Vessel (Reactor) – Toxic Polymerised Gel Removed Safely from Vessel
Safe remote cleaning operation avoids man entry
A 2 metre tall, 1.5 metre wide, 4,500 litre mixing vessel at the plant had been brought to a standstill when mislabelled feedstock was introduced. The contents of the vessel set into a thick gel, clogging the heater and preventing the stirring paddles of the mixer from turning. Thanks to the semi-remote operated equipment Tube Tech selected, so that the vessel could be cleaned from the outside, the need for man entry into a potentially hazardous environment was eliminated. The gel was broken down into particles small enough to be flushed out of the vessels drain and the vessel was restored to full production.
This UK-based company manufactures a range of cleaning products for industries such as dry cleaning, textiles, engineering and hygiene. It also offers a full manufacturing and contract liquid packing service.
A 2 metre tall, 1.5 metre wide, 4,500 litre mixing vessel at the plant had been brought to a standstill when mislabelled feedstock was introduced. The contents of the vessel, an epoxy acrylate carboxylate in butyl glycol acetate plus MNP solvent, set into a thick gel, clogging the heater and preventing the stirring paddles of the mixer from turning. The client had attempted to dissolve the gel with various solvents without success.
The jetting medium recommended by Tube Tech was delivered by the versatile Wysper pump, which supplied the most suitable pressures – upwards of 60,000psi – and volumes as low as 2L/min to a bespoke, semi-remote, rotating nozzle. The bearing-mounted nozzle was fixed to a long centralised shaft and introduced to the vessel via an access hole on its top. The nozzle directed and delivered the jetting medium at very low volume precisely within the mixing vessel and broke the gel into a slurry that could then be drained from below into IBC waste containers. The benefit of using such low water volume meant that very little additional waste was created. Both disposal costs and environmental impact were therefore negligible.
Although the Tube Tech team took breathing equipment to the site to cover all eventualities their semi-remote operation, made possible by the innovative design of the jetting lance and head, obviated the need for the cleaning operatives to enter the vessel under confined space regulations and so avoided potentially exposing them to the hazardous vapours and chemicals within.
Tube Tech Comments
Senior Tube Tech Sales Executive, Scott Donson, said: “The job was completed on time and on budget. The customer was delighted and relieved to have his mixing vessel cleaned so quickly and thoroughly, as was the unfortunate supplier of the mislabelled feedstock, who had to foot the bill.”
“Tube Tech had estimated between two and five days to clean out the mixing vessel, depending on the thickness of the gel, so we were very pleased that the job was completed successfully in just three days, particularly as they were able to do the job without man entry and without incident.”
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