Pipe mechanically polished to reduce possibility of future build up
Tube Tech reinforced its position as an innovator when conventional high-pressure water methods failed to clear a critical blockage at a plastics and polypropylene manufacturer. The company is the world’s largest producer of polypropylene and a leading producer of polyethylene globally.
Trials on new processes had resulted in a a seven-metre long transfer pipe blockage leading from a reactor vessel. The blockage, at four metres long, took up the majority of the pipe and attempts with conventional high-pressure water jetting by a nationally-recognised contractor had failed to make an impression. The Tube Tech team also had to work from below the blocked pipe with limited ground clearance. There was also a need for the work to be carried out in a very short downtime period as the process at Urmston is part of a critical supply chain. A delay would have meant any excess propylene raw material would have had to be flared – an operation that has environmental implications.
The low-volume, super high-pressure WysperJet pump was utilised linked with cleaning heads specifically adapted for unblocking this material, developed by Tube Tech. The SafeStop system was also used to prevent damage to pipe surfaces and secure the system within the pipe eliminating any risk of accidental exit.
As well as successfully removing the four-metre blockage in record time, the internal surfaces of the pipe were mechanically polished to reduce the possibility of future build-up. The Tube Tech operatives proved the company’s flexibility to react fast to an emergency critical path situation by mustering a team to work around the clock. As a result, downtime was also kept to a minimum, preventing any breaks in the supply chain.
Scott Donson of Tube Tech said: “The client needed our flexibility to react quickly to a critical path situation. We were able to pull out all the stops for them despite this contract coming in at a time when we were extremely busy with many other contracts to fulfill. Another benefit of the Tube Tech system was that the pipe was polished back to its original state, removing all the older deposits.”
The Maintenance Co-ordinator said: “The Tube Tech team did a superb job, not only with effectively removing the blockage but also keeping downtime to a minimum. It was essential that the work was completed quickly.”
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