Around the Clock Clean Saves Major Texas Gulf Coast Refinery Millions


Tube Tech was asked to salvage equipment previously deemed uncleanable after it was left in a wet yard for two years. Following on from an existing relationship and a presentation, the client remembered our expertise and called us to inspect the asset.

The Challenge

Our client had an old, large-finned bundle from their fluid catalytic cracking unit, which had been sat rotting in a wet yard for two years. The problem was, where the bundle had been left lying on its side, the tubes had sagged and the fins had interlocked together. This, coupled with extensive corrosion on the external finned surfaces, meant it had been deemed impossible to clean. The gaps between the tubes were almost non-existent in places.

The Solution

The client remembered a presentation Tube Tech had given previously and called us to inspect the asset.

We advised the client to position the bundle vertically and scaffold it; this would negate the tube sag and allow us to move the tubes and clean right into the middle of the bundle. We cleaned the bundle using Plate Jett lances from the sides, at all levels, and steel flex lances as well as Flexis and spinning jets from the top, utilizing metal bars to carefully prize apart the fins which had become interlocked. Whilst cleaning, we dosed the water we were hydro blasting with HoldTight 102 flash rust inhibitor. This prevents flash rusting of the surfaces for up to five days. This allowed us time to completely clean the bundle and then apply a full coat of Cortech VpCI®-391 Corrosion Protector, which will preserve the metal for two years minimum.

Tube Tech then worked with Ernest Packaging, who provided specialist preserving packaging materials and a large crate. Tube Tech personnel encapsulated the bundle in the packaging, which was shrunk on and de-humidified before crating the unit up in its entirety. The client then transported the bundle to a secure, climate-controlled location where it will remain for the next two to three years before going back into service.

Two crews, each of four men, worked round the clock 24/7 for a total of ten shifts to complete the project.

The Benefit

The clean has saved our client from having to purchase a new bundle, which would have cost in excess of $3 million to manufacture.



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