Equipment and Piping Layout : Air Cooled Heat Exchangers


Air cooled heat exchanger is a most economical way of cooling down distillation tower overhead vapors in large quantities.


Air coolers shall be located over the main pipe rack or on technological structure.  They are located near to the distillation tower they serve.  Pumps handling hydrocarbons above the temperature of 230 deg.C or C4 and Lighters should not be installed underneath the air fin coolers.

Blind Floor

For air coolers located on technological structure/rack, blind floor shall be provided to trap any leaks from air cooler. Blind floor is generally not required if pumps handling hydrocarbons or equipment are not placed below them.

Air Cooled Heat Exchanger

Supporting Structure

The width of the structure from where Air cooler assembly is supported shall be about 2.0 m more than the Air cooler tube bundle length so that proper supporting of inlet/outlet piping manifolds can be done from the main members of pipe rack/technological structure to transfer piping load to main structural members.


Davit shall be provided for lowering the gear boxes etc. along with mobile trolley with retractable jacking arrangement of suitable load carrying capacity.


Motor maintenance platform with 2100 mm headroom to be provided below the air cooler. Platform along the inlet and outlet nozzles to be provided with ladders from grade.


Inlet and outlet piping shall be symmetrical as per PID requirement.


Crane access should be provided to lift the entire air cooler.

Pipe Supports

For supporting of piping connected to Air Coolers, in addition to the information from stress analysis verifications, the following general criteria must be considered :

  1. Provide the spaces necessary between the various bundles to insert, when requested, the additional supporting structures for piping supports.
  2. Take into account the dismantling of bundles, without having to disassemble parts the support structures or to put up temporary supports.

When additional structures for piping supports are foreseen, the information on their position and loads will be communicated to Mechanical Depertment for the transmission to the Manufacturer.

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