Dehydrator Descaled, Cleaned & Inspected

Fouled exchanger tubes cleaned in chemical company

900 fouled exchanger tubes in a dehydrator at the UK plant of an international chemical company was not responding to traditional 15000 psi high pressure water jetting over 10 shifts. Due to the dehydrator performance dropping off prematurely and unexpectedly the client felt that the traditional high pressure water jetting was no longer removing enough deposit.

The Challenge

  • The 97m x 51mm steel tubes were coated in a deposit with high silica SIO2 levels.
  • The deposits were extremely hard and acted as an abrasive during the cleaning process eroding cleaning heads and lances.
  • As a result safety procedures and equipment needed to be implemented to protect the water jetting operators.
  • The scale was believed to be 2mm thick and although the dehydrator was used for ammonium nitrate the environment was not deemed hazardous.


  • The removal of this difficult silica scale deposit is exactly the kind of challenge Tube Tech are renowned for solving.
  • Using a multi-system approach Tube Tech not only de-scaled, but polished and inspected the dehydrator in just 6 shifts.
  • The unique SafeFlex system, with multiple cleaning and de-scaling attachments was used.
  • This bespoke equipment delivers variable pressure and volume up to 40,000 psi @ 26 l.p.m. ideally suited to the hard deposit within the dehydrator.
  • Tube Tech also used the SafetyBoss, an innovative safety system which prevents flexible lances leaving the tube unintentionally which was a risk due to the abrasive nature of the dehydrator deposit.
  • Tube Tech also used their VideoScope CCD Chip camera inspection system to view the severity of the scale and record cleanliness of the tubes after completion.
  • The problems caused by the dehydrator were causing substantial production losses which were immediately rectified following the Tube Tech cleaning service.

Tube Tech Comment

Scott Donson, Technical Sales Manager: “Yet another difficult challenge where traditional approaches have failed and which Tube Tech relishes. Our ability to offer a variety of cleaning systems plus a tailored inspection service means that removing tough deposits is no longer a reason for production losses”.

Images and videos associated with this project are available via Tube Tech International
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