A major petrochemical plant located in the Al-Jubail area of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contacted Tube Tech for a solution to remove fouling from the internal surfaces of radiant tubes within one of its fired heaters.
The petrochemical facility had noticed cold spots on certain radiant tube legs of its box heater with Arbor Radiant Coil, possibly caused by fouling. They required a visual inspection to ascertain the level of potential fouling, followed by a solution to remove deposits and restore performance.
In this case, the client had concerns with differential tube temperatures and the potential for expansion cracks around the cold spots.
The client approached Tube Tech as a specialist fouling removal provider. The team were tasked with developing a bespoke solution for the visual inspection and cleaning of the fired heater radiant section tube bores on all 32 radiant tubes. Due to the design of this unit (box heater with Arbor Radiant Coil), this meant a total of 64 tube legs.
Tube Tech designed, built, and tested the solution at its UK-based Research and Development Centre. The technology was proven to be successful in navigating the individual tube end from the common header, which meant travelling nine metres horizontally along a header pipe, negotiating the 90-degree bend before climbing vertically twelve metres and then continuing over the return loop.
The bespoke solution was able to identify the location and severity of fouling and Tube Tech technicians were then able to remove more than 90% of the deposits, restoring tube temperatures and minimising the risk of expansion cracks and equipment failure.
“This was a challenging project that involved technical development and testing at our facility in the UK. Once we were confident that the technology would work, we airfreighted it to Saudi Arabia where our team were able to complete the project within four days during a planned turnaround period.
“The tool that we developed to give us access to the tube ends exceeded expectations and produced astounding results. We are now able to undertake other box heater Arbor Radiant Coil header applications using the same technique.
“The client has expressed delight with our approach and dedication to solving its unique challenge. We look forward to working with them again soon.”