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Steinmüller Africa: leader in heat exchange technology for the oil and gas industry

FOR over 60 years, Steinmüller Africa has been a leading steam and high-pressure piping expert. The company leverages its extensive experience and in-house design and engineering to provide customised industrial shell and tube heat exchangers for sub-Saharan Africa’s oil and gas industry. The industry uses industrial heat exchangers for preheating, heating, steam generation, crude oil cooling, oil refining, and heat transfer.

Steinmüller Africa offers a comprehensive range of thermal, heat, sizing, and mass transfer services tailored to the industry. Its expertise includes pressure drop analysis and vibration design, ensuring that its heat exchanger solutions meet the stringent demands of oil and gas operations.

Industrial heat exchangers play an important role in improving the operational efficiency and safety of oil and gas processing plants. Their primary function is to transfer heat from one medium to another without the fluids coming into contact with each other.

This is necessary to maintain optimal thermal conditions, improve energy efficiency, minimise operational costs, and decrease environmental impact by facilitating efficient heat transfer.

Steinmüller Africa designs and fabricates turnkey industrial shell and tube heaters at its state-of-the-art facilities in Pretoria West and Sasolburg. It designs, manufactures, and installs industrial heat exchangers that meet the Heat Exchange Institute (HEI) and the Tubular Exchanger Manufacturers Association (TEMA) stringent design codes, as well as various health and safety standards.

The company’s industrial heat exchangers are optimised to provide the smallest environmental footprint as well as the lowest mass for the given heat transfer duty.
This is achieved through its in-house developed solutions for material selection and heat and mass transfer coefficients. Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) and Radiographic Testing (RT) are used to detect flaws and examine the internal structure of the equipment accurately, ensuring its integrity before it is installed.

A unique aspect of Steinmüller Africa’s production capability is its licence to conduct explosive welding for industrial heat exchangers. Using explosive welding for the tube to the tube sheet joint and explosive expansion for the tube to the tube sheet joint, this allows for an extremely neat, clean, and safe weld, eliminating the risk of a tube bursting during operations and harming personnel and equipment.

The same method is applied to the headers on the header-type heaters, speeding up the joining of these components and reducing the manufacturing period.

Steinmüller Africa uses a 3D parametric model that allows engineers and designers to create and edit 3D equipment models before they are built. It also allows them to explore multiple design variations, enabling streamlining of the iteration process up to ten times faster. This allows engineers to optimise the manufacturing sequence, highlighting areas of concern for welders and boilermakers.

One of Steinmüller Africa’s advancements is procuring new tube and pipe bending machines that allow both sides of a tube to be bent at once. The company also uses the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s eNtsa laboratory, enabling them to use friction welding for heat exchanger nipples to the headers. This method, like explosive welding, offers a clean, fast, and safe weld with no defects and has the potential to replace the current arc welding method found in the industry.

Steinmüller Africa is the only Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) certified manufacturer of heavy, large, and high-pressure equipment in South Africa thereby enabling it to export its high-quality products to the European Union.

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