Remote silo cleaning system avoids costly scaffolding

Summary

The protective coating on the inside of a steel silo was flaking off, causing particles to contaminate the stored feedstock and affect the quality of finished product being shipped to some of the UK’s leading manufacturers of household and personal cleaning products, with the attendant risk of product rejection. Tube Tech was called in and successfully cleaned the silo’s walls back to bare metal, exceeding the client’s expectations

Background

This US-headquartered company is a global manufacturer of speciality and intermediate chemicals. It has over 15 manufacturing and R&D facilities world-wide. The company is the world’s largest manufacturer of anionic surfactants. Products manufactured at the Cheshire, UK plant include sulphates, sulphonates, amine oxides, amides, quaternaries, bentaines, blends, hydrotropes and sulphonic acids.

Silo walls during cleaning The storage vessel was 10 meters high 2.7 meters in diameter Very limited man entry would have necessitated internal scaffolding  Morning cleaning information

Problem

The 10 metre tall and 2.7 metre diameter steel dry storage silo is used to store base product the company makes and supplies to famous brand manufacturers of household and personal cleaning products. Naturally, the company’s customers demand the very highest quality standards from their suppliers, so when the coating on the inside of the silo started to flake off and appear in the base product, prompt action needed to be taken.
The silo was tall and narrow, with only a small access hatch on the top, making it a difficult working environment without internal scaffolding. The client was also keen to avoid man entry, with its attendant additional risks.

Solution

Tube Tech recommended using their remotely-operated rotating cleaning head with contra-rotating jets, which would direct twin high-pressure water jets all around the internal surfaces of the silo in an overlapping pattern and so avoid the need for any man entry. The rig can be raised, lowered and extended into different positions from outside the tank, cleaning all areas of the tank wall in the process. Although the contra-rotating cleaning head has been used successfully many times before, this was the first time it had been used on this type of application. Well-adhered areas of coating were not originally required to be removed, but such was the effectiveness of the cleaning, which removed all of the coating back to bare metal, that the client asked for the entire internal surface area of the silo to be cleaned.

Tube Tech Comments

Senior Tube Tech Sales Executive, Scott Donson, said: “The customer was delighted with the way in which our system performed, so much so that our team was requested to clean the entire silo wall back to bare metal, to ensure that the problem would never recur. We were pleased to find that the contra-rotating head exceeded our own expectations and was able to achieve even better results than initially anticipated.”

Client Comment

“We weren’t expecting to have the entire silo wall stripped; we thought we would only really get any loose areas of the tank coating removed, but when Tube Tech got to work, they found that their system was so effective, the coating was coming off wherever the cleaning system made contact. So we made an on-the-spot decision to strip the whole tank, as this would not extend the project duration significantly. Before we spoke to Tube Tech, we were unsure how the tank could be cleaned without a crew having to go inside, which would have meant erecting scaffolding to permit a safe working environment. However, this proved not to be necessary and our product contamination problem has been solved at a stroke, thanks to the powerful remote cleaning technique that Tube Tech used.”

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