Tube Tech Comment
Tube Tech MD and Technical Director, Mike Watson, said: “On other work we have carried out on reactor and mixing vessels that have suffered process problems, we have been able to deal with the contents fairly easily. In this case, however, because the vessel contents had cured into a rock solid mass, we had to come up with a cleaning method that would have enough power to break up the styrene without flooding the vessel with water while our operative was at work and that was the ultra-high pressure, low-volume, polymer-infused water. It’s quite ironic that polymer in the jetting stream was used to remove polymer. Once we got down to the drain at the bottom, of course, it wasn’t such a problem – but that took several days of tough work. Happily, the client got his vessel back into production quickly without the trauma and expense of replacement.”
“We were facing some tough decisions when we realised that manual removal with chipping hammers and chisels was having little impact on the mass of styrene in the vessel. In two weeks we had only managed to remove a couple of bucketfuls! Ordering a new vessel would have meant a wait of many months for a replacement and we would have had to carry out major construction works to get the old vessel out and install the replacement. When Tube Tech stated they had worked out a removal method that would save the vessel, we were sceptical it could be done, but were only too willing to let them try it. I have to say we were surprised and delighted with the results.”
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