Vertical Falling Film evaporator cleaning system improves safety

Robotic cleaning system avoids dangerous man entry


An international synfuels plant was referred to Tube Tech because of its ability to solve seemingly impossible challenges. Previous water jetting contractors had experienced an incident during cleaning whilst inside the vessel, hence a safer more effective cleaning system was required to clean the client’s falling film evaporator.


  • Over 2000 falling film evaporator tubes, 18m from ground level
  • Calcium sulphate scale approx. 2mm thick with patches of blocked tubes
  • Remote cleaning technology – non-man entry technique essential
  • Local water pressure jetting contractors were taking months to clean
  • Accidents occurring during traditional water jetting processes



  • Tube Tech created a new robotic concept – the FastIndex Evaporator cleaning system.
  • FastIndex system involves multiple, pre-programmed, computer controlled indexing arms, moving set distances across the tube face “from below” using super high water pressure jets combined with de-scaling heads, operating in-house designed 4000 bar cleaning tips.
  • Explosion proof cameras were used to ensure precise location of jets and to simultaneously inspect.
  • A complete falling film evaporator mock-up was built in UK and live video of Tube Tech’s progress was shot throughout the trial period.

Tube Tech comment

Mike Watson, Technical Director: “These are the kind of challenges that we love here at Tube Tech. The client presented us with a serious challenge where safety was paramount which encouraged us to push the boat out to develop a brand new robotic technology for falling film evaporator tube cleaning which will benefit many other clients in the future who have man entry safety issues when cleaning vertical heat exchangers as found in desalination plants etc.”



For more information or to discuss your cleaning challenge call us on +44 1268 786999 or e-mail, alternatively click here to fill out our contact form.