Guidelines for Process Column Internal Installation – Part 2

We’ve previously given guidelines for process column internal installation but had more to say. Feel free to read Part 1 here before continuing on. As previously stated, it is essential to get installation right the first time to ensure the optimal performance of the column.

Know the General Arrangement of a Packed Column

Before you install or even purchase the parts for your tower, you should know its typical arrangement. Each packed column has different components, but they have a general arrangement. From bottom to top it usually goes:

  1. Vapor inlet lid
  2. Support plate and/or chimney tray
  3. Random packing
  4. Retainer grid / distributor / chimney tray
  5. Structured packing / support
  6. Distributor
  7. Mesh demister / feed sparger

Other internal components may include liquid and vapor feed distributors, packing support, hold down plates, liquid draw trays, entrainment separators, and others built to meet your specific requirements.

Installation for Packed Columns

We recommend you pay close attention to these five elements when using either random or structured packing:

  1. The support plate – It is important to clamp the support plate to the support ring so it doesn’t move during vapor surges. The support ring should be level to vendor specifications in order to maintain liquid distributor installation.
  2. Packing – Random packing can be metal or plastic to facilitate mass transfer. Structured packing is available in many metals, textures, crimps, and angles. Choose packing based on what will best assist in the efficiency and capacity of your columns.
  3. Packing retainer – This device holds the packing in place during upset conditions such as a vapor surge or high liquid level in the tower’s bottom.
  4. Liquid distributor – It provides an even flow of liquid across the packed bed.
  5. Feed pipe – They should be installed onto the liquid distributor to not splash, upset the liquid pool, or limit distributor orifices.

Don’t Forget the Trays

Process column trays are used for a number of reasons but often used with liquid distributors. Trays come in conventional or high performance options to meet a number of industry specifications. Tray rings should be installed level and sealed at the wall with gasketing so tray liquid does not leak to the tray below. Many commercial towers seal weld tray rings to the tower without gasketing, but trays must still be level. We also recommend laying out the trays outside of the tower before installing to make sure of fit-up as well as how trays will be assembled. This way you only have to make minor adjustments when installing.

The AMACS team are experts in assisting with all types of process column internal manufacturing and installation, including packing and trays. This ranges from choosing the right type of packing to mist eliminators. We offer industry leading turnaround and shutdown solutions that include mist eliminators, wedge wire screens, and other custom, engineered solutions. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your next column or turnaround.