Expansion Joints installed in Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units (FCCU) are exposed to very the demanding operating paramaters such as:

  • Highly aggressive and abrasive media
  • Extremely high temperatures
  • High pressure
  • Large movements

While being resistant to those operating parameters and at the same time flexible to absorb movements as well as ensure safe and smooth operation. Consequently, the FCCU Expansion Joints utilised in this application are the most technically advanced among all the existing Expansion Joint types. Therefore it is essential that the Expansion Joints is correctly and specifically engineered to the application. During the last decades Belman has enhanced its reputation as an experienced and innovative designer and manufacturer of high-end Expansion Joints and also high-end FCCU Expansion Joints. The design and manufacturing of FCCU Expansion Joints requires great expertise and capabilities. Only a handful of manufacturers on a worldwide scale is having the expertise to produce FCCU Expansion Joints, and being highly specialised in high end customised solutions Belman has joined this exclusive group.

Design range and scope of supply within FCCU Expansion Joints

FCCU Expansion Joints designed and manufactured by Belman are refractory lined and unlined expansion joints for fluid catalytic cracking. The FCCU Expansion Joints are typically ranging up to DN 1800, 27 metric tons in weight and up to 13,5 meters in length. The capability design range for Belman and FCCU Expansion Joints are:


DN 15-12.000


Up to 150 Barg / 2176 psi


-165°C to +1000°C



Austenitic stainless steels, High alloys, Duplex, Titanium, Hastelloy, Incoloy, Inconel, Alloy 59



EN 13445, EN 13480, EN 14917
ASME VIII, div.I, ASME B31.3
ASME B31.1, EJMA, AD 2000
and others on request

Test and Quality Control


Radiographic examination (X-ray), Helium leak testing, Pressure test, Air test, Dye penetrant test, Magnetic particle examination and many more






As delivery time was essential for the client, Belman responded by producing 3 FCC Expansion Joints in an exceptionally short delivery time of 12 weeks.


This FCC Expansion Joint weighs in at 30 tonnes due to the conditions requiring a large Expansion Joint, both in terms of length and dimension.


Highly engineered FCCU Expansion Joints for an oil refinery in Spain designed according to KBR specifications and the ASME B31.3:2010 design code.




Total Fina Elf • BP • OMV • Gunvor Petroleum (Prev. Kuwait Petroleum
Europoort B.v (Q8)) • Shell • Statoil • Rosneft • Enap • TOR • MOL • Chevron • Eni • Murco Petroleum Limited • Linde Ag • Qapco • Lukoil • Preem • Total • PKN Orlen • Saudi Aramco •

Ceylon Petroluem • Termo Petroleo • Repsol • Equinor (Statoil) • Novatek • Valero • China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) • Ineos • National Refinery • Valero • GE Oil & Gas • ExxonMobil • Sinopec • Petrogal • NOV • Ruhr Oel • KNPZ • Maersk Oil • Tatneft




Belman Expansion Joints for Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units are always designed according to client specifications and requests and of course are based on the selected standards or specifications from clients. Generally speaking Belman Expansion Joints for FCC can be divided into 3 main categories:

Cold wall
These Expansion Joints are designed with a refractory lining to ensure the outside wall temperature will not exceed the maximum. The wall is made from ordinary steel types. The lining is placed on the inside of the Expansion Joint. Due to the critical application very few companies possess the required know-how to carry out refractory work and Belman cooperates only with the most qualified and experienced providers. In addition only a few raw materials for the refractory are approved for this critical purpose. This makes us very selective in both the choice of cooperative partners/sub suppliers and materials.

Hot wall
These Expansion Joins are designed with the refractory lining on the inside as a thermal barrier. This predisposes an abrasion resistant lining, consisting of hex mesh and castable refractory materials. The purpose of this lining is to withstand abrasion from the catalyst flow medium, but thermal impact due to high temperatures normally requires the wall to be made from high temperature stainless or carbon steels.

These Expansion Joints are designed in the same format as the hot wall Expansion Joints but without the hex mesh and refractory lining. The wall is made from high temperature steels in order to resist the abrasive media and corrosion. Soft insulation materials (typically ceramic wool) is placed on top with the addition of a wall/cover. Although these Expansion Joints are also exposed to the very high temperatures, they do not carry catalyst in the media and this type is insulated on the outside with ceramic wool with steel covers mounted on top. Normally these are installed in the air inlet/outlet or in the transfer of gasses from the reactor. With the exception of a lining, the unlined Expansion Joints are very similar to the other types, as they operate under very similar severe working conditions. The shell is often made from highly alloyed materials.


The critical operating conditions create challenging requirements in regards to the design of the FCCU Expansion Joints. The Expansion Joint is a key component in the pipe system and the careful selection of bellow material is important. The selection of the most suitable material is often done according to customer requirements, the specification and/or based on experience.

Bellows forming
The bellows are normally formed either by punching or hydraulic forming.

2-ply testable bellows
Double ply or redundant ply bellows are widely used for FCCU applications. Simple double ply bellows utilises the strength of both plies to withstand the operation conditions. Redundant ply bellows are designed in such a way, that each ply will be able to take up the full load. So if the inner ply is leaking the outer ply will be able to take up the load and operate until the next shutdown.

An option is to use control rods which monitor the complete system. The control rods are mounted over the bellows and monitor the movements. If the insulation is worn out, the heat will increase and this higher temperature will result in larger movements.

Leak monitoring
This solution gives good monitoring options as well as increasing operational safety. The two-ply design is monitored through a leak indicator (pressure gauge monitor). A redundant ply design offers even better safety and monitoring options, as the unit stays under operation until the scheduled outage even in the event of a minor leakage. Redundant ply bellows are calculated in a way that the single layer would be able to carry the full load alone. In other words, if the inner layer fails, the outer ply would be able to secure operational safety of the Expansion Joint until a scheduled shutdown. Additionally, the Expansion Joints are fitted with a pressure gauge monitor indicating the failure of the inner ply.

Generally speaking there are two types of monitors:

  • Passive monitor
    If the inner ply fails the monitor is activated by the increasing pressure between the plies. This monitor will only indicate the failure in an inner ply.
  • Active monitor
    A vacuum is created between the inner and the outer ply before installing this monitor. If the inner ply fails the pressure between the plies will activate the monitor. If the outer ply fails the monitor is activated by the loss of vacuum. This monitor can detect failures on both the inner and the outer ply.


Refractory lining is an important element of FCCU Expansion Joints and FCCU components. Belman can arrange for the refractory lining and thereby deliver the complete FCCU Expansion Joint. However, should the client prefer, they can arrange for the refractory lining themselves. Belman work with the best companies within refractory lining to ensure high quality, suitable linings for the application. Thereby ensuring the smooth operation without any costly unexpected shutdown. Belman meets the refractory lining specifications from licensors specifications in the same way as for the design of the complete unit.

Refractory materials
Belman always selects the refractory lining specified and/or requested by the client such as eg. Resco.

Installation of refractory lining
The insulation and the refractory lining is provided in accordance with the specifications and agreements with the client. Belman can install by casting, gunning (pneumatic application), hand-placing or pneumatic ramming. Belman is experienced with the provision of anchoring systems such as hexmesh etc. We work only with best in class refractory lining companies that have the same levels of quality control and knowhow as Belman.


Man hole
To ease inspection of the inside of tthe pipeline. Belman can design and produce Expansion Joints with man holes. Both standard man holes or a customised man hole, like that illustrated, with refractory inside and a removable cover to save space and simplify transportation. As the man hole cover is very heavy, due mainly to the refractory lining, a smart opening and closing mechanism on the man hole was made – making the task of lifting and opening convenient and simple. Belman always designs according to the requirement and needs of the client.

Bellow protecting covers
These covers are normally specially designed for the FCCU Expansion Joints and are typically made from 2-3 mm thick plate. The covers are normally telescopic in design. With this installation the bellows are very well protected.

Pantographic linkages
These are used to equalise the movements between the bellows. Whereas the hinges absorbs the main load. Pantographic linkages are not designed to restrain pressure thrust.

Gimbal pantographs
Units that need to absorb lateral movement in two planes should be equipped with a gimbal pantograph. The center ring allows the joint to offset in the opposite plane to the pantograph without the linkage binding.

Control rods
Control rods are used to control and limit the movements of the bellows. They are not designed to restrain pressure thrust. In emergency cases the tie rods can even absorb the loads if needed.

Sampling nozzles
They are used for various reasons and are specified by the end user. Pipes penetrate the shell wall and can often interfere with other hardware. The nozzles can be placed at different locations according to the client specifications, design requirements and/or the need of the application.

Slotted hinges
They ensure that each bellows absorbs the same axial movement, however only in Universal Expansion Joints. In situations when the FCCU Expansion Joints are installed horizontally, hinges support the weight of connecting pipe of the two bellows (including medium weight and refractory lining).




Belman is known for high quality products and therefore our quality control is a fundamental part of our business. All processes during production designed by the Belman quality engineers, is strictly follow and implement according our procedures and instructions and carefully inspected by Belman quality inspectors. All checks and inspections are done according to the strict prevailing Belman quality control procedures which is part of the Belman ISO 9001 quality management system approved by DNV.


ITP & Test
Inspection test Plan generated by the quality management system makes sure that each step of manufacturing has the appropriate inspection points such as Hold and Witness points.

Based on manufacturing code, project specification, application, media, and eventual ship classification rules Belman performs a large variety of quality tests including destructive, non-destructive testing and proof testing. All tests can be witnessed by the 3rd part based on the customer and classification requirements.

  • Destructive test: such as life cycle test and burst test to validate the design, i.e., vessels and offshore platforms
  • Non-destructive test such as Visual testing, dye penetrant test, Radiography examination, Magnetic testing, ultrasonic testing, hardness testing and PMI for all applications
  • Proof tests: leak test with air, leak test with helium and former gas, hydrostatic pressure test for all application




This enable us to find you the optimum solution to your piping system.