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Cetek Ceramic Coatings for Fired Heater Efficiency

Cetek Ceramic Technologies for Fired Heaters and Reformers

Integrated Global Services (IGS) is the market leader in the design and application of Cetek Ceramic Coatings for process tubes and refractory within CRUs, DCUs, SMRs and other fired heaters in Malaysia.

Cetek Ceramics Technologies increase fired heater productivity, maintain a steady-state fireside environment at the same time yielding typically less than a one-year return on investment.

Features of Cetek Ceramic Coatings

Integrated Global Services (IGS) apply Cetek coatings across the globe. Numerous fired heater applications have been completed over 20 years. Process engineers typically see a 4-10% increase in fired heater efficiency, leading to millions in fuel savings and increased profits. Reduced harmful emissions help asset owners and operators meet current and emerging environmental legislations.

Applications of Cetek Ceramic Coatings

1. High Emissivity Coatings for Heater Refractory Surfaces

Uncoated refractory linings reflect ~55% of the radiant energy, preventing it from reaching the process tubes. Cetek coatings increase refractory linings’ emissivity, so only 8% of the radiant energy is reflected and 92% is absorbed and re-radiated.

Cetek pioneered the use of high emissivity ceramic coatings applied to the refractory surfaces in radiant sections of fired heaters and tubular reformers. It has now become an accepted means of improving the efficiency of radiant heat transfer, leading to energy savings as well as environmental and reliability benefits.

In fired heaters and tubular reformers, the necessary thermal energy to drive the endothermic processes is provided by burning a fuel/air mixture and transferred to the process by three heat transfer mechanisms: radiation, convection and conduction. The primary means of heat transfer is by radiation.

In the radiant section of a fired heater, much of the radiant energy from the flame/flue gas is transferred directly to the process/catalyst tubes; however, a significant proportion interacts with the refractory surfaces. The mechanism of this interaction has an appreciable effect on the overall efficiency of radiant heat transfer. A major factor in determining the radiant efficiency is the emissivity of the refractory surface.

At the process heater operating temperatures, new ceramic fiber linings, for example, have emissivity values of around 0.4. Insulating fire brick (IFB) and castable materials have emissivity values around 0.6. These materials have been designed with structural considerations and insulating efficiency as the primary requirements. They tend not to handle radiation in the most efficient way. Cetek Ceramic Coatings, however, with emissivity values above 0.9, have been designed specifically to supplement the radiation characteristics of the refractory surfaces.

2. Ceramic Coatings for Process Tubes

Oxidation, Corrosion and Carburization Protection

Cetek Ceramic Coatings provide a durable, protective, thin-film layer on the outer surfaces of process tubes, which prevents oxidation, corrosion, and carburization of the metal and maintains the tube thermal conductivity coefficient close to new tube conditions.

Oxidation and scale formation on the outer surfaces of process tubes reduces conductive heat transfer, resulting in low production rates and/or excessive fuel consumption. Cetek’s High Emissivity Ceramic Coating system ensures optimum maximum conductive heat transfer for the process.


Layers of fouling/scale prevent accurate determination of tube metal temperature, reducing the reliability of those measurements. Because the thin layer of Ceramic Coating provides a consistent temperature differential between the outside surface and the metal tube, the reliability of tube metal temperature determination is improved significantly.

The coatings are applied by Cetek’s highly trained, experienced technicians, following thorough cleaning of the tube surfaces. Coating systems are available for every type of metal substrate and process temperature.

Before Ceramic Coating Applied

After Ceramic Coating Applied

3. Dual Emissivity Coating Optimizes Heat Flux Distribution to Prevent Heater Tube Coking

Cetek’s patented Dual Emissivity Ceramic Coating technology manipulates and optimizes the heat flux distribution in DCU heaters which would otherwise be susceptible to coking inside tubes.

The process consists of the application of coatings to the refractory. We also remove all tube scale, and install a uniform ceramic coating system to the tube surfaces.

This dual emissivity coating system effectively shields the tube surfaces in high heat flux areas but increases heat absorption in lower heat flux areas. This prevents rapid coke formation while at the same time eliminating uneven scale formation, thus allowing accurate tube metal temperature measurements.

Cetek Ceramic Coating Benefits

1. Ceramic Tube Coatings

  • Elimination of Oxidation & Scale Formation
  • Elimination of Carburization (External)
  • Elimination of Corrosion (External)
  • Reduced Tube Surface Temperature
  • Lower Bridgewall Temperature
  • Coating Life up to 10 years (depending on service)
  • Increased Conductive Heat Transfer Efficiency
  • Improved Reliability Measurement of Tube Temperature by IR

         – Increased Capacity/Severity (3.0% to 8.0%)

         – Energy Savings (3.0% to 8.0%)

2. Ceramic Refractory Coatings

High Emissivity Coating (e=0.92)
  • Increase radiant heat transfer efficiency resulting in energy savings or capacity increase
  • Lower Thermal NOx & CO2
  • Lower Bridgewall Temperature

3. Encapsulation Coatings (Neutral Emissivity)

  • Prevents surface recrystallization maximizing service life
  • Prevents downstream migration of dust/fouling to convection section & SCR catalysts screens.

Case Studies

Case Studies
Efficiency Increases in Catalytic Reformer Refractory Coating Achieves 4% Fuel Savings for an Ammonia Reformer
14% Increase In Throughput After Cetek Coating Facilitating the Production of a High-Octane Reformate
Production Rates Increased in a Hydrogen Reformer Bridgewall Temp. Lowered & Run-Length Increased
Dual Emissivity Coatings Extend Coker Heater Run Length Naptha Reformer Problems
Improving Radiant Efficiency in Catalytic Reformers Extending Tube Life and Improving Efficiency


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