How Clean is Clean?
The age old question which when asked… is rarely ever answered
Static heat transfer processing equipment such as shell and tube heat exchangers, fired heaters, reactors, etc., have all been cleaned by one method or another in their lifetime. These methods invariably include high-pressure water jetting and chemicals of some type.
Unlike the marine industry , surface preparation/ blast cleaning provide a Swedish blasting standards code booklet eg SA2 (free from loose particulate) up to SA3 (white steel) etc to accurately describe the level of cleanliness / surface profile required to achieve an acceptable coating life expectancy.
By contrast, the refining and petrochemical industry, who arguably have more square metres of fouling and corroding steel surfaces than the global marine industry, has no such standard. The closest it gets is to request a standard suitable to undertake IRIS or eddy current tube bore inspection.
Tube Tech’s niche is to achieve IRIS/ Eddy inspection standard on critical exchangers to avoid critical path where traditional methods have failed previously. Traditional water jet contractors are generally asked to clean to production standard or as clean as possible, but how do they measure that other than being told to re clean it over and over again?
The only “general” inspection standard globally being applied is that of a quick visual down a number of tubes by the client. However this will “generally” mean that the millions of tubes cleaned with the “general” 1000 bar water may have a passageway however the hydrocarbon scale deposit, that will always remain within the tube after such a treatment, will adversely impact industry’s bottom line on many levels such as:
- Heat transfer
- Production throughput
- Energy consumption
- Under scale corrosion
- Asset integrity
Work with us to put a true dollar value against each one of these and more besides and you will be very surprised how much you could stand to gain. We haven’t even mentioned a refinery’s inability to clean the external surfaces / shell side of exchangers, fired heaters and such like.
If ever there was an apt cliche for not addressing decades of such oversight then “money down the drain” would be it.
This is an area which refineries really need to look at more closely. At Tube Tech, over the past 30 years we have developed unique working methods on both a technical and administrative level that when applied, extrapolate and link quantifiable benefits to bespoke technologies that deliver a guaranteed win win for both client and contractor every time. The source of haemorrhaging profits often comes quite simply from a lack of knowledge, so if the industry is to improve its profits it needs to begin by learning more about the limitations of technology rather than what one “thinks” it can do as sold by manufacturers and traditional contractors alike.
Our cleaning service focuses on challenging current methods and procedures to achieve cleaning standards that use proprietary technologies that unlock these previously untapped and often spectacular pools of commercial, environmental opportunities and safety benefits.