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Infrared Inspection Program for Fired Heater Mechanical Integrity

Infrared (IR) thermometry has been used for forty years to monitor tube metal temperatures in refining and chemical furnaces. The application of IR thermometry has often been characterized as highly operator dependent and therefore developed a very poor reputation in the industry from poorly applied and interpreted results. There is no question that when absolute accuracy is unimportant, IR thermometry has proven to be an excellent diagnostic tool for detecting tube hot spots from internal fouling and heat distribution non-uniformity in fired heaters. However, to capture the full capability of IR thermometry, a proven methodology is required to measure accurate temperatures in a repeatable process.


(1) Saunders, Peter, 2007, Radiation Thermometry: Fundamentals and Applications in the Petrochemical Industry, first edition: SPIE, Bellingham, WA.

(2) Hill, T.T., 2014, “Achieving a Comprehensive Fired Heater Health Monitoring Program,” Inspectioneering Journal, 20(5), pp 24-26.

(3) Hill, T.T., 2016, “Fired Heater Health Monitoring and Reliability Management in Challenging Times,” Inspectioneering Journal, 22(2), pp 2-8.

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