Superior Vane Inlet Device

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Maximising (bulk) liquid separation & gas flow distribution

Page last modified
April 11 2024

In a facility processing multiphase fluids, most of the challenges that occur as the result of excessive liquid carry-over, can be traced back to the upstream vessel: (1) Poor gas-liquid separation at the inlet device, (2) Incorrect selection of the mist eliminator and its configuration for the particular service, and (3) Insufficient liquid handling capacity in the mist elimination section. A properly selected and designed inlet device is the most important vessel internal and a primary requirement to achieving a high overall gas-liquid separation efficiency and therewith minimise liquid carry-over.

Bulk liquid separation

In all process lines that handle a gas & liquid multiphase fluid, depending on the flow rates, fluid’s properties and line size, a certain flow regime will be established. Subject to this flow regime, a certain fraction of the liquid will become entrained in the gas phase as droplets with a certain droplet size distribution and the other fraction will remain present as bulk liquid. Hence, the bulk liquid can be considered to already being separated from the gas phase. It is therewith of utmost importance to ensure this multiphase flow enters the separation vessel as smoothly as possible and any increase of shear imposed to this fluid (e.g. through impingement) is to be avoided at all cost.

This is realised by using a Superior Vane Inlet Device: the mixture velocity upon entry to the vessel is significantly reduced by the large open area on both sides of the device. The fraction present as bulk liquid will exit the device between the vane blades and drop down to the liquid level under the gravity forces acting and the fraction present as droplets will be carried along with the gas. In terms of liquid removal, this is by far the largest contribution to the overall separation performance and which is achieved very effectively and efficiently!

Gas flow distribution

The Superior Vane Inlet Device has large open areas on both sides of the device. This not only reduces the mixture velocity significantly, its vanes also guide the gas evenly over its entire length smoothly into the gas-space of the vessel. This is a prerequisite for the gas to become evenly distributed over the entire cross-sectional area available for gas flow, as well as avoid adverse gas flow effects such as liquid re-entrainment, etc.

When the gas is evenly distributed, the best performance is achieved with respect to liquid droplet separation from the gas by gravity. The less liquid arrives at the mist elimination equipment, the better it is for the overall separation efficiency.

Pros & Limitations
First and foremost contributor to achieving the overall separation performance of the vessel
Maximises bulk liquid separation
Contributes to capturing large liquid droplets entrained in the gas and agglomerating them
First and foremost contributor to an even gas flow distribution in the vessel and on the face of the mist elimination equipment
Can also be applied in Flare KO Drum service
No limitation w.r.t. turndown (0 – 100%)
Minimal pressure drop
Tailor-made design to match the dimensions of the inlet nozzle and the vessel and pass through any man way size
Bolted installation of the components (no welding)
Can easily be applied to upgrade older inlet devices in service
Frequent maintenance is not required, but inspection should be performed during regular shutdowns
Better product quality
Savings due to maximising the mist elimination equipment’s performance resulting in increased liquid capture / recovery
Higher throughput achievable
More expensive than an inlet baffle plate, but the device pays its additional costs back in increased safety and reduced maintenance costs of downstream equipment
For brownfield vessel retrofit: vessel entry is required for installation
For brownfield vessel retrofit: existing welded inlet devices and supports may need to be modified (cold or plasma-cutting, as acceptable)
Specification Title Specification Description
Available sizes
Tailor-made to be compatible with inlet nozzle size.
304, 316, 321, 904
MOC (Duplex)
S31803, S32205, S32750
MOC (Alloys)
C276, 400, 625, 825
MOC (Other)
Other materials of construction upon request.


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In the time where separation technology companies have become absorbed by major service providers through the various mergers and acquisitions that took place over the last decade, we take pride in being a small enterprise.

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