Laser mapping is a well-accepted technique for obtaining surface profiles of coke drum walls to identify bulges. The resulting data is used to track and trend vessel distortions and mapped to illustrate the shape of the vessel from a base radius and or previous inspection. Monitoring the development and evolution of these distortions over time in an accurate and consistent manner has been demonstrated to be an effective tool for predicting bulging induced crack in a coke drum. In this paper, the authors discuss several aspects of the laser mapping technique such as scanner positioning, data noise, laser range accuracy, missing data and the repercussions in the assessment of bulging. The effects on second derivative-based analysis are covered in detail and the use of techniques to reduce the effects of data noise and sensor motion are discussed.

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