FEA Model of Base Skid
FEA Model of Base Skid


We performed finite element analysis on a Vapor Recovery Unit (VRU) base skid to determine structural integrity to ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code.

The skid package is used to recover process vapor for use as fuel gas – for a plant near Fort McMurray, North Alberta Canada. The equipment included motors, compressors, a separator, heat exchanger, instrumentation and controls, piping and valves, and miscellaneous components.

The combined VRU Base Skid and Utility Building entity is approximately 55 ft in length, 23 ft in width and 18 ft in height. Design criteria for the base skid structure was obtained in part from the 2006 Alberta Building Code.

Three-dimensional finite element analyses were performed for various individual and combined load cases. The resulting axial tensile and compressive forces and stresses as well as bending moments and bending stresses from these analyses were compared to corresponding allowable stresses according to design criteria. Modal analysis was also performed, excluding the piping and the surrounding building.

Piping is considered in the skid analysis with its weight contribution and other loads that apply to the skid (reactions to external loads and thermal loads). Piping materials are either carbon steel or 316 SS.

From the analysis, it was concluded that additional supports were required. The final design was found to be within allowable stress criteria.


O’Donnell Consulting performs design and analysis of skids and components to codes including API, AWS and ASME.

Give us a call to discuss your engineering challenges.

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Finite Element Analysis
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