Reactor Equipment and Piping Layout


Reactors are used in processing facilities to contain catalysts that promote chemical transformation of feeds or as agents to remove unrequired materials from feeds.

Reactors are generally vertical steel hollow vessels and often operate under very high temperatures and pressures.

One of the principal layout features of the reactor is the requirement for catalyst loading and unloading.

The use of catalyst charged vessels are essential to modern processes and have found widespread application in the production of chemical and refinery products.

There are many catalyst charged vessels within the category of reactors, mainly because their characteristics and layout requirements are similar.

Examples of these are de-sulfurizers, methanators, and guard chambers.

Catalyst Loading / Unloading

All reactor piping shall be clear of the access areas of loading / unloading of catalyst. Reactor with top man way nozzle for catalyst charging is provided with a flanged elbow Nozzle on this man way to connect outlet piping. This flanged elbow nozzle is to facilitate spool removal during catalyst charging.

The catalyst unloading / dump nozzle elevation of reactor bottom is to be decided based on the provision of a catalyst shaker / vibrator equipment to be bolted onto this unloading nozzle.


Platforms provided around reactors and for access to piping and valves shall generally be supported from separate structure.
However the platform can be connected to vessel shell if welding is allowed and cleats are provided.

Piping Supports

Generally reactor shell clips / cleats are to be avoided.
Piping connected to reactor top outlet nozzle needs to be additionally supported from structure. (This support acts temporarily) since this connection to man way is dismantled during catalyst charging.

Regeneration Piping

Swing elbows type arrangement is preferred on the regeneration piping from reactor bottom as against valves and bypasses. This eliminates stress problems to some extent since the used hot line and unused cold line are not permanently interconnected.

Hydrogen Service

All valves provided on reactor hydrogen service lines be it inline, vent, drain and instrument valves shall always be double blocked type. Also snuffing steam rings shall be provided around hydrogen service flanges size over 12″.

Ring Joint Flanges

For reactor process piping where spec. calls for ring joint flanges the piping shall be arranged so as to allow for valve removal.

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