Shell Side Fouling of Heat Exchangers

Guaranteed Techniques to Remove All Fouling

External Shell Side Heat Exchanger Cleaning – Worldwide Service

Returning process plant equipment to optimal performance is essential to maintaining efficiency and reducing running costs. The external shell side cleaning of heat exchangers is just one aspect of routine maintenance which needs to be performed regularly, butif done incorrectly, can reduce throughput and heat transfer.

The challenges of cleaning heat exchangers depend on the application and the type of fouling. Some processes leave layers of polymer, others create solid coke deposits, both require specialised cleaning techniques and technologies to remove properly. In many cases shell side cleaning of heat exchangers can be done with nothing more than high pressure water jets sprayed at the outer tubes of the bundle to wash away sludge and silt accumulation.

However, effectively removing deposits from outer tube surfaces on the shell side is just the first stage in the cleaning process when fouling is more tenacious. Unfortunately, when cleaned in this traditional way, the removed deposits from these surfaces are simply forced deeper between the tubes as the effective penetration only allows for 2-3 rows depth. This debris can also then further impair heat exchanger operation, potential to damage equipment, allow fouling to adhere quicker by attracting new deposits, and alter flow characteristics. This in turn reduces the time between cleaning routines and means lost production.

External shell side heat exchanger cleaning of heat exchangers must therefore be approached as a two-stage process if it is to be effective and the full value of the routine is to be recognised. It is also essential to visually inspect tube bundles and external tube-shell side surfaces before and after cleaning to ensure that debris has been fully removed from between all the tubes. To confirm external tube surfaces are acceptable, the use of specialist cameras must be employed to verify that cleaning has been completed effectively and fouling removed.

Tube Tech specialises in external shell side cleaning of heat exchangers using its advanced ShellJeTT™ cleaning technology, which has benefited clients across several industry sectors, the ability to penetrate between the tube gaps allows for ‘pin point’ cleaning even in the central sections of a tube bundle. Tube Tech also offers the unique BladeSpec™ inspection system which is one of the slimmest inspection cameras in the world. Tube Tech teams can complete shell side cleaning of heat exchangers and confirm all debris is cleared completely.

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