Novel water jetting system deflects pressure from glass lining

Summary

Tube Tech teams are used to cleaning a wide range of industrial equipment but some need to be approached with greater care than others. The No 1 reactor vessel an Advance Materials complex was glass lined, a scenario that presented its own particular set of problems.

Problem

The client produces advanced adhesives including the world renowned brand name Araldite. Among many industrial applications for the adhesives is in the bonding of wind turbine blades. The client wanted to switch the No 1 reactor vessel to mixing and storing a different product and a complete clean was required to ensure no cross-contamination. It is one of a number of reactors at the plant in which resins are mixed and stored under pressure. The emptying of the previous product in the reactor had left a tenacious deposit and it was essential that it be removed. Because of the potential fragility of the glass lining within the vessel, the maximum allowable water pressure was limited to 200 BAR. Tube Tech’s teams could not risk entering to tackle the residue which was up to one centimetre in thickness.

Internal view of glass vessel Morning cleaning information

Solution

The client required a complete clean of the No 1 reactor vessel and removal of the deposit which was in an even skin but in patches around the container. In view of being unable to enter the vessel, the Tube Tech teams worked from outside using semi-automated pressure lances at a remarkable 2100 BAR water pressure but used in a novel manner whereby the water was deflected and skimmed the surface so that the glass lining did not take the full brunt of the pressure. This method shaved the skin off rather than blasted it off. The lid was removed from the top of the vessel giving the Tube Tech staff a space of two metres to work through and enabling them to get within one metre of the deposits.

Benefits

A Mechanical Engineer on site said: ” The benefit was immediate because the vessel was cleaned to a very high standard, enabling the vessel to be put to immediate use. We had a capacity issue and the vessel was cleaned to such a standard that there was no cross contamination. As soon as the Tube Tech teams completed the cleaning process, the vessel was available to take the new product.”

Tube Tech Managing Director Mike Watson said: “Within the range of industries, we come across many different scenarios that require taking unique approaches. This glass-lined vessel was just one where we were able to show our flexibility and deliver a satisfactory conclusion.”

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