“The first time I met maintenance engineers at Raízen in 2005, (at that time the well-known refinery located in Buenos Aires, Argentina was part of the Shell group of companies) their main concern were highest safety standards and contributing to a clean and healthy environment. Since both companies were pursuing the same goals, we put our heads together and started what would become a long-term business relationship. We just celebrated signing the fourth consecutive Agreement for the Repairing and Testing of the sleeved plug valves used in their Alkylation Unit,” explains Claudio Pacheco, Sales Manager at KLINGER’s Flow Control Solutions Division.
Since 2018, the former Shell oil refinery has been part of the energy provider Raízen, a joint venture between Shell and Cosan, based in Brazil.
Alkylation is a chemical process that improves the octane level of gasoline through the use of a catalyst, creating a premium gasoline stock and also a key component in aviation fuel. This end product is called alkylate, which is a mixture of high-octane isopentane and isooctane. The two principal alkylation process catalysts are sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and hydrofluoric acid (HF). The latter is used more frequently at Raizen, due to its more efficient process and slightly lower acid consumption rate.
Keeping downtime short
Most HF units operate with a turn-around time of four years, which requires refineries to shut down production so they can repair and upgrade the unit. “This downtime for repairs and upgrades results in significant revenue loss for them”, explains Pacheco.
„So, oil refineries specifically look for qualified suppliers to help shorten the time of the unit shutdowns.“
Claudio Pacheco, Sales Manager Flow Control Solutions Division at KLINGER Argentina
They quickly turned to the Flow Control Solutions division at KLINGER Argentina, who under Claudio Pacheco’s direction had previously worked a miracle for the refinery by repairing 35 valves in one marathon overnight session in 2013. As the KLINGER team’s extensive experience with caustic agents allowed them to perform the needed repairs and testing with the requisite caution and precision to ensure a fast, effective service cycle, they were called again to participate in the challenge, winning Raìzen over by using original parts and original procedures, in addition to using a repair and test system that met the most stringent norms.
Teaming up to maintain the valves
“One year and a half before the Alliance Agreement was signed," Pacheco remembers, “the KLINGER Service & Repair Team was invited to participate in several meetings at Raízen facilities to provide us with safety and quality trainings, safety clothing, and first aid kits.” This really felt like a team-building gesture, Pacheco adds.
5 reasons Raízen chose KLINGER
1. Savings: KLINGER’s expert repair and refurbishment process for Monel valves delivered a like-new product for less than 20 percent of the cost of full replacement.
2. Speed: When Raízen approached KLINGER for a service partnership, KLINGER performed on-site investigations, reverse engineered samples, performed quality testing, and provided production-ready replacements in under two months.
3. Scheduling: KLINGER was able to complete all repair and refurbishment during Raízen’s scheduled plant shutdown, with no loss of productivity.
4. Safety: KLINGER’s experts followed stringent protocols to remove all traces of hazardous fluids, ensuring employee and customer safety during caustic valve service.
5. Service: KLINGER used their own trucks to deliver needed parts to the refinery within the same day.
The repair process at Raìzen includes
Recovering the valves used in corrosive and erosive processes
Checking the status of internal metal components by using dye penetrant
Once checked and addressed the damage (if any), changing both, primary and secondary seals
Adjusting and leaving the valves as good as new
Finally, testing performance and leakage according to the end user’s requirements and norms
“This process requires that we follow safety protocols in order to assure the integrity of not only our personnel, but also for those persons who will operate the valves later on in the plant,” Pacheco explains. The Safety Protocol includes sending the valves in open position, with all their bolts and bonnets loose, in order to release any liquid or gas trapped in the free cavity of the plug.
Valves are tested as per ANSI FCI 70-2 Class VI Leakage Test and API 598. Both of these standards state that, for shell and back seat tests, no visible leakage is permitted. If the fluid is a liquid, there shall be no visible evidence of drops or wetting of the external surfaces (no visible leakage through the body, body liner, if any, and body-to-bonnet joint, and no structural damage).
High-pressure gasket KLINGERSIL C-4500 as the perfect replacement
Following the same service concept, KLINGER’s Industry Division offers Raìzen also comprehensive gasket consultancy. After an intensive series of inspections, testing and sampling, Jorge Nowak and Cristian Gonzales of the KLINGER sales team and gasket experts suggested replacing all existing system gaskets with the KLINGERSIL C-4500.
„This premium grade, high-pressure gasket is suited for use in high-temperature alkaline media and superheated steam systems, making it ideal for Raízen’s specialty chemical needs,“
says Jorge Nowak of KLINGER Argentina.
Jorge Nowak, Sales Executive (left) and Cristian Gonzales, Sales Manager (right), both of KLINGER Argentina’s Industry Division
A standard KLINGER product, this gasket is consistently kept in stock, and can be produced within three days. With a clear path in place, the KLINGER team got to work designing and cutting KLINGERSIL C-4500 gaskets to the custom sizes and shapes needed.
KLINGERSIL C-4500 Gasket
Keeping things flowing
“In our trade, we see ourselves as entrepreneurs, problem solvers, and technology leaders”,
Pacheco says. “We are a reliable partner for customers all over the world. In this case KLINGER’s Industry Division (gaskets) and Flow Control Solutions Division (valves) teamed up to deliver the ideal solution.” Then he adds, with a wink of the eye, quoting KLINGER’s Company motto: “We keep things flowing.”
On what time frame does KLINGER recommend valve repair and refurbishment? Valve life varies based on valve materials and fluid media, as well as on the frequency of actuation. Contact your KLINGER representative to discuss an appropriate inspection and maintenance schedule for your needs.
How does corrosive media affect valve performance? Corrosive media can wear down valve components over time, leading to loosening of the valve seat. Loosened particles can enter the piping system, causing potential blockages and damaging system integrity.
How does KLINGER develop gaskets to meet specific customer needs? KLINGER’s R&D team designs and cuts gaskets to spec using an inhouse pantograph machine. All customization is performed on site
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