Process Design Practices for Design, Optimisation and Troubleshooting

Topic Process Operations

CPD Hours 17.75

This is an IChemE approved training course and not delivered directly by the Institution. For more information about the course, contact the training provider directly.


Cilliers Kruger has a life time experience in process engineering ranging from operational support and troubleshooting, through process design, construction and manufacturing to commissioning and full production again.

This intensive course emphasizes engineering calculation, methods and techniques. It illuminates the fundamentals and practical tricks-of-the-trade of process equipment design. These design practices are put within the context of real operational environments – unlocking the ability of troubleshooting and problem solving from a fundamental understanding of how equipment works.

The course material collates a lifetime of comprehensive process equipment knowledge and information focused at the design of new equipment as well as the optimisation, troubleshooting and problem solving of equipment in operation.

Practices are related to engineering fundamentals and is therefore applicable for a wide range of industries.

Learning outcomes

  • An understanding of the role of process engineers, emphasising calculation methods and techniques to troubleshoot and design process equipment.
  • A working knowledge of practical design practices and calculation practices for the following process equipment: general design conditions, plant and equipment simulation, hydraulics, piping, flow orifices, control valves, vessels, towers, pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, fired heaters, relief valves and metallurgy

Who will benefit

Process engineers with one to five years’ experience as well as supervisors of process engineers working in both operational support (start-up, optimisation, troubleshooting) or process design (new or de-bottlenecking of existing equipment).

Course outline


Flash calculations; equations of state; mass, energy and entropy balances; simulation of typical equipment; phase equilibrium; immiscible systems; critical and retrograde phenomena.

Design conditions

Relief valve locations; design pressure, including typical margins, pumps shut off head, 10/13 rule; vacuum design pressure; test pressure; design temperature, including typical margins; MDMT; minimum pressurization temperature; flanges, including type, facing and rating; pipe specs; pipe spec breaks.


Pipe sizing techniques; equipment nozzle sizing; typical equipment pressure drops; hydraulic cases; hydraulic circuits.


Pressure drop calculation; Incompressible flow; compressible flow; two-phase flow; two-phase flow regime maps; friction factors; pipe roughness; insulation and tracing; hot taps and stopples; hand valves.

Flow orifices

Types; orifice construction, taps, straight run requirements and wiring diagram; orifice sizing; beta ratio limits; orifice/nozzle equations; choke flow; two-phase flow; discharge coefficients; expansion factors; permanent pressure drop; flow correction.

Control valves

Components; body types, size, trim, action, direction and characteristics; actuator type and action; positioners; failure mode; installation; wiring diagram; valve sizing; equations for liquids, gases and two-phase flow.


Types; sizing and rating techniques and equations; level configurations; vessel nozzles and heads; vertical and horizontal vessel layout; inlet piping; elevation and supports; volumes.


Simulations, tray types; efficiency; column sizing criteria; jet and downcomer flooding; derating factor; tray spacing; tower layout; tray and piping layout at feeds, draw offs, transitions and reboilers; types and layout of reboilers/condensers.

Pumps and compressors

Typical pump/compressor components and types; suction/discharge piping; stuffing box pressure; typical pump/compressor curves; spillback options; NPSHA and NPSHR; seal systems; horsepower; capacity/pressure control; surge control; drivers.


Heat transfer basics; typical U values; temperature difference; FT factor; approach; heatrelease curves; pressure drop; TEMA types and guidelines; tube and pass arrangements; baffles; typical layouts.


Heater types; heater components; radiant/convection sections; sootblowing; decoking; dryout and startup/shutdown; burners; fuel piping and shutdown systems; simulation practices; efficiency; excess air/oxygen; flue gas dew point and ash corrosion; process inlet piping.

Relief valves

Set, accumulated and back pressures; relief valve types; ASME 1 & 8 issues; relief valve sizing; inlet and outlet piping; relief cases and loads; instrumentations and double jeopardy.


Design life; common refinery materials and ASTM designations; refining corrosion mechanisms, including high temperature hydrogen, sulphur and hydrogen sulphide corrosion; HIC; PWHT; CUI; temper embrittlement; flue ash corrosion; PTSCC and CSCC; non-destructive testing.

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