Process heaters are a critical component in the refining of crude oil. Traditional means of monitoring these high temperature vessels have frequently been more art than science, often relying on highly subjective analyses and/or frequently inaccurate thermocouple data.
By utilizing an imaging radiometer specifically designed for heater inspections, valuable performance information can be obtained for operating heaters. In the hands of a knowledgeable engineering team, accurate infrared data can be utilized to significantly increase heater throughput while helping to ensure safe operation of the heater. This paper discusses the use of infrared thermography for online monitoring of operating crude heaters and the special challenges associated with this application.