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Successes in Chemical Cleaning: Heat Exchangers and Boilers

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Successes in Chemical Cleaning: Heat Exchangers and Boilers

In this month’s post, we would like to present two examples of recent projects that, while presenting tough challenges and restrictions, our cleaning teams were able to complete to the total satisfaction of the clients. Chemical cleaning of heat exchangers and boilers is an extremely specialized task; the chemicals that our experts utilize must be exceptionally powerful to dissolve and remove tenacious deposits and can be hazardous to humans. Using them improperly could harm employees in the area and cause thousands of dollars in damage to the client’s equipment—not to mention the associated lost production value. Fortunately, our safety-conscious and knowledgeable chemical cleaning team members were well equipped to handle both of these situations when the facility managers called on us for help. 

Our chemical cleaning supervisors and operators are ready to respond in emergencies.

 Periodic Maintenance: Rubber Plant Often, plant maintenance supervision who have previously used other cleaning services for chemical cleaning of heat exchangers and boilers evaluate and decide to give Thompson Industrial Services a try instead. A recent scheduled cleaning job at a rubber plant is a good example of this type of call. The Need: The rubber plant stores organic compounds used in production in large, spherical storage tanks. Over time, chemical reactions inside the tanks produce iron oxide deposits. These deposits interfere with the production process, and the plant schedules cleanings every so often to remove them. On this occasion, the plant called on us to use our chemical cleaning expertise, automated equipment, and creativity to address the cleaning need. The Solution: Our team chose a chemical combination of citric acid, an inhibiting agent, and nitrogen, applied in accordance with specific guidelines, to strip the iron oxide deposits from the tanks without causing any damage to the surface underneath. The team completed the cleaning by neutralizing the acidic residue with an environmentally friendly solution, making the waste safe for processing through the plant’s own treatment facilities. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this successful job was the use of automated tools to apply the chemical solution. By using remotely controlled 3-dimensional  tools, we eliminated the need for human workers to enter the tanks (making the job much safer) and accelerated the pace of the cleaning process plus reduced the volume of cleaning chemicals required by maintain a minimal reservoir for the task at hand. The Result: The clients were very happy with the condition of the storage tanks when our teams left the site, and were even happier when they saw the invoice, which was much lower than the price charged by previous cleaning providers. Emergency Chemical Cleaning: Heat Exchangers When an unforeseen incident jeopardizes production at a plant, fast action is essential. Managers have learned that when they call on us for emergency chemical cleaning of heat exchangers and other equipment, our response is prompt, effective, and safe. The Need: A gas boiler connected with a heat exchanger unit is an integral part of the production line at a major motor manufacturing plant. Due to a malfunction in the heat exchanger, zinc oxide made its way into the boiler and tubes, bringing the entire production to a halt. The boiler and heat exchangers had to be cleaned and brought back online before the plant could continue normal operation. Faced with this highly critical path situation, the plant’s personnel called on Thompson Industrial Services. The Solution: Within hours after the request for service, our chemical cleaning team was at the facility, putting their plan into action. The solution for removing the zinc oxide from the boiler tubes and exchanger incorporated using used an inhibited, dilute hydrochloric acid solution; the units were then flushed with clean water, neutralized, passivated, and flushed again. The entire procedure, devised and tested by our company’s laboratory and carefully monitored from beginning to end, was successful and did not endanger any equipment or personnel at the site. The Result: Twenty-four hours after the plant contacted us for emergency service, the boiler tubes, and heat exchangers were clean, functioning normally, and back online. Another success story in chemical cleaning of heat exchangers and boiler components! Chemical Cleaning of Heat Exchangers and Other Equipment Our laboratory experts and field technicians have been conducting safe, effective chemical cleaning of heat exchangers and other industrial equipment for decades, governed by our company-wide policy of zero safety incidents. If you are intrigued by these successful projects and would like to know more about chemical cleaning of heat exchangers, boilers, storage tanks, cooling water systems and other units, please get in touch with us today.


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