An ideal heat exchanger system should be easy to clean. The ease of cleaning is determined by two different factors. The first and the more obvious one is time. The less time it takes for you to clean the system, the easier you will find the task.
The second factor that needs to be addressed is the cost of cleaning. The kind of cleaning products, tools, and technology that are being employed to clean the heat exchanger system tells you a lot about how easy or difficult it is to clean the system. It also gives you a general idea of the amount of money that is required to clean one unit.
Most people are not aware of the challenges and dangers of cleaning a heat exchanger system. This lack of awareness can prove to be very costly in the long run.
Conventional Methods of Removing Carbon Deposits
It goes without saying that maintaining a platform’s Waste Heat Recovery Unit and similar shell and tube heat exchangers is not at all an easy task to accomplish. As a matter of fact, there are certain dangers associated with this process that people need to be informed about. For starters, it needs to be disconnected, taken off line, and transported back to the store for repair.
Many of you probably know that shell and tube heat exchangers are made of coiled tubes. Due to the nature of this internal structure of shell and tube heat exchangers, it is not uncommon for the system to be clogged with carbon deposits.
There are some conventional methods of clearing the blockage. These include bypassing the clogged unit, chopping off the bends and clearing the tubes, followed by re-welding the U-bends. In certain cases, conventional cleaning methods are simply not good enough. As a result, the entire unit has to be replaced to solve the problem of carbon deposits.
Old Methods Being Phased Out
This is the age of science and technology. Hence, it should not come as a surprise that the conventional methods of cleaning heat exchangers are slowly being phased out. There are many drawbacks to these old methods that have been in use for decades.
People have begun to realize these disadvantages and are now looking for smarter and more efficient cleaning solutions. In simple terms, the old methods are being replaced technologically advanced cleaning techniques.
For example, a lot of people who employ the bypassing technique to clean heat exchangers are completely unaware of how inefficient this method is. The inefficiency results in a waste of time and money. One of the many reasons why people are becoming more reliant on technologically advanced cleaning solutions is because these methods are helping them bring down the operational costs.
Increasing the Rate of De-Fouling
There are certain areas of the heat exchange system that are hard to reach. These limited access areas can be cleaned with the help of the new cleaning methods. For example, you can now clear deposits from the U-bend without ever shifting the position of this component.
You will also be quite surprised to know that modern cleaning methods can be employed without taking the unit offline. Therefore, it takes less time and results in a much higher rate of deposit removal or de-fouling.
The Latest Developments
The good old pressure style jetting is not going to be of much use when brand new heat exchanger cleaning equipment and techniques are being employed. You would also require a much higher skilled laborer to make sure that these methods are implemented to perfection.
Some of the latest developments in the field of heat exchanger cleaning include the remarkable ability to clean tight radius bends, cleaning units without changing their position, and cleaning units while they are still online. The results prove that the overall time taken to clean the system has gone down drastically. Because of this, the efficiency of the cleaning has been raised.
There are various tube bundles that can now be cleaned far more efficiently than what was previously achieved with pressure jetting. It would take days to complete an elementary cleaning task back in the day. With the help of technology, these same tasks are being performed within hours. The use of smart metal and laser cleaning are some of the most exciting developments that have been made in recent times.