Decimating Downtime In-Situ Cleaning of 4,700 Tubes in 3 Shifts


The HDPE unit in a major petrochemical plant was experiencing loss of heat transfer efficiency on a vertical heat exchanger with 4700 tubes. The company is forced to conduct a quick turnaround wherein they perform cleaning on this heat exchanger over a period of one week.


Almost 35% of the 4,700 tubes are fully plugged and upon visual inspection we noticed the remaining tubes had a heavy residual polymer scale. Typically a contractor would perform cleaning over a week to try and get the exchanger back to design efficiency utilising multiple crews and lancing systems. Unfortunately with the tight window no contractor had ever previously cleaned it back to near design effciency. The client had to reassemble the equipment again to re-start the unit without having achieved the desired level of cleaning.


The client had investigated our solutions with a number of their affiliates who had previously employed our servcies successfully and therefore proceeded to contact us. After performing a job walk the client explained that they hoped our proprietary Hydrokinetic method would enable to clean the exchanger in less than a week.


Refinery Solutions elected to utilise our proprietary Hydrokinetics™ method on this vertical heat exchanger. We opted to utilize three Hydrokinetic units operating simultaneously on this job with crews operating the equipment 24 hours. On average our crews were unplugging and cleaning 1,950 tubes per shift.


We exceeded our clients expectations and reduced cleaning time to less than three shifts from the proposed 13 shifts window they had allocated to us. In addition we achieved the desired level of cleaning to perform MFL inspection. The client was very impressed with the speed, safety and quality of execution.

The client has elected to utilise our services annually and referred us to other affiliates who were experiencing similar problems with heat transfer equipment.

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