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Tag Archive: Shut-down Preparation

  1. Scheduled Maintenance Shutdown Tips

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    Order tube bundles, gaskets and O-rings early for your scheduled maintenance day.
    Order tube bundles, gaskets and O-rings early for your scheduled maintenance day.

    Are you getting ready for your scheduled maintenance shutdown? The approach of the year’s end is typically a cue for business leaders to assess their companies and make plans to improve in the year ahead. Often, this includes a scheduled maintenance shutdown that coincides with the slower period of business around the holidays. Your scheduled maintenance day only comes around every so often, so it’s important that you approach it strategically.

    Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you plan your holiday maintenance day:

    Review equipment documents

    To best ensure your scheduled maintenance shutdown is as productive as possible, you’ll need a few pieces of key information. First, you may want to check the maintenance history of your equipment – when was the last time it was serviced? How old is it? When was the last time it was repaired? How has it been performing in recent months?

    If your equipment is starting to age or slow down, it may be time to begin planning its replacement. On the other hand, if it’s still relatively young but not performing as efficiently, it may be a sign that it’s in need of a deep cleaning or a part replacement.

    When preparing for an equipment inspection, it’s a good idea to have information like the serial number or model information on hand so you can be precise when ordering parts or requesting specific services.

    Order spare parts early

    If you think the replacement of certain parts is needed for your maintenance day, be sure to come prepared. You’re not the only one scheduling planned maintenance at the end of the year, so it’s important to beat the rush and order parts as soon as you’ve identified which ones you need. Order tube bundles, gaskets and O-rings early for your scheduled maintenance day.

    To order parts for your shell and tube heat exchanger soon, reach out to Enerquip. Our lead time is faster than the industry average, which means you should have your necessary components in hand within a few weeks. Consider all aspects of your shell and tube heat exchanger before placing an order: O-rings, gaskets and tube bundles are all popular items to order this time of year.

    Consider your heating system

    With winter comes cold weather, but that doesn’t mean your facility needs to be chilly (unless refrigeration is necessary). To make sure you’re not overspending on energy costs this year, review your heating system and identify areas where you can improve. Knipp Services pointed out that this may mean you’ll need to clean some burners, remove carbon buildup from flues, calibrate pressure gauges and make sure that flames can burn cleanly without any obstructions that can create a fire hazard.

    One heating system aspect that’s easy to overlook is wasted heat. Many systems that require hot water or steam produce heat that can be captured and used elsewhere in your facility. A shell and tube heat exchanger is ideal for waste heat recovery, an effort that can simultaneously make your operation more sustainable and cut energy costs. Perhaps a heating system overhaul isn’t practical during your planned maintenance day, but it’s worth checking out to see if it’d be a feasible investment further down the line.

    On the other end of the scale, your cooling system deserves some attention, too. While you may not be turning it back on until June, assessing the condition of your cooling system is better done sooner than later. Check condensate drain taps, cooling towers and chillers for signs of aging or damage sustained during the summer and fall.

    Prevent slip and fall incidents

    The ice and snow of wintertime can make for a risky work environment if precautions aren’t taken. Outdoors, you may put down salt or sand to create a safer walkway, but don’t neglect your buildings’ interiors, Cleaning & Maintenance Management Magazine noted. Use a combination of scraper mats and absorbent mats at your entrances to remove snow, ice and water from shoes and boots to mitigate moisture and puddles forming on your floors.

    Anticipate power losses

    When a winter storm hits, there’s always a chance that a power outage can occur. While you can’t predict when these events will take place, you can prepare for them. If you already have a backup generator, be sure to inspect it to make sure it’ll perform when it’s needed, Facility Executive suggested. If you don’t, or you need to replace an aging one, do this sooner than later.

    If you’re planning your scheduled maintenance shutdown day, be sure to consider all tasks you want to accomplish. Remember to have spare parts on hand before you open up equipment to prevent unexpected downtime. To order spare parts early for your shell and tube heat exchanger, reach out to the helpful heat exchanger experts at Enerquip.

  2. Heat Exchanger Routine Maintenance Tips

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    How do you tackle your shell and tube heat exchanger routine maintenance? When heat exchangers are an essential aspect of your operation, it’s important that they’re working at top efficiency. Dirty or fouled exchangers can slow down your processes, contaminate your product and lower your company’s overall efficiency. To avoid these negative consequences, it’s important to be vigilant about shell and tube heat exchanger routine maintenance and proper cleaning.

    Here are five factors to keep in mind to make your shell and tube heat exchanger routine maintenance as effective as possible:

    1. Create a Plan for your Heat Exchanger Routine Maintenance

    When it’s time to clean your shell and tube heat exchanger, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to shut down operations temporarily. This is lost production time, which translates to reduced output and efficiency. However, there are ways to minimize the effects of a plant shutdown. One of the most effective ways to lower the impact is to prepare for it.

    Have a dedicated datefor planned maintenance, Ethanol Producer Magazine suggested. This way, you can plan and prepare for the event, allowing you to choose an inconsequential day for the shutdown. Additionally, since contractors who specialize in equipment maintenance often have busy schedules, planning and preparing can help you choose the date and time that suits you best – not when the contractor has a free space in his schedule.

    Make sure that any spare gaskets or replacement tube bundles are ordered in plenty of time to arrive by your scheduled maintenance date. Without a predetermined date for planned maintenance, it’s all too easy to let this important task get pushed back. When this happens, your equipment is more likely to run into problems. Sooner or later, you’ll either have to shut down your operation yourself, or a piece of equipment will fail, and you’ll have to quickly schedule reactive maintenance. There’s no predicting if or when this will occur, and it may not always be in your favor.

    2. Inspect Your Equipment

    Excessive fouling is never a good thing for your heat exchanger. If not identified or addressed in a timely manner, it could result in several problems, including contaminated or unusable product, corrosion or leaks. Ethanol Producer Magazine pointed out that, in some cases, material buildup can become a fire hazard.

    To prevent these issues, it’s important to note when fouling begins to form and to remove it promptly. Check your tube bundles as well as the shell side for signs of material buildup or corrosion.

    3. Test your Heat Transfer Fluid

    Another area of concern is the heat transfer fluid. When using chemical-based HTFs, it’s inevitable that the material will eventually become degraded and less effective. When this happens, it can reduce the efficiency of the exchanger and, depending on the chosen fluid, can adhere to the surface of the tubes, become a more volatile solution or create a fire hazard, Processing Magazine reported.

    Regularly testing the HTF will tell operators where in the lifespan the fluid is. Take the fluid from several different places to get a more complete idea of how good the fluid still is. Additionally, be sure to test the fluid while it’s in operation; cooled HTF will display different properties than the HTF in action, making the reading of fluid from a shutdown machine a less informative sample. Additionally, shutting down a piece of equipment for the purpose of taking a sample will slow down operations, put undue stress on the equipment and HTF, and takes more time out of your workday.

    Test the fluid periodically; Processing Magazine noted that quarterly testing typically provides the best results.

    4. Collaborate with the Right People

    Shell and tube heat exchanger routine maintenance is no small task, so it’s important to include any and all relevant personnel in planning it. Work together to identify maintenance needs, a day that works best for the company and the right professionals to assist or carry out the job.

    “Approach your planned maintenance day with a checklist.”

    “The maintenance manager, the environmental health and safety coordinator, and I typically work together on scheduling and making sure we have the proper documentation, training records, etc.,” Tyler Edmundson, the plant manager at ethanol plant Mid-Missouri Energy, told Ethanol Producer Magazine. “Safety is the No. 1 priority – making sure contractors have proper credentials and understand our policies and expectations.”

    When you include people from different departments, such as your environmental health and safety team, you’ll be able to collaborate on smart decisions that are good for the company overall. Additionally, when you approach your planned maintenance day with a checklist, you’re more likely to have as productive a shutdown day as possible.

    Edmundson noted that working with different people to plan out the maintenance day also allows them to collect all the necessary documentation that any incoming professional would need to know. For example, Matt Werzyn, maintenance manager with Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Elkhorn Valley Ethanol LLC, told Ethanol Producer Magazine that he creates and sends an informational packet to any contractors that will work on their equipment. It includes the company’s safety rules and requests items from the contractor, like employee training records, to demonstrate their credentials. Then, after arriving on-site, but before they get their hands on the equipment, the team goes through a contractor orientation.

    Other information you may want to provide any contractor that will be working with your equipment is a maintenance log, documentation from the original equipment manufacturer or information about the products or fluids used in the equipment.

    5. Cleanup after your Heat Exchanger Routine Maintenance

    Depending on your cleaning method, there may still be necessary tasks to carry out once everything is all cleaned. Whether you used chemical or mechanical cleaners to remove fouling, there could be debris left over. This could contaminate your product if left unaddressed. Give your equipment a rinse to ensure there are no leftover chemicals or dirt.

    Your shell and tube heat exchanger is designed to be closed up tight most of the time. As such, opening it can sometimes cause damage to the gasket, Marine Insight explained. Be sure to double-check your gasket and gasket cover before wrapping up your heat exchanger maintenance. Make sure that you have spare gaskets on hand and replace them if necessary.

    Heat exchanger routine maintenance and cleaning can be a time-consuming task, but it’s not one that’s worth putting off. By being proactive, you can help your equipment perform more efficiently and last longer. When you have questions about proper care for your heat exchanger, need replacement parts, or when you’re ready for a replacement unit, reach out to the helpful heat exchanger experts at Enerquip. Clickhere to contact us today.

  3. Reshoring companies need to evaluate their equipment needs

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    U.S. companies with international manufacturing plants have been re-evaluating the benefits of offshore jobs, and many of them are making the decision to move back home. In 2016, more jobs moved back to the states than left them, according to data collected by Reshoring Initiative.

    Between 2010 and 2016, a total of 338,000 manufacturing jobs have been reshored. In 2016 alone, 77,000 jobs were relocated back to America.

    Communities across the country have enjoyed the addition of new jobs, particularly in recent months. The Mid-America Business Conditions Index for May was 55.5, a slight decline from March and April’s 60.1 and 61.4, respectively, but still high enough to spark optimism among manufacturers.

    “The overall index over the past several months indicates a healthy regional manufacturing economy, and points to healthy growth for both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing through the third quarter of this year,” explained Ernie Goss, a Creighton University economist who oversees the survey, according to U.S. News & World report.

    Reasons for reshoring

    The reshoring trend has slowly been building momentum over the past few years as companies compare the benefits of their international plants and potential domestic ones. Being close to one’s own consumers has numerous benefits.

    Bali Padda, the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Lego, explained to Material Handling & Logistics that the company’s local manufacturing philosophy stems from its goal to reduce the company’s environmental impact.

    ” … By placing a manufacturing site in the region we reduce our environmental impact as we will reduce the need for transporting products from Europe to be sold in Asia,” he explained.

    Many companies have found that they aren’t realizing the cost savings they expected from their move overseas. While direct labor may cost less, other expenses have eaten away at their hoped-for savings, Harry Moser, president of Reshoring Initiative, explained to MHL.

    “Companies looked mostly at labor costs when deciding whether to move offshore,” Moser said. “They weren’t focused on other costs such as intellectual property, import/export costs and potential shortages against demand because of unpredictable variables like shipping.”

    He went on to explain that some companies’ savings estimates may have been off by 20 or 30 percent. Moving back to the U.S. may actually be the most cost-effective option.

    Then, there’s the matter of consumer perception. Companies are finding that the ability to advertise a product as made in the USA is one sales-boosting strategy. Additionally, having a manufacturing plant close to the customer means that lead times can be shortened – something everyone on the supply chain might enjoy.

    Obstacles in reshoring

    Though moving operations back to the U.S. is typically beneficial for the company, it’s hardly an easy process. Closing down operations at the plant overseas takes time, work and careful strategy. Then, there’s the matter of finding a new location in the states, outfitting it with the necessary equipment and hiring employees to run the facility.

    “When companies move back to the states, they will need to invest in new equipment.”
    For some companies, the prospect of opening a new manufacturing facility is a journey into a world completely unknown to them. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that when Redman & Associates, a toy company in Arkansas,decided to move operations from China to the U.S.., the company’s executive team needed to come up with a solution for domestic manufacturing. For a group of people with extensive retail backgrounds and little knowledge of actual manufacturing, this was a tall task. It took strategic thinking and careful reverse engineering of their most popular products to make their move successful, but they were able to get their new plant up and running.

    For a company like this – one that knows what it needs to produce, but isn’t quite sure how – finding a local supplier that can give it advice is helpful. When companies move back to the states, they will need to invest in new equipment, and may be seeking out new suppliers that are more suited for their new location. A company well-versed in manufacturing equipment may have useful advice that companies can use.

    Some reshoring companies like their particular international facility, and in a perfect world, would be able to just pick the whole thing up and set it back down in the U.S. Of course, this isn’t possible. These companies will need to recreate their operation by investing in a similar building and precise machinery. Domestic equipment suppliers should be able to help companies meet these challenges as well. For example, companies moving jobs back to America have reached out to Enerquip with schematics of the shell and tube heat exchangers they use overseas. Enerquip’s engineers review the drawings and determine how they can recreate the equipment for the new facility’s needs.

    Reshoring is a long process that requires a lot of hard work and careful strategy. But, done right, bringing operations back stateside could benefit a business and attract more customers.

    If your company is looking into investing in equipment for a new facility,reach out the the engineers at Enerquip for any custom heat exchangers you will need.

  4. Strategize your orders to reduce long lead-times

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    A quality product doesn’t just happen by chance. The materials used to make it need to be carefully chosen; the plant or factory where it’s made needs to be intelligently designed; and the equipment needed to manufacture the product needs to be top-notch.

    Once these three requirements are filled, your operation is in good shape. But all equipment has a lifespan, and over time, it’ll start to wear out. Ensuring that all pieces of equipment are working properly is crucial in any operation.

    Ordering new equipment or replacement parts can become a tricky business. It takes time to build a large piece of processing machinery, such as a shell and tube heat exchanger. And making a specialized design can take even longer. Chemical Processing pointed out that some of the biggest pieces of processing equipment can have lead times of as long as 24 months – longer in some cases. A lot can happen in two years of waiting for an item, and your time is precious.

    It’s important that months aren’t wasted spent waiting for a critical piece of equipment to arrive. To avoid too-long lead times, be sure to follow some best practices and keep some strategies in mind.

    Know when you’ll need it

    You don’t need a crystal ball to get a good idea of when you’ll need to replace equipment. You should know the age and condition of most pieces already. You are also probably familiar with the average lifespan of the types of equipment you use. Some simple math can give you a general range for when your equipment may begin to age out.

    “Keep in mind that your machine could be an outlier.”

    Knowing when a machine’s performance is likely to begin diminishing is a good start, but not every machine runs the same. Many factors determine how a machine will normally operate. Differences in the environment in which it’s used, where it was built and by whom will all play important roles. Learn the average lifespan to get a good idea, but keep in mind that your machine could be an outlier.

    Regular inspections are key to detecting when an item needs to be repaired or replaced. Even when the equipment is brand new, be sure to inspect it on a regular basis. As it gets older, it might be a good idea to increase the frequency of inspections.

    Create an ordering schedule

    Since you can determine the general timeframe that you’ll need to order a piece of equipment, it shouldn’t be hard to draft up a guideline or schedule for when you’ll need to order certain pieces of equipment.

    Once you have this clearly written out, it’ll be easier to determine when and how much you should be saving up for the next equipment purchase. If you know around when you’ll need a new piece of equipment or replacement part, you’ll be able to order it ahead of time. That way, you won’t have to put any equipment out of commission while you wait for your order to come in, and you can replace broken machinery quickly.

    You can also communicate this information to your manufacturer so they are aware of your needs. Plus, they’ll have a good idea of how much time it’ll take to produce and ship what you need – valuable information to have when ordering equipment.

    “Work with a company you trust can produce quality equipment.”

    Be prepared for emergencies

    No one can predict the future, and even the most careful manufacturers might have to handle a costly mistake or damaged piece of equipment at some point. When something like this happens, it’s important to move fast to make up for lost production time. Having an emergency budget set aside can help maintain your financial stability. And working with a company that you trust can produce quality equipment on a quick schedule is crucial. They can also assist you by recommending what spare parts to have on hand, in the event of an emergency.

    Work with a company you can trust

    No matter what industry you’re in, the importance of building a good relationship with your business partners can’t be overstated. The stronger your relationship with the company, and the longer you work with it, the more it’ll learn about your unique process and the better it will be able to help you. Also, when you get to know a company, you’ll get to know its process a little bit better, which will only make collaboration smoother.

    When it comes to your shell and tube heat exchangers, if you’re unsure of the best way to initiate the order process, or want to learn about how to reduce the impact of lead times, contact the engineers at Enerquip

  5. Tight crude oil can cause fouling in shell and tube heat exchangers

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    MicroMarket Monitor released a report stating that much of the shell and tube heat exchanger industry in North America is fuelled by the chemical and petrochemical industries. According to the report, 28.8 percent of the market share of heat exchangers in 2014 went to the chemical industry. Heat exchangers are often used for oil refining and the shell and tube variety are the most commonly used.

    The American Institute of Chemical Engineers explained only four countries are currently extracting crude oil from shale formations: Argentina, China, Canada and the U.S. Crude oil from shale formations is more difficult to retrieve and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the method by which it is extracted. The U.S. is the leading producer of this type of oil, commonly called tight oil.

    While customized shell and tube heat exchangers are great machines to use for processing, there are some things manufacturers and operators should be aware of. According to Emerson Process Management, the refining process is highly prone to fouling. Unexpected fouling is an especially harmful problem that is becoming more common among facilities refining light tight crude oil.

    “Crude oil fouling is one of the main causes of energy inefficiency in refineries.”

    Fouling can be harmful to a refinery because it causes lost production time, increased costs and, as a result, reduced profits. Unexpected fouling means operations need to cease production for cleaning. Plus, the fouling causes excess energy consumption and decreased throughput by the crude unit fired heater. According to a report from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Imperial College London, crude oil fouling in pre-heat trains is one of the main causes of energy inefficiency in heat exchangers. Because of the strain it causes across multiple aspects of the refinery, the cost of crude oil fouling is high. Crude oil fouling was found to cost the U.S. approximately $1.2 billion a year.

    Asphaltene precipitation leads to accelerated fouling

    Different industries may see varying causes of fouling. In processing tight crude oil, fouling is commonly due to asphaltene precipitation buildup. This is primarily due to the blending of tight oil with other crude oil types. When tight oil alone goes into an exchanger, it tends to bottleneck in the naphtha processing and crude overhead units. This is because most refineries are designed to process oil of a specific composition, the AIChE explained. Blending them will reduce the risk of limiting the efficiency of processing units in the bottom of the barrel.

    While blending these types of oil is necessary to allow the machinery to operate correctly, this practice is also the one that contributes to asphaltene precipitation causing fouling. When incompatible crude types are blended, asphaltenes are not stable in the solution, resulting in the precipitate. AIChE noted that certain ratios of incompatible oils result in less precipitate than others. For instance, a blend of 20 percent tight oil with 80 percent of another type will create fewer asphaltenes than a 30-70 mixture.

    Tight oil also contains levels of naphtha that are higher than other types of crude oil, which can also contribute to the rapid production of asphaltene precipitation.

    Prevent fouling through monitoring

    To prevent fouling, manufacturers have inspected machines periodically and taken notes manually and recorded information in spreadsheets. While this has largely been effective in the past to respond appropriately to signs of fouling, increased production of tight crude oil, which fouls more quickly than most products, manual note-taking and periodic observation is no longer a practical form of prevention.

    “Traditional forms of fouling prevention are less effective with accelerated fouling.”

    Instead, Emerson Process Management suggested manufacturers use online capabilities to constantly monitor the state of exchangers’ performance. Wireless temperature and differential pressure measuring devices are one way to constantly monitor the performance and efficiency of a heat exchanger. By monitoring the health of the exchanger, refiners are able to carefully choose when to schedule a turnaround, rather than waiting until the fouling problem is no longer avoidable, leading to an unforeseen cleaning day. By being able to choose when to clean the tubes, refiners are able to calculate which day is best, so as to minimize the financial harm a day without production will cause.

    Not only will monitoring the condition of the equipment using online devices keep refiners current about potential fouling, but it can also aid in preparing maintenance staff of what is to come when it’s time for a turnaround. It can also help indicate if additional parts need to be purchased ahead of time. Some exchangers are equipped with a bypass, so cleaning can be done without losing a day of production. However, for those that don’t have this capability, as is often the case, advance knowledge of the kind of maintenance that should occur may reduce the time the turnaround takes and mitigate some unforeseen obstacles.

  6. How to prepare to clean a shell and tube heat exchanger

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    As most manufacturers who work with shell and tube heat exchangers know, fouling can be detrimental to an operation. It is crucial that all equipment that goes into processing a product is working at its optimal capacity. To ensure this, manufacturers and operators need to take the time to inspect and clean shell and tube heat exchangers.

    However, this is easier said than done. Cleaning a shell and tube heat exchanger is no easy task, especially for those with hard-to-access tubes. In addition to how difficult the process is, taking a day or two to inspect and clean your machines will result in lost production and therefore, lost revenue. It’s important to think about which day is best to minimize the losses incurred by scheduled maintenance. It is also crucial to plan it ahead of time, not only to account for the downtime, but also to plan out the turnaround schedule to ensure everything goes smoothly.

    “Taking a day to clean your machines will result in lost production.”

    Knowing when to clean

    In sanitary industries, like food, dairy and pharmaceutical, there are often well established protocols established for the timing of heat exchanger cleaning. These cleanings are most commonly accomplished through the use of an automated CIP (clean-in-place) system that will clean and sanitize the tubing without having to disconnect the piping or exchanger parts. These cleanings are often done daily, weekly of between batches of product.

    According to Conoco Systems and Conoco Consulting Corp., companies in more industrial settings can determine whether a maintenance day where machines would be offline is worthwhile by considering the hourly cost of the losses over time and the cost of fouling. Determining the right time for the loss to be at a minimum will tell manufacturers what the best cleaning intervals are.

    Chemical Processing explained that over the past half-century, companies have changed the way they view scheduled maintenance days. In the past, these cleanings took place one or more times a year. The years have brought equipment that is more reliable and requires fewer cleaning days. Today, the norm is closer to cleaning once every four to 10 years. Of course, this depends on the exchanger type and what it is being used for. Some materials that pass through an exchanger are less prone to fouling than others. For this reason, it is important that operators and manufacturers know the signs of fouling and the nature of the chemicals and products they work with.

    There are many advantages to going several years without a cleaning. The fact that cleanings are less necessary indicates the resiliency and efficiency of the exchanger. It also means there are fewer days during which the company loses profit due to ceased production. However, there are some downsides to this as well. Chemical Processing points out that since the last turnaround day may have happened as long as a decade ago, fewer operators and maintenance experts will be familiar with the process of cleaning and inspecting the machines. Because of this, it is important that all people involved in the cleaning day be properly educated and prepared for it.

    Getting prepared

    Chemical Processing advised people getting ready for a turnaround day to make a checklist of everything that needs to be completed on that day. This will help someone who is inexperienced or out of practice keep track of all necessary tasks. This list should include recording how the machine is operating just before you shut it down, whether all the measuring tools available make sense or if others would be best, layout dimensions for the machine and all its parts, and whether there is any damage or other factors that could cause harm to the product or machine later on. It is also important to have any replaceable spare parts on hand, like gaskets, O-rings and hardware, so that any damaged or compressed parts can be replaced before the unit is re-connected and brought back on line. Because exchanger parts can be very heavy, it is also important to have a safe lifting plan with adequate clearance to remove bonnets, piping and other parts in order to gain access to the tube bundle.

    How to clean

    If the company will allow photography of the equipment, it’s a good idea to take pictures of everything mentioned in the notes taken throughout the day. This will help explain any damage encountered and provide reference for the notes the person performing the turnaround takes.

    Conoco Systems explained there are many ways to clean a shell and tube heat exchanger, though most require being offline. The most widely chosen method is mechanical cleaning. This involves determining what kind of deposits you will be removing from the tubes. Deposits range from small amounts of silt to substances that are more difficult to remove, depending on the materials that are used in the exchanger. Once this is determined, decide which cleaning method is appropriate. Some common examples include brushes, used for lighter debris; calcite cleaners, used to remove stubborn calcite deposits which couldn’t be removed with acid; and metal tube cleaners, used for harder deposits.

    Hydroblasting has also been commonly used, though precautions to reduce risk of injury or tube damage must be taken if managers choose to go with this option. Good Way explained this method involves water pressurized to 10,000 to 25,000 pounds per square inch, which is then blasted through the tubes to remove deposits.

    Chemical cleaning is another preferred method, though it is a more expensive option, Conoco Systems explained. Chemicals that are mildly acidic will take off debris faster and more efficiently than a mechanical process. However, the tubes will still need to be cleaned of the chemicals used to prevent contamination or environmental hazards.

  7. Preserving ethanol equipment with faster cleanups

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    Ethanol processing plants have to ensure their equipment can withstand months of running product through shell and tube heat exchangers. This process builds up dirt and grime on the equipment, which has to be cleaned periodically. According to Ethanol Producer Magazine, facilities have to prepare for cleanings in advance to ensure downtime for the process is limited.

    Matt Werzyn, maintenance manager for Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Elkhorn Valley Ethanol LLC, explained that ethanol processing facilities have to make sure they schedule downtime for the cleaning process, the source reported. The plant managers have to follow through with the deep cleanse, otherwise the facilities will see downtime from grime and dirt build up.

    The cleaning process must be quick and simple. If there are too many steps, the plant could be shut down for multiple days for repairs and equipment maintenance. In addition, certain metals and alloys tend to corrode over time, Engineer’s Edge reported. Finally, some of the chemicals and gases that are used with heat exchangers in ethanol processing plants can damage the metal.

    That’s why it’s essential to invest in stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers. According to the source, stainless steel is much easier to clean and can withstand multiple cleanings.

    Regular steel is typically used in manufacturing plants, but it has a somewhat weak passivity, which leads to rusting and corrosion. However, stainless steel contains additional alloy elements that increase corrosion resistance and provide more strength over time. This can provide a quicker return on investment for processing facilities with heat exchangers that have to be replaced frequently.

    Fouled equipment slows plants down

    Werzyn added that once equipment becomes fouled or dirtier, there are other consequences for plant operation, Ethanol Producer Magazine reported.

    “As we get closer to shut down, there is a definite performance decrease and an increase in the required energies needed to run the process,” said Werzyn. “If duct lines are not cleaned over a long period of time, duct fires can result, which can be very expensive, if not destructive, if they occur.”

    Equipment needs regular cleaning to last and perform required duties at its highest level. Werzyn said keeping equipment continuously clean could help save a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, the source stated.

    Need a stainless heat exchanger solution? Reach out to an Enerquip Sales Engineer today.