Reglass or Replace? Glass-Lined Equipment Refurbishment Options
Keeping your process equipment optimized for peak performance while minimizing financial expenses are two objectives that don’t always go hand in hand. If you are using glass-lined components, you are well aware of the corrosion resistance benefits that make this equipment essential to many rigorous operations. You are also conscious that, despite its superior qualities, some processes lead to inevitable erosion of the glass lining. In addition to damage caused by harsh chemicals, situations can occur (usually when best practices aren’t followed) that can lead to mechanical or thermal damage of the lining.
Here’s the amazing thing about glass-lined equipment, though – it can be fixed! For minor issues that affect a small area, field repairs can be made in the form of a patch or plug (or a sleeve in the case of a damaged nozzle). For damage that covers a larger surface area or excessive wear to the lining in various locations, reglassing is often the most feasible option. The other choice you have is to replace the vessel. In this post we’ll discuss both options and help you determine what might be the best option for you.
Should I Have My Equipment Reglassed?
Before we get into why reglassing is so great, let’s define exactly what it is. Reglassing is the refurbishment process of taking an existing vessel that is damaged or worn, removing the old glass lining, making any necessary repairs to the steel substrate, and reapplying the glass. (If you’d like more detail on this, I’d suggest you read A Vessel’s Journey Through the Reglass Process). Here are some key points to consider when assessing if reglassing is the best option for you:
- The end product is equivalent in quality to a brand new vessel (and comes with the same warranty as a new vessel).
- In addition to repairs, additional refurbishments and upgrades can be made to your vessel during the reglassing process, including:
- Addition or removal of nozzles
- Replacement of jacket closure rings
- Addition of diaphragms
- OptiMix® Baffles – this wall-mounted baffle system can be welded to the vessel wall prior to the reglassing application and offers enhanced heat transfer, solids suspension and distribution, gas dispersion, gas flow rates, and mass transfer through improved mixing (for additional information on this innovative design visit our OptiMix webpage)
- The cost to reglass a vessel is nearly 60% the cost of buying a new one. Considering today’s common reactor sizes, a reglass order can provide a 4,000-gallon vessel at approximately the cost of a new 2,000-gallon vessel!
- The turnaround time to reglass a vessel is typically within weeks versus months to fabricate a new vessel.
- From a cash flow perspective, reglassing is considered by most companies as a maintenance expense which is often preferable over a new capital expenditure.
- It’s a green solution – if your company is looking to reduce their carbon footprint it’s a more environmentally friendly choice than having to dispose of your old equipment.
It’s also important to note that reglassing is not just an option for your glass-lined reactor. Other ancillary parts such as baffles, agitators and manway covers can also be reglassed!
Should I Replace My Vessel?
There are circumstances wen replacing your vessel is a more practical option than reglassing:
- Reglassing is great when problems unexpectedly arise with newer equipment, but it may not be your best choice if your vessel is older and has significant corrosion of the non-glass-lined steel surfaces. A preliminary vessel evaluation can be done to determine if your vessel is a candidate for reglassing or if it’s not in “reglassable” condition. (See the link at the bottom of this post if you are looking for more information about vessel inspection).
- Another good reason to replace your vessel is if you are increasing the scale of your process and require a bigger capacity to meet new production targets. Reglassing will leave you with the same size vessel as before so it’s obviously not a good choice if you are looking to scale-up your operation.
De Dietrich Process Systems offers an affordable, timely reglass service on our own vessels as well as on competitors’ equipment. Even if you’re on the fence about reglassing or replacing, reglassing is an affordable solution worth looking into. For a complimentary quote, fill out our Return Equipment Questionnaire to provide us with more information about your equipment so we can better assess if your vessel would qualify for this service.