Optimising piping systems using simulation and analysis

Dec 29, 2011 | Flow & Level

Problem: A company involved in the construction of plants used to produce petro-chemical intermediates and final products as well as synthetic fuels and oleo chemistry, required simulation and analysis software for complex piping system design. For Lurgi, system simulation was essential, as the increasing complexities of process technology called for accurate planning and outstanding engineering.

Solution: In order to obtain comprehensive and accurate plant behavioural information, Lurgi is using Flowmaster for the simulation and analysis of its piping systems.

Unlike 3D CFD programs which require CAD-geometry to model systems, Flowmaster only requires schematic models which can be generated using standard components and drag and drop functionality. The behaviour of these components (pipes, valves, pumps etc) is described by physical equations and/or empirical data which are stored in thematically oriented libraries. Alternatively, own calculations and tests can be used to understand the behaviour of components using characteristic curves or arrays obtained from the originator.?For clarity and to minimise the potential number of error sources, the models are kept as simple as possible.

Jürgen Bohle, from Lurgi, and his specialists use a standard PC with eight CPUs for Flowmaster. The software is an essential component of the engineering process, especially as it is said to be the only software code which allows the calculation of pressure losses in widely branched piping systems. The field of application ranges from research, development, and plant design through to failure analysis resulting in preventative activities for future projects.

Bohle commented: “Our main objective is the best possible homogeneous gas distribution in piping systems.”

A typical example is the injection system of an MTP (Methanol to Propylen) plant. More than 800 pipes can diverge from the manifolds in such plants.?Without reliable system simulation, the engineers would not be able to ensure a homogeneous inflow to the catalytic converters and, as a result, a stable and efficient process.

Lurgi has started to use the latest version of Flowmaster, V7, which offers data management, system customisation and usability advantages.