Heat Exchanger Cleaning in Cat Cracker Unit Reduced from Days to Hours

In-Situ Cleaning Reduced Downtime and Carbon Emissions

Summary

Experience gained by Tube Tech in a series of heat exchanger cleaning projects for BP enabled the exchanger descaling specialists to clean one of the refinery’s most important straight tube bundles in six days instead of nine.

Cleaning its smaller sister bundle was reduced to three hours from the previous three days. At the same time, Tube Tech delivered a consistently high level of cleanliness.

Challenge

  • Previous cleaning of these two bundles had involved pulling them out for offline cleaning which had led to additional downtime.
  • Earlier attempts to remove deposits specific to the catalytic cracker had never been wholly successful.

Solution

  • Tube Tech carried out the first in-situ heat exchanger cleaning which enabled the refinery  to avoid the cost and effort of pulling up to 10 tons of bundles.
  • As well as the reduction in downtime, this approach also lengthens the life of the expensive tube bundles which can deteriorate when they are removed for cleaning.
  • The improved quality of cleanliness in both exchangers was achieved through Tube Tech’s innovative Flexifeed™ system and turbine technology.
  • This successfully removed deposits specific to the catalytic cracker – a coke covered with a sludgy oil.
  • With the front and back covers removed, a consistent standard was accomplished right through the tubes.
  • The overall success of speed and cleaning demonstrated Tube Tech’s pledge to keep on improving results.

Client Comment

The Refinery Planning Team Leader said: “Tube Tech’s system produces brilliant results. It saves on mechanical work and cranage as well as cutting down on the cost of spare parts such as bolts and gaskets. Previously, the tubes were not completely cleaned through so there were blockages remaining. Therefore, as performance reduced much faster, cleaning was needed more frequently.”

 

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