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Cleaning Heat Exchanger And General Maintenance

By Author: Jack Genova
Total Articles: 20

An important part to keep a system in good working condition is cleaning heat exchanger and general maintenance. One will find heat exchangers in numerous industries, especially in the chemical industry and oil refineries. The function of heat exchanger is to make the heat move from one source to another source, usually from one liquid to another liquid.

The most common technique of cleaning heat exchanger tube is water jetting. This requires the use of water jets directed at very high pressure onto the scale to remove it. It is possible to perform water jetting in a remote fashion using automated system and in the process, provide the best safety for operators. There is a high thermal conductivity between the two liquids that separate the liquids. The common type to be found in oil industry is the shell and tube design. The design consists of a large circular metal pipe construction which is the shell that consists of the tube bundles that are present inside. As one liquid enters into a shell and another is introduced into the tubes, there is exchange of heat. The difference in temperatures between the two liquids helps in the exchange of heat between them, and in the process, helps in cooling one liquid.

The design of shell and tube is quite complex in a heat exchanger. Although, the task might seem to be complex, but it is possible to achieve quite easily than one can think about. There are many reasons for cleaning of heat exchanger tube. One reason being to do before any inspection of heat exchanger tube bundle, if metal is used for tube bundle. An Internal Rotary Inspection System is used to inspect a tube bundle and involves inserting a probe with a rotating mirror which has the capability of sending ultrasonic beam onto the tube walls and help in measuring any kind of corrosion or pitting. A small turbine is used to rotate the mirror which is driven using the water pressure which is entered into the tubes. As the probe is slowly passed along the tube, a continuous chart of record is formed of the internal condition of the tube. In normal circumstances, there could be badly scaling of the inside of the tube bundle. This causes a sharp decrease in the efficiency of the unit, and in the process, lowers the functional capacity to operate in its maximum possibility. This is the reason to clean the tube and bring back the unit to its usual condition. The process of water jetting remains as the most common way of cleaning heat exchanger tube. This requires very high pressure of water jets to be directed onto the scale and remove the scale. Water jetting could be performed remotely using automated system and in the process, provide maximum safety to operators.

Usually, descaling operations are executed on the site itself, and that does away with the need to remove heat exchanger and its tube bundles. This ensures that the time spent is a minimum when no usage of the heat exchanger takes place.


The highly qualified team of Thompson Industrial Services uses various chemicals to remove unwanted deposits, including cleaning heat exchanger that lowers equipment performance and product process.

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