6 Fin Fan Preventive Maintenance
Programs (PM)....................................... 7
7 Fin Fan Predictive Maintenance
Program (PdM)..................................... 11
8 Reliability Data Required for Fin-Fans......... 15
9 Fin-Fan Reliability Indices and Reporting.... 16
10 Safety in Fin Fans........................................ 17
11 Cleaning and Blade Adjustment................... 17
12 New Technologies....................................... 18

Appendix I.......................................................... 20
Appendix II......................................................... 21
Appendix III........................................................ 23
Appendix IV........................................................ 24

Previous Issue: New Next Planned Update: TBD


Revised paragraphs are indicated in the right margin Page 1 of 24
Primary contact: Qahtani, Hadi Abdullah on 966-3-8760113

Copyright©Saudi Aramco 2008. All rights reserved.


Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

1 Introduction

The purpose of this “Best Practice” document is to establish practical guidelines and
procedures in accordance to Best in Class Maintenance Practice for managing
maintenance and reliability of Air Cooled Heat Exchangers which are known as “Fin
Fans” in Saudi Aramco Plants. This best practice was developed based on assessments
of fin-fans in some of Saudi Aramco plants. Additionally, all initiatives that took place
in some plants, i.e., RTR, YG&TD and JGP were taken into consideration.

1.1 Scope

This Best Practice gives all required procedures and practices to best maintain
and achieve reliable operation of fin-fans.

1.2 Disclaimer

This Best Practice is being provided for the general guidance and benefit of
Saudi Aramco operating facilities. The use of the information or material
contained here will not release operating facilities from the responsibility of
safeguarding and controlling their fin-fans operations complying with Saudi
Aramco established guidelines such as GI’s and engineering standards.

1.3 Conflicts with Mandatory Standards

In the event of a conflict between this Best Practice and other Mandatory Saudi
Aramco Engineering Requirement, the Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering
Requirement shall govern.

1.4 References

This Best Practice is based on the latest edition of the references listed in 1.6
unless otherwise noted.

1.4.1 Saudi Aramco References

Saudi Aramco Engineering Standard


SAES-E-007 Design Criteria of Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers

Saudi Aramco Materials System Specification


32-SAMSS-011 Manufacture of Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers

Saudi Aramco Best Practice


SABP-G-008 Field Reliability Unit Guidelines and Procedures

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Saudi Aramco Engineering Report


SAER-5659 Guidelines for Setting Acceptable, Alarm and
Shutdown Vibration Limits

Saudi Aramco Technical Alert


ALERT-01-001 Prohibition of the Use of Vibration Mechanical
Switches

1.4.2 Industry Standards and Codes

American Petroleum Institute


API STD 661 Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers for General Refinery
Service

International Standards Organization


ISO 13706 Petroleum, Petrochemical and Natural Gas
Industries Air-cooled Heat Exchangers

2 Definitions

Availability: Readiness of any equipment to be placed in service at any given time.

Critical: Unplanned shutdown of the fin fan could cause substantial loss of production.

Non-Critical: Unplanned shutdown of the fin fan causes no losses of production.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s): a set of indices designed and installed to gauge
performance of an organization or a program.

Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): The average time an asset will function before
it fails.

Online Monitoring: Online vibration monitoring (it could be continuous or


intermittent mode).

Predictive Maintenance Program (PdM): which is known as “On condition”


strategy, is the servicing of equipment or a component of equipment based on its
condition rather than a regular interval. Examples, vibration, lube oil sampling, etc.

Preventive Maintenance Program (PM): is defined as the servicing of equipment or


a component of equipment at regular intervals regardless of its condition. The purpose
is to service equipment before they fail and to bring them back to a healthy condition.
Examples include electrical breaker check, instrument calibration check and
verification, etc.

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Proactive Maintenance Program (PaM): is the organization around full protection of


equipment by proactive activities and through continuous performance measurement.

Protection: Electronic vibration switches to shutdown fin fan in case of excessive


vibration levels.

Reliability: the ability of an item to perform a required function under stated


conditions for a stated period.

Safe Failure: Failure of fin fan poses no threat on assets or personnel.

Semi-Critical: Unplanned shutdown of the fin fan could cause partial loss of
production.

Unsafe Failure: Failure of fin fan could cause fire, personal injury or major assets
damage.

3 Background

There are more than 11,000 fin fans in Saudi Aramco, which makes it one of the highest
numbers of rotating equipment in Saudi Aramco. The approximate annual maintenance
cost is $ 3,000,000. These exchangers are used for process cooling and condensation.
The operating principle of a fin-fan is as follows. Hot process fluid enters the tube side
while ambient air flows over and between the externally finned surfaces. Heat is
rejected to air which cools the process fluid while expelling the heated air into the
atmosphere. Operation principle of fin fan is shown in Figure 1.

Fin-Fan Operating Principle

Warm Air

Hot Process Fluid Cooled Process Fluid

Ambient Air

Figure 1 – Operation Principle

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

4 Fin-Fan Arrangement and Configurations

In Saudi Aramco a variety of arrangement and configurations are used. These


configurations can be classified based on:

4.1 Draft

There are two types of fin fans based on draft; forced draft and induced draft. In
forced daft, the air is forced across the bundles and in induced draft fans, the air
is pulled across the bundles. Both types exist in Saudi Aramco but the
majorities are induced draft type. They are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 – Draft Type

4.2 Belt or Gear Driven

In Saudi Aramco the fin fans are driven usually by electric motor through a belt or
reducing gear. Belts are usually used in drives up to 50 HP motors. Gearboxes
are normally used for motors in excess of 50 HP. Gear box driven is shown in

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Figure 3a, and belt driven is shown in Figure 3b. Fin fans can be driven also
directly by the motor but this is not a common configuration in Saudi Aramco.

Figure 3a Figure 3b

The API arrangement is shown below (ref API STD 661, 2001):

1. Fan 6. Belt Drive


2. Gearbox Casing 7. Motor Casing
3. Coupling 8. Fan Ring
4. Bearing 9. Motor/Gearbox Mounting
5. Pulley 10. Fan Support

4.3 Support

Installation of fin fans based on structural support can be classified in two main
types of supports: (1) the motor and fan (gearbox or belt driven) are supported

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
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on the same beam of the structure as shown in Figure 4a. (2) the motor and fan
(gearbox or belt driven) supported on two different beams of structures as shown
in Figure 4b.

.
Figure 4a Figure 4b

5 Failure Modes in Fin-Fans

There are several Failure Modes (FM’s) take place in fan fans, these FM’s can be
avoided or minimized by applying the proper maintenance strategies, i.e., PM and PdM.
The most common FM at Saudi Aramco fin-fans is bearing failure that includes motor
bearing and fan bearing. All FM’s of Fin Fans are listed below.
• Motor Bearing Failure
• Fan Bearing failure
• Belt wear
• Belt Misalignment
• Grounded motor
• Internal Fouling
• Gear Box Failure
• Pitch Control Mechanism Failure
• Propeller (Fan) Failure
• No Dominant Failure Mode

6 Fin Fan Preventive Maintenance Programs (PM)

The purpose of the Preventive Maintenance PM program in general is to minimize


failures and hence lengthen the life of the equipment. The cost of the PM program and
the failure/equipment cost and consequences are normally analyzed through a
methodology such as Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM or PM optimization. For
more details about PM Strategies, criteria and intervals, refer to SABP-G-008.

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
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6.1 Greasing and Mechanical PM

The PM program for Fin-Fans shall contain but not limited to the following:

Materials and Procedures/


PM activity Frequency
Main Tools Forms
- Proper grease
1. Greasing of motor
- Auto greaser if 6 months Appendix I
and fan Bearing
applicable
2. Mechanical
- Belt tension device
A. Belt and Pulley
- straight edge
Appendix II
- Motor data sheet 12 months
B. Blade & Pitch Angle
- amps meter
C. Bearing and Shaft - Dial test indicator

6.1.1 Grease Type

Ball Bearing Grease 2 (SAP MM# 1000173248 and 1000173268) is the


proper grease for motor bearings. It is polyurea based grease which has
high dropping point and excellent oxidation stability. The same grease
can be used for fan bearings unless the OEM recommends different type
of grease.

6.1.2 Grease Quantity

This is an area in which different manufacturers give different


recommendations. However, to provide guidance on the amount of grease
to be added for different size bearings, the following equation can be used:

G = 0.005*B*D (1)

Where: G = weight of grease in grams


B = bearing width in mm
D = bearing outer diameter in mm
* For TEFC motor please consider the length of the supply and drain pipes.

The required grease weight needs to be converted to number of grease


gun shots.

6.1.3 Re-greasing Interval

There are many ways to estimate the re-greasing frequency. The


following SKF Nomo graph is one of the most commonly used methods:

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
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Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Frequency adjustments:
• Cut interval by half for every 15ºC above 70ºC
• Cut interval by half for bearings on vertical shafts
• Reduce interval when risk of particles and moisture
contamination is high.

6.1.4 Greasing Procedure


1. Learn proper grease gun operation and know the delivery volume
per shot. Have the grease gun calibrated occasionally to ensure
proper volume of delivery.

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
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2. Ensure the grease gun contains the right lubricant for the bearings
to be re-greased.
3. Re-grease a bearing while the motor is running and hot, or after the
motor is removed from service and the grease is still hot. Under
operational conditions, the grease is less viscous.
4. Clean the areas around the fill and drain fittings to ensure
contaminants are not introduced into the bearing cavity (use clean
shop rag or lint free cloth).
5. Inspect grease fitting. Replace defective or damaged fitting.
6. Remove the drain fitting to allow any excess grease to escape from
the bearing.
7. With the motor running at operating temperature, attach gun to
fitting and slowly pump the appropriate amount of grease into
bearing over period of 5 second per normal shot or until it begins to
leave the drain fitting.
8. Exercise extreme caution to avoid over packing and/or seal damage
(Some grease guns develop very high pressure up to 15,000 psi.
9. Discontinue greasing when you feel or observe abnormal back
pressure (Pressure gage on grease gun is recommended).
10 If back pressure is high, passageway may be blocked with old
caked grease. A thin rod or pipe cleaner may be needed to open
the drain line (exercise care to avoid contact with bearing element).
11. After adding the appropriate amount of fresh grease, leave the drain
fitting out for 15 minutes to allow excess grease to purge out.
13. After excessive grease has been purged, reinstall the drain plug.
13. Don’t worry if grease does not purge out, this is common.
Reinstall the drain plug.
14. Add some grease to the grease fitting and the drain plug to prevent
corrosion and to help clean the fitting in the future.
15. Keep grease guns clean by avoiding laying them on dirty surfaces.
16. Keep grease guns covered and grease unpressurized when not in
use.

6.1.5 Automatic Greasing System

Automatic greasing system is an excellent option for lubricating motor


and fin-fan bearings. It helps dispense very small amount of grease very
frequently which is ideal for bearings. This is in addition to reducing the

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
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safety risk associated with lubricating the fin fans. The plant personnel
need to evaluate the feasibility of auto greasing system considering the
safety risk, number of failures, man-hours required for the lubrication
tasks.

6.2 Mechanical PM

Many tasks are required for the mechanical PM. This includes:
• Belt and Pulley check
• Blade & Pitch Angle check
• Bearing and Shaft Check

Every task has certain steps and procedures to perform. Appendix II


summarizes the basic required steps for every task. It is recommended to upload
this form in the PM database and have the PM group use it every time they
conduct PM.

7 Fin Fan Predictive Maintenance Program (PdM)

In addition to time based maintenance or Preventive Maintenance (PM), the Condition-


based or Predictive Maintenance Program (PdM) is another maintenance program that
will improve fin fan reliability through an early detection of failures and taking
appropriate action to prevent their occurrence or at least minimize negative impact
through proactive measures. Below is a list of predictive programs that can be applied
to fin fan systems:

7.1 Vibration Monitoring

7.1.1 Off-Line Vibration Monitoring

The off line vibration monitoring contains portable data collector and
local workstation which includes the data base. It is mandatory program
for fin fans unless the on line vibration system is installed. The cycle of
the off line vibration program is minimum three months and location of
measurements described in the following section should be followed.

In this program and for convenience and safety purposes, vibration


pickups should be wired to an accessible location and connected to a
junction box.

The vibration limits of fin fan also have to be followed and


measurements above the recommended practice need to be reported.
These limits are explained in the SAER-5659 Section D Page 5.

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
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Caution:

Because most of fin-fans in SA plants are running at speed between


150 to 500 RPM (2.5-8.3 Hz), we recommend to configure the
maximum frequency rang in the data collector at appropriate
range, i.e., 20 Hz.

7.1.2 Online Vibration Monitoring System

The on-line vibration monitoring system is a continuous or intermediate


data collection system. It provides vibration data history and protection
as well. Simply, it consists of permanent installed pickups and database
normally located in the control room. The installation of the on-line
vibration monitoring system is costly and it should be installed only on
critical applications as explained in section.

7.1.3 Industry Practice for Off-line and Online Vibration Monitoring


System

Based on the experience and the feedback from industry, it would appear
that there is no single best practice on how to monitor fin fans vibration.
A wide range of protection and monitoring systems are utilized based on
experience, criticality of machine and budget. Some end-users are
simply conducting off-line monitoring using portable data collectors and
others are using continuous on-line monitoring systems. Available off-
line monitoring systems range from a simple pickup with a junction box
to wireless transmitter/receiver combination systems. The big range of
available products in the market makes it very difficult to agree on a
single practice. A survey of ExxonMobil and Shell and Hudson Products
in the USA by Aramco Services Company has indicated that these
companies monitor mainly according to the criticality of the service.
One example of critical service given was that of reactor effluent
services where failure of the cooler would be expected to shut down the
plant. On this basis, it appears likely that many Saudi Aramco
installations would not be considered critical and may be operated
without installed protection switches. For instance, in the case where
fin-fan heat exchangers are utilized to cool crude-oil after stabilization,
failure of a few units may not have any significant impact on the overall
plant performance and/or safety. In contrast, however, the effect of
reduced cooling in, say, an NGL plant due to fin-fan failure may be
dramatic with regard to the process performance and safety so that this
could be considered a critical application.

ASC, based on experience in the USA, strongly emphasized that


substantial cost savings could be realized in those non-critical cases

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
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where such protection would not be required. Clearly, in adopting this


approach the potential savings within Saudi Aramco could also be
substantial. Regarding experience with the failure of unprotected fin-
fans one of the companies stated that in such cases, over a period of
45 years, no significant collateral damage to the coolers was observed.
Similarly, no safety-related cases were documented other than those
resulting from inappropriate maintenance practices. A note of caution
should be sounded here to eliminate any idea that safety is not an
important issue! It is clearly vital to protect against cases of catastrophic
failure, for example, when fan blade-loss occurs, by ensuring
implementation of proper maintenance practices with regard to the fan
safety enclosure. Specifically, steps should be taken to make sure that
the fan safety mesh is in place and secured positively.

7.1.4 Vibration Protection and Measurement Location

The shutdown protection requirements shall be in accordance with


SAES-E-007 section 9.5.

The Dynamic Analysis Unit of CSD has conducted a study in the regard
of fin-fan protection and measurement location. The study is included in
this section to emphasize its important. In this study, it was found that
different protection systems are used in most of the existing fin fans in
Saudi Aramco. The most widely used is the mechanical vibration switch
(Murphy Switch) which was prohibited as per Technical Alert (ALERT-
01-001) issued back in January 2001. Different installations were found
equipped with either electronic switches or continuous monitoring
systems such as SKF and Bently Nevada monitors. However, in many
cases the locations of the vibration transducers or switches were not
consistent or based on known best practices in some of the installations.
The lack of clear directions and guidelines per the industry and Aramco
standards and best practices has led to this inconsistency in selecting the
level of protection system as well as the best location for the transducers
and switches.

The location chosen for measurement of the vibration signal to be


utilized for protection of the fin-fan arrangement should ensure effective
transmission of the fan vibrations while enabling easy access/installation
to help reduce installation costs. Clearly, a compromise will be required
since frequently the most effective measurement point may not be easily
accessible and/or may involve substantial effort and cost to mount and
maintain the transducer, particularly in retrofit situations. As detailed
above, different fin fan arrangements exist in Saudi Aramco Plants. The
location of the transducer therefore will depend upon the support

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arrangement used in each type. It is worthwhile reminding ourselves


why unit protection is required – i.e., in order to minimize any
consequential damage and at the same time ensure a safe environment in
the event of an unforeseen failure. For this reason it makes sense to
locate the vibration transducer/switch as close to the fan mounting(s) as
possible since, compared to the other components, the fan has the
greatest potential for destruction due to its large inertia and substantial
rotational energy. In reality, however, access close to the fan supports
may be either impractical and/or even unnecessary. Indeed, it has been
found from experience gained throughout Saudi Aramco plants that, in
many cases, locating the transducer beside the drive motor is sufficient to
provide effective protection. More specifically, it has been found in
many instances, when the fan and motor are mounted on the same
structural support that an effective mounting location for the vibration
transducer is on the motor support-channel, perpendicular to the motor
shaft axis in the horizontal direction. However, in those cases where the
motor and the fan are not mounted in the same beam a different approach
may be required. We must keep in mind that the main aim is to locate
the transducer where it is easy to install and maintain while it is able to
sense vibration signals that provide an indication of the condition of the
unit.

It is proposed that the first step in identifying fin fan protection and
monitoring requirements is to determine the criticality of the specific
installation within the context of the operational requirements of the
particular plant in question. Using this approach it is proposed that the
following table (Table 7.1.1) be used as a guideline to determine the
degree of vibration protection and type of monitoring required for any
given installation.

Table 7.1.1

Non-Critical Semi-Critical Critical


On-line On-line On-line
Protection Protection Protection
Monitoring Monitoring Monitoring
Safe Failure O O R O M O
Unsafe Failure M O M R M M
M: Mandatory; O: Optional; R: Recommended

7.2 Thermograph Survey

With the advancement of the infrared camera, thermograph predictive


maintenance becomes a more popular and effective tool. It determines faults in
the electrical circuits of electrical systems efficiently. Nowadays, several plants

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in Saudi Aramco are utilizing this tool with satisfied results. It is worth
mentioning that some plants call it a “motor management program” and others
call it a “thermograph program”. A sample report from Yanbu Refinery is
attached in Appendix III.

7.3 Troubleshooting and Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

Although RCA is reactive tool but it could -once conducted- prevent failures and
serves as proactive tool. It is normally conducted on critical machines or bad
actor equipment. There is no exception in case of fin fans; it is a good practice
to perform RCA whenever the fin fan resides in a critical application or when
the failure is repeated.

An example of repeated problem in fan fans is the bearing failure. RCA is the
proper tool to pinpoint the cause of this problem and determine its cause. There
are seven general causes behind any equipment failure, these are:
• Faulty design
• Material defects
• Fabricated or processing errors
• Assembly or installation defects
• Off-design or unintended service condition
• Maintenance deficiencies

8 Reliability Data Required for Fin-Fans

SAP has many features, which can be utilized to store history records in a narrative and
coded format to classify type of failure modes, component failed, and causes. Any
reports and photos can also be scanned and added under the equipment in question in
SAP structure. Entering failure codes will make statistical analysis of failures history
much easier and more effective. Also, it will make it quicker and easier for anyone to
access history information and related data from SAP for any equipment when it is
needed. For any fin fan work order, there are some fields that need to be filled out in
order to monitor and improve fin fans reliability. Although these data are not
mandatory in closing work process, but they are highly important for monitoring and
improving fin fans reliability.
• Failure Mode(FM)
• Text for FM
• Problem
• Problem Code

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• Object Code
• Object code text
• Cause Code
• Cause Code text
• Malfunction start
• Malfunction end
• Action Text (action taken details)

9 Fin-Fan Reliability Indices and Reporting

9.1 Motor Mean Time between Failures (MTBF)

Fin fan motors reliability is affecting the overall reliability of fin fan system.
Hence, it is clever to monitor their reliability independently from the plants
motors. We highly recommend calculating and monitoring the MTBF for fin
fan motors. The MTBF for one motor can be calculated as follow:

MTBF = Total Run time/No. of Failures


Total run time can be hours, days or months.

For all fin fan motors, the MTBF is calculated as per the following:

MTBF = (No. of motors/No. of failures within a time period)


The period can be months or years.

Example:

In a gas plant, we assume that we have 600 fin fan motors, and we assume we
have 20 failures in a month.

MTBF = 600/20 = 30 Months.

Once we start tracking MTBF, another useful metric to track is the percentage
change in MTBF. This allows us to set a target or goal and work towards this
goal. This approach often gains support by management for improving
reliability:

Current MTBF
MTBF % Change = (2)
Previous MTBF

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9.2 Vibration Reports

Reporting vibration measurements is another useful tool to maximize fin fan


reliability. A quarterly report of vibration trend will allow reliability engineers
to investigate and issue the recommendation before further damages take place.
A vibration report form is attached in appendix IV.

10 Safety in Fin Fans

Fin fan like other rotating equipment could be a source of incidents and safety concerns.
In the past there were several incidents which took place in Saudi Aramco fin fans.
Some of these failures are summarized in the below table:

Date Location Problem Main Cause


Blade failure caused the other three
07/06/94 Abqaiq Plant Unavailable
to come loose.
NGL Plant #10, Fin Fan Blade and shaft support
01/05/96 Unavailable
RTR damage
One Fan Blade disengaged from its Poor maintenance, A retaining
NGL, Abqaiq
08/23/97 hub and caused damage to the screw had been left unsecured
Plant
remaining five blades after blade replacement.
Shedgum Gas Fan blades, fan hub and fan coupling Incorrect bolts tension due to
11/98
Plant spool broken over Torque
Shedgum Gas Fan blades, fan hub and fan coupling Incorrect bolts tension due to
05/00
Plant spool broken over Torque
Motor and flywheel has dropped Improper bolts tightening
05/02/02 RTR Refinery
down from the support beam. procedures.
08/20/02 Abqaiq Plant All fan blades were broken Unavailable
Broke-off from its hub and flew in
08/24/02 Abqaiq Plant Unavailable
different directions.
Shedgum Gas Fan blades, fan hub and fan coupling Incorrect bolts tension due to
04/19/03
Plant spool broken over Torque

Proper bolt torque and tensioning, blade visual inspection, and vibration monitoring will
help in preventing fin fan failures initially or it will minimize its effect. Maintenance
and operation personnel must take extra care in fin fan safety.

11 Cleaning and Blade Adjustment

Dust and dirt on tube fins restrict the airflow and lower the coolers thermal exchange.
Some plants attempt to overcome this problem by readjusting the fan blade pitch angle.
This will provide more airflow and improve cooling; however, it will cause the motor to
draw more current and may run above its maximum design load, which certainly
shortens the motor life. When increasing the blade pitch angle to increase cooling flow,
never exceed the full load current of the motor. A good practice to follow when
increasing blade pitch angle is to set the motor amperage draw at least 10% below the

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full load current. For example, if the motor full load current is 30 amps, then never
exceed 27 amps after adjusting the blades.

Cleaning is the best way to restore the cooling efficiency and maximize fin fan
reliability. Tube cleaning is required whenever the performance of fin fan declines.
Please consult CSD Process Equipment Unit for the details of performance calculation
and for cleaning procedures.

11.1 External (fined tube bundle)

One of the most effective ways to boost fin fan duty is to physically clean the
tube bundle. Depending on the fin fan location, the top and bottom rows can be
plugged with a myriad of organic and inorganic debris. This material does two
things: 1) coats the fin surface and acts as an insulator and 2) plugs the space
between the fins increasing airside static pressure with a corresponding decrease
in airflow. Depending on the condition of the fins, duty increases of anywhere
from 5% to as much as 50% (in extremely fouled bundles) can be achieved.
There are several methods for cleaning fin tube bundles ranging from high or
low-pressure water washes, foam cleansers and even dry ice impingement.
Biodegradable foam cleaner followed by a low-pressure deluge rinse with clean,
de-mineralized water is normally the most effective and is least likely to damage
the fins themselves.

11.2 Internal (inside the tubes)

Sometimes the most fouling is inside the tubes. This is most common in viscous
process coolers or with fluids that precipitate out solids or waxes when the
temperature falls below the minimum design point. Chemical flushes, high
temperature/high pressure steaming and pigging are the most common forms of
cleaning. Unlike with airside fins, viscous coolers benefit most and condenser
normally least from tube cleaning. As with airside cleaning, tube side cleaning
can improve fin fan duty anywhere from 5 to 50%.

12 New Technologies

Fin fan reliability will be improved by introducing new technologies. In this section
proven new technologies with a brief summary of each are listed that have been
introduced in Saudi Aramco or in the Process Industry.

12.1 Tension Meter

Proper belt tension is important for reliable fin-fans. Currently and in most
Saudi Aramco plants, the force & deflection method is used to measure the belt
tension. This method requires a spring tester, plenty of muscle, a piece of string
and unfortunately, at least three hands. On the other hand, the sonic tension

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

meter requires less preparation and it produce results that are more accurate. It
converts the natural frequency of the belt with known mass and span length to
tension measurement. More information about this technology can be found at
http://www.gates.com/STM. This tool is being used by Abqaiq Plants.

12.2 Helical Offset Tooth Type of Belt and Pulleys (potential)

This technology is a potential technology and has been identified by Refining


Reliability Best Practice Team for evaluation. It has the capability to reduce
vibration and noise when compared to other straight tooth synchronous belts.
More details can be found at the following link:
http://www.goodyearep.com/ProductsDetail.aspx?id=3400

Revision Summary
19 July 2008 New Saudi Aramco Best Practice.

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Appendix I

PM Task Name Fin Fan Greasing (motor/Fan Bearings)


Function Location:
Function Location Des.:
PM Code:
Maint. Work Center:
Frequency six months
Grease Type/SAP No.:
Steps:
1. Remove greasing plugs or automatic greaser if installed.
2. Clean grease fittings and start greasing all bearings and rotary joint if fan hub is
auto variable.
3. Fill out the form below for every equipment.

Serviced Equipment:
Equipment Equipment Equipment
Date Date Date
No. No. No.

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Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Appendix II

PM Task Name Fin Fan/Motor Mechanical PM page 1 of 2


Function Location:
Function Location Des.:
PM Code:
Maint. Work Center:
Equipment No.
Frequency: 12 months

Part A: Belt and Pulley check


Belt type: Belt condition:
Belt Allowable deflection (mm): Measured Belt deflection (mm):
Re-adjust the belt required? Y/N
Pulley type: Pulley condition:
Pulley alignment:
Right side: Left Side:
Fan hub tightness:

Part B: Blade & Pitch Angle check


1. Designed Motor Full Load Current:
2. Measured Motor current before adjusting Blades:
3. Motor Amps after adjusting Blades:
Measured / Retainer / Socket
Tip Designed Crack
Blade adjusted Elevation Lock Cap Screw
Clearance Pitch Angle Y/N
Pitch Angle condition condition
1
2
3
4
5
6

Page 21 of 24
Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Appendix II (Cont'd)

PM Task Name Fin Fan/Motor Mechanical PM page 2 of 2


Function Location:
Function Location Des.:
PM Code:
Maint. Work Center:
Equipment No.
Frequency: 12 months

Part C: Bearing and Shaft Check


Fan Top Fan Bottom Motor Top Motor Bottom
Bearing Bearing bearing bearing
Radial Movement
Axial Movement

Bearing and shaft overall condition:

Enter findings and comments to be included in the equipment SAP History(Mandatory):

Is work order required? Yes No

Name Badge Date

Craftsman

Operation Supv./Frmn.

Page 22 of 24
Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Appendix III

Report from Yanbu Refinery

Page 23 of 24
Document Responsibility: Gas Turbines & Diesel Engines SABP-G-011
Issue Date: 19 July 2008 Air Cooled Heat Exchangers
Next Planned Update: TBD (Fin-Fans) Reliability Document

Appendix IV

Vibration Report
Allowable limits
Equipment ID
(in/sec RMS, g’s):
Measurement Date: Analyst Name:
Current value Previous value
Motor IB Motor IB
Motor OB Motor OB
Gear Box Gear Box
Structure Structure
% Change = (Current value/ Previous value)
Motor IB
Motor OB
Gear Box
Structure
Findings Summary:

Recommendation:

Action by:

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