Integrated Global Services (IGS) deployed Tube Tech’s engineered VCFE cleaning solution to remove fouling from 2688 tubes across two Texas Towers. 100% of tubes were cleaned to a production standard and 10% of tubes received enhanced cleaning for IRIS inspection.
The challenges for owners of fouled combined vertical feed exchangers (VCFE) are numerous. Arguably one of the most critical assets on a plant these challenges include unknown fouling characteristics, inaccessibility faced by traditional
cleaning and inspection service contractors leading to their inability to remove fouling from both internal and external
heat transfer surfaces. Failed attempts often lead to serious safety issues.
VCFEs were originally designed not to foul. However, over several decades these units have often been pushed to the
limits or have been subject to inadvertent carry over such as catalyst and oil on the shell side as well as the usual build-up
of polycyclic aromatics, gum-like deposits and very hard hydrocarbon coke scale.
In this particular case the refinery based in Canada experienced several failed attempts at cleaning the 60-ft vertical tubes to a standard suitable for IRIS inspection.
The refinery was recommended to approach Integrated Global Services (IGS) about their Tube Tech engineered cleaning suitable for IRIS integrity assessment. The alternative would have led to substantial capital replacement expenditure up to $8 million and all the associated costs that replacement entails.
Typical duty: 32MW
Cost of MW hr @ 90$ per barrel: $52
If VCFE fouling is: 40%
Average loss is: $5.6 Mil per annnum
IGS set up bespoke Tube Tech cleaning technology to access the tube face to drill, descale, polish and inspect the tubes.
During the cleaning, projectiles left behind by previous contractors were identified and removed.
This unique service guarantees that all Texas Tower (VCFE) tubes can be simultaneously cleaned and inspected to IRIS
standard, allowing asset integrity assurance and minimizing substantial asset replacement and associated costs.
1. Was the Project Completed to the Required Standard?
Yes, IRIS standard met.
2. Were Good Levels of Communication Maintained Throughout?
3. Was the Service Provided Value for Money?
Yes, no rework.
TA Block Coordinator