Spectacular Financial Benefits of Shell Side Cleaning








Spectacular Financial Benefits of Shell Side Cleaning

An Average of $100,000 in Energy Savings Per Exchanger

Remove 100% of Shell Side Fouling

Removing process fouling is essential to reduce energy consumption, increase production throughput and reduce Capex and Opex.

Cleaning technology and methodology choice always depends on access-ability and fouling characteristics. Some processes leave deposits that are like chewing gum, hydrocarbon coke, or even cured glass-like polymer, all requiring a very specialised cleaning approach.

Attempts to remove soft, asphaltene fouling as found in visbreaker and crude exchangers using high pressure water often serves to smear and push deposits further into the centre of an exchanger which then bakes harder over time making the situation worse.

Shell side fouling of heat exchangers is a global phenomenon, as is their inaccessibility to be cleaned. When fouled, it is generally accepted that they will be “as clean as possible with no guarantees”.

Fouling impairs heat exchanger flow distribution, increases back pressures, energy consumption and reduces heat transfer surface coefficient. Any remaining “key way” causes more deposit to form and reduces run times which in turn impacts the bottom line.

Successful removal of Shell side fouling involves a technology that physically delivers a cleaning medium with sufficient shear force to remove the deposit away from the tube surface and away from the exchanger.


Overlooked and rarely explored by both clients and contractors alike, is the routine of inspecting fouling levels pre and post cleaning. This will give clients confidence that deposits have been fully removed and the exchanger goes back into service in an as new condition.

Many heat transfer assets are known for their inaccessibility to traditional cleaning methods. It is important to consider the benefits of an engineered solution to solving issues concerning process fouling. This must include inspection before and after cleaning.


An international petrochemical company shipped a heat exchanger fouled with cured polymer to Tube Tech after multiple attempts by several international contractors failed to remove this brittle glass-like styrene.

High pressure water, chemicals and ultrasonics were all ineffective. These attempts were taken to avoid production losses. Delivery of a new replacement unit would have taken several months.

The objective was to break up and remove all dry, rigid polymer from in between every 6mm tube row on the shell side of this exchanger and to clear all blockages and restrictions from the internal U tubes.

A modified triple flexible drill allowed lances to negotiate and unblock every straight section as well as every hairpin bend. The client correctly pointed out that it would be pointless if only the straight section was cleaned and the hairpin bend left blocked.

Tube Tech’s Shell Jett removed near 100% of the polymer even from the deepest reaches of the bundle. The internal tube side was unblocked simultaneously to save downtime.

“Our client had contacted several international contractors who declined to attempt this project.
Tube Tech was the only company who accepted this unique challenge. This was without doubt one of the toughest projects we had come across in over 35 years . Our research team worked on applying several unique and patented systems, allowing us to remove this severe fouling and save our client the expense of a replacement bundle.”

-Scott Donson, Technical Sales Manager

~Glass like polymer cured on both inside and outside of the tubes
~Over 50% of the 530 tubes blocked at the bends
~Shell side deposits brittle on top & gummy at the base

~Rotary Shell Jett
~Bespoke U-Tube triple lance cleaning lances
~Remotely controlled

Tube Tech’s
External Tube Surface Heat Exchanger Cleaning Techniques…..

No replacement necessary
4 times faster than any other method
10 times more cost effective100% clean