Case story


Oil refinery


ASME B31.3 & Axens specifications

To help out a client in need, Belman reduced delivery time of 3 FCC Expansion Bellows to only 12 weeks. Belman designed and manufactured 3 refractory lined FCC expansion joints to suit the application at an oil refinery in the CIS. The expansion joints will be placed around the reactor and will carry mainly spent, regenerated, recirculation catalyst and flue gas. A short delivery time was essential for this project and Belman responded by producing all 3 units in an exceptionally short delivery time of 12 weeks. Belman made this possible by working around the clock and by choosing road transport to ensure the client received a fast, flexible and cost-efficient delivery. The rapid delivery was made without compromising on quality, documentation and project requirements.


Product quality and quality assurance fully maintained

The materials, welding and test procedures were delivered according to ASME B31.3:2010. All 3 expansion joints were subjected to extensive NDT testing including 100% visual, 100% radiographic, 100% dye penetrant and hydraulic testing (however the hydraulic test was not made on the unit with refractory lining). Naturally the delivery took place with full traceability of all materials.


Belman involved at the design stage

The project concerned the modernisation of an old FCC unit. However, Belman started the project from scratch based on drawings of the current system. The clients engineering team additionally described the problems experienced when operating with the old solution, which mainly concerned the big movements resulting in sensitive nozzles. The plant requested Belman to find a suitable method to relieve the stresses placed on the nozzles. The solution was found in close cooperation with the client and based on Axens specifications, this was further combined with Belman’s experience and UOP’s practices. This mean the same approach as UOP by offering 2 ply bellows, whereby one layer is able to bear the full load. On the basis of our technical proposal the client (an engineering contractor) issued the project specification. As part of Belman’s engineering for this project we included Finite Element Analysis (FEA), bellow and part calculations and analysis of the stresses in the pipe line and the resultant loads on vessel nozzles.


Critical design parameters

Due to the high temperatures, one of the expansion joints was refractory lined and the two other expansion joints were designed with soft insulation on the bellow. Heavy stresses on the bellows caused by high pressure, temperature and large movements make this component vulnerable, for this reason the expansion joints bellows were made from Inconel 625 LCF. The bellows were manufactured by punch forming.


Two ply testable bellows

A design criteria required that the two-ply bellows had to be calculated so that the single layer would be able to carry the full load in the event of operating alone. In other words, if the inner layer failed, the outer ply would be able to secure operational safety of the expansion joint until a scheduled shutdown. Additionally, the expansion joints were fitted with a pressure gauge to indicate any possible failure of the inner ply of the bellow.


Experienced in Refractory Lined Expansion Joints

Belman is highly experienced in producing refractory lined expansion joints for both FCC and other critical applications in various types of plants. Upon request we can send reference lists for FCC expansion joints, refractory lined expansion joints for FCC and other industries, including also brick lined expansion joints.


The FCCU expansion joints has various design and have the following design parameters:

Dimension: DN 1100 • Installation length: 8118 mm • Design pressure: 3,92 barg • Design temperature: 552°C • AX: +0/-80 mm • LA: +/-350 mm • AN: +/-0,5° • Bellow: 2.4856 • Welding ends: SA-516 gr. 70 • Intermediate pipe: 1.0425 • Design code: ASME B31.3 & Axens specifications

Dimension: DN 1100 • Installation length: 5606 mm • Design pressure: 3,92 barg • Design temperature: 552°C • AX: +0/-80 mm • LA: +0/-50,4 mm • Bellow: 2.4856 • Design code: ASME B31.3 & Axens specifications

Dimension: DN 1100 • Installation length: 5691 mm • Design pressure: 3,92 barg • Design temperature: 650°C • AN: +0/-4° • Bellow: 2.4856 • Design code: ASME B31.3 & Axens specifications


  • Guaranteed short on-time delivery
  • Able to meet tight time schedule
  • The rigth Expansion Bellow solution in agreed time
  • Benefit from the considerable know-how of an experienced manufacturer
Customised FCC expansion joint
FCC pipeline expansion bellow
Special refractory lined FCC bellow
FCC compensators produced in europe
Two ply testable bellows for FCCU

TECHNICAL information

  • Technical information on Fluid Catalytic Cracking Expansion Bellows (FCCU)  from Belman is available in the
    Belman FCCU Catalogue
  • References and case stories of designs made by Belman
    can be seen in the
    Belman FCCU Catalogue


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 • KNPZ • Maersk Oil • Tatneft • 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 •




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.


Interesting compact design, yet still having refractory lining, leak detection monitors, 2-ply testable bellows and many more features.



(+45) 7515 5999

[email protected]