Styrene Polymer Bundle – Heavy Fouling Removed

Shell and tube side cleaning of severely fouled u-tube exchanger


This international petrochemical company sent Tube Tech a severely fouled styrene polymer bundle to minimise costs as the client had an identical changeover replacement. A production anomaly had caused the formation of a thick, hard, brittle deposit on the shell side of the bundle and also severe bend blockages in tubes. Using multiple innovative cleaning techniques, Tube Tech was able to extract the deposit quickly and effectively from both areas.


  • Thick, hard, brittle polymer fouling located between the tubes as a solid mass.
  • Solid blockages within the tubes of horizontal styrene polymer bundle.
  • 40-50% of the 530 square pitch tubes were blocked at the bends of the U-tube.
  • Bundle usually transports polystyrene.
  • The deposit on the shell side was brittle on the top and more gooey/gummy at the bottom which on occasion caused deposit to stick to already cleaned tubes.


  • Tube Tech initially blasted the external tubes to gain access to the tube surfaces.
  • The unique Twin-ShellJeTT system removed 98% of the fouling located between the tubes.
  • A fully flexible triple lance cleaning and unblocking system (MultiFlex) was used to remove fouling from the straight legs of the tubes three times quicker than traditional methods and Tube Tech designed ‘U’ bend jets were used to remove the blockages from round the ‘U’-bends.
  • The innovative SafetyBoss and the use of semi-remote technology ensured that personnel safety remained paramount throughout the contract.
  • 0.75 tonnes of deposit were removed from the bundle.

Tube Tech Comment

Scott Donson, Technical Sales Manager: “Our client knew that Tube Tech was the only option for a cleaning contract of this complexity. Our ability to access a variety of cleaning techniques, of which many are our own unique systems, meant we were able to remove this severe fouling and save our client the expense of a replacement bundle.”

For more information or to discuss your cleaning challenge call us on +44 1268 786999 or email, alternatively click here to fill out our contact form.