Inspecting Distillation Towers Part 2: Revamps and Other Inspections


This article is based on a presentation given at the Kister Distillation Symposium at the AIChE Spring 2017 meeting in San Antonio, TX.

Process engineers are responsible for inspecting distillation columns. Follow this guide to prepare for a column revamp and other inspections.

Revamps of distillation columns involve replacing or modifying the internals. These changes are usually done on a planned basis and are implemented during shutdowns or turnarounds. In addition to revamps, some other inspections must also be conducted during turnarounds because of operational or material balance issues. Columns that include random and structured packing have their own inspection requirements.

Part 1 of this article (1) describes the role and responsibilities of process engineers for distillation column inspections during standard turnarounds. Here, Part 2 covers distillation column revamps and other inspections.

Author Bios: 

Doug Bouck

Doug Bouck is the Technical Consultant at Separation Solutions, Ltd. (Email: He entered the consulting field in 1999 after 32 years with SOHIO, BP, and BP Amoco, where his assignments included prestartup, startup, and lead technical service for a 150,000-bbl/day refinery integrated unit and process lead engineer on the prestartup and startup team for a thermal hydro­dealkylation (THDA)/benzene unit. He served as BP’s Process Technology Manager for distillation, treating, and energy from 1990 to 1993 in...Read more

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