Modifications to the Catalytic Cracking Reactor

Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Shell Canada, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies, decided to replace the internal components of its catalytic cracking reactor at their Montreal East Refinery – MER (H=45m; Ø=6 m). However, the conventional method of cutting an opening through the side of the vessel for access and dismantling also requires the removal of some of the refractory, a lengthy task.

As a creative alternative, Genesys proposed to access the components from the bottom of the reactor via adequately sized openings cut through its support skirt. The technical challenge reside in maintaining the vessel’s mechanical integrity while under load and with a 5m X 3m structural cut out.

Genesys’ team used a finite element approach in its modelling and analysis of the vessel modifications. This technique was also used in the design of a reinforcement structure satisfying the ASME code while providing a safe work environment.


  • Year of realization : 2008 – 2009
  • Project value : 5 Million USD

Services offered

  • Identification of novel alternative approaches
  • 3D modelling of the catalytic cracking reactor and regenerator
  • Finite element analysis
  • Design of structural reinforcements
  • Project management
  • On-site technical assistance
  • Provide dismantling and assembly/ reassembly procedures