Major European refinery selects Tube Tech International to bring their largest heat transfer asset back to original condition

Tube Tech International was commissioned by one of Netherland’s leading oil refineries to robotically remove fouling from their furnace during a 2017 turnaround.

The results were impressive and published as part of a project-close out report by the company.


Key improvements included:

  • As new convection bank section performance
  • Post hydrogen furnace cleaning achieved an overall result of +0.9 Gcal/h
  • Steam to carbon ratio decreased to 2.8 mol/mol with methane slip close to 6.0%
  • SMR outlet temperature restored to 840c, as after revamp in 2014
  • HP steam production increased by ~1,5 t/h
  • H02 inlet temperature decreased by ~10 C

The client commented:

“The performance of the heat transfer asset is almost as good as new, which is what process engineering was hoping to achieve. The best improvements have been achieved on the H04 and, if I remember correctly, this is the unit where Tube Tech removed a lot of fouling from between the tubes.”

Tube Tech’s robotic cleaning technology addresses the issue of limited access and visibility to remove significantly harder and voluminous fouling than any traditional off or online lancing method, as evidenced by the remarkable post-clean performance results.

Operated by remote control, Tube Tech’s robot, unlike any other global system, penetrates deep in between every single row of tube, whether finned, bare or studded, removing even concrete like deposits, maintaining 360-degree tube surface contact throughout the clean.

The robot is pre-programmed against the client’s technical drawings, ensuring each row is precision cleaned. Tube Tech’s robot negotiates convection banks vertically and horizontally.

The built-in camera delivers real time verification and view of the cleaning process, providing comprehensive evidence that can be shared with stakeholders as required.